Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Now - one word about the information FryBoy posted from the Calphalon site ... it's not exactly true regarding water as being a major part of nonstick cooking sprays (at least the ones I'm familiar with). What does evaporate quickly is the alcohol they use to thin the oil to make it sprayable - on the two cans I have it is the second ingredient listed - and not a drop of water listed (if they used any it would have to be listed). The reason you spray it on a cold pan is to keep from getting a flare-up when the alcohol hits a hot pan. The thing that makes nonstick cooking surfaces gummy is the thing that they use to give the spray it's nonstick quality - lecithin. Apparently, lecithin and something in the composition of many nonstick surfaces are chemical cousins that react with each other ... causing the lecithin to form a gummy polymer. But, IMHO - using nonstick sprays on a nonstick surface is a little redundant to begin with.
Your information comports with what I've understood in the past -- I didn't pay much attention to the water comment on the Calphalon site. Like you, I've never seen water as a listed ingredient in cooking sprays. I HAVE, however, observed the gooey gunk left behind by the sprays on non-stick cooking surfaces.
One possible solution I haven't tired -- Williams-Sonoma sells pump spray bottles made especially for cooking oil. That would eliminate the lecithin and alcohol and any water, although I have to wonder about the shelf life of oil in such a gadget. Anyone have one?