Unsolicited reports were received from several reviewers and testers of ManPans® cookware.
John Folse in Louisiana, Rick Powers at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and line cooks at Noodles and Company, told us that food prepared in ManPans cookware tasted superior to that made in their existing cookware. Specifically it was commented that herbal notes stayed bright, citrus and wine weren’t muddied, and chile heat wasn’t reduced to a single tone. This prompted a session in our test kitchen to qualitatively analyze this reported phenomenon.
Cooking surfaces were collected for testing.
- Stainless steel
- Bare aluminum
- Cast iron (seasoned)
- PTFE coated
- Pure, virgin PTFE lab beaker
- ManPans GemX-2
Three test ‘foods’ were prepared on each surface.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice per cup of water heated and cooled to room temperature.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda per cup of water heated and cooled to room temperature.
- Heavy cream reduced by half and cooled to room temperature.
This covers solubility in acids, bases, and fats. As the plastic PTFE beaker was not safe to heat on a stove, it was microwaved. Sample spoons of the respective preparations were provided to office staff for evaluation.
- Stainless steel ‘neutered’ or reduced the flavor of lemon and soda compared to the others.
- Bare aluminum had a metallic tinge on both, mostly with the lemon.
- Cast iron had rancid notes in both lemon and soda and tasters refused a second round of tests.
- PTFE had off flavors on both, especially with soda and was described as ‘musty’ or ‘dirt’.
- The pure, virgin PTFE beaker had no notable effect on lemon or soda.
- The ManPan tasted brighter with no differences from expectations on lemon and soda.
- The reduced cream was different only on the cast iron where it was awful.
Standing alone, especially if used exclusively, each surface might not be noticed to have any impact on flavor, but in direct comparison the differences are not subtle.
Why the differences?
All metals, and many minerals, are soluble in acid solutions (less so in bases) and among those in culinary use are citrus, tomato, wine, coffee, and vinegars. Plastic surfaces generally are not attacked by these materials but are often reinforced or filled to improve their mechanical durability. This explains the difference between the PTFE coated pan and the 100% virgin PTFE lab beaker. The pan coating is a matrix of filler bound with PTFE and the filler is susceptible to leaching. The cast iron is a special case as acidic ingredients leach iron through voids in the seasoning, and fats directly leach the oxidized (rancid), polymerized oil seasoning as they are like-to-like substances. This was the one test sample no participant could be persuaded to repeat.
The most important factor in selecting cookware is taste!
ManPans cookware is solid twelve-gauge aluminum with a permanent, metal-utensil safe, easy-clean surface that preserves flavor. The surface is extremely chemically neutral and doesn’t react with the food you work hard to prepare.
ManPans Cookware Science