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Old 10-26-2005, 05:53 AM   #1
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(Dis)advantages of steel, glass, and plastic?


Would someone please tell me the advantages and disadvantages of using steel, glass, and plastic? For bowls and plates. Don't need to mention about the microwave factor as I don't use it.

Thanks in advance for the help.


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Old 10-26-2005, 06:08 AM   #2
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The only plastic things in my kitchen are some spatulas and other cooking utensils and a few 'tupperware' type boxes - no plastic bowls, measuring jugs etc!

I have a number of pyrex measuring jugs, and also metal ones. My mixing bowls are a mixture of traditional earthenware, stainless steel and pyrex. Ditto pudding bowls for things like Christmas pudding and other steamed puddings.

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Old 10-26-2005, 07:34 AM   #3
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We have some cheap plastic plates that we use in the summer outside on the deck. They won't break if you drop them, they are very lightweight and do not take up a lot of room. They are colorful and very inexpensive to replace. The downside is that they become disfigured pretty easily. Excessive heat will leave marks on them. They scratch easily (using a sharp knife to cut meat will do that). These are minor trade offs for the convenience factor though.
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:13 AM   #4
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Plastic is unbreakable and diswasher safe. It is also not heatproof and will attract fat molecules to itself that resist removal even by washing (that's why you never make meringue in a plastic bowl).

Glass is breakable and dishwasher safe. It is heatproof but not on the stove top.

Stainless is unbreakable, heatproof even on the stovetop.

Generally, glass and plastic are preferred for kitchen use.
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies.

Sorry that I wasn't specific earlier.

When I say glass, I meant glass itself and porcelean/china stuff.

And when I say platic, I meant that fake ivory stuff.
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:57 PM   #6
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I'm a little confused ... which is a normal state for me

Are you looking for things to cook with or for serving meals on?
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 12-02-2005, 07:43 PM   #7
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Cool Jewish?

Well one advantage of glass is that you can Kosher it if you are Jewish and keep Kosher.

For all the non-Jewish folks...

Jewish people who keep Kosher do not mix meat and milk. That is if you have a pot and you cook a meat product in the pot, you can not use that same pot to cook something with milk in it. You need a different pot. Same with all the pots, pans, dishes, cups, silverwear, tableclothes, napkins... EVERYTHING. You do not even store them in the same area. Seperate areas for each one. Then when you talk about the holiday Passover.. well you need a different set for that too, but lets not get into that.

So back to the glass question... technically you can Kosher a glass pot if you, for example, screw up and cook the wrong thing in it. The Rabbis dont want you to rely on this by the way.. but technically there is nothing wrong with it. You can't do this with plastic becaue you get scratches in plastic and food particles get caught in these scratches... the same goes true for metal products as well.

A lot of people use glass for Parve products. These are stuff that you cook that has no meat or milk in it. Like green beans, for example. You might want to have green beans with a roast... or you might want to have green beans with something made with milk. Either way you can searve the green beans in the glass dish on the table that has either the meat entre or the milk (or dairy) entre.

Everyone confused yet Keeping Kosher is s long learning process so don't feel bad

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Old 12-02-2005, 08:52 PM   #8
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I use wood and plastic utensils, I use glass china etc bowls and dishes, I use metal for cooking (iron, steel, copper/tin.)
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Old 12-02-2005, 10:27 PM   #9
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Micheal S...This is all very interesting to me. I am not Jewish (except for my great-grandfather), but I think a lot of these rules were layed down for a reason.
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:12 AM   #10
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If you are asking about tableware, and I believe you are, here is a rundown of available products in each categorie.

Plastic can be divided into two categories, soft plastic, and thermo-setting plastic. Soft plastics are used for drinking vessels, plates, cutlery, forks, spoons, and sporks. They are sometimes neutral and add no flavor to food and drink, while some varieties will give off a plastic flavor. A shoochild in Minnesota did a science experiment with plastics and found (with the help of some prestigeous laboratories) that soft plastics often leach harmful chemicals into foods, especially hot foods. Soft plastics also melt at fairly low temperatures. I personally avoid soft plastics made for food.

Bakelight is an example of a thermo-setting plastic, as is merimac. These platics are set, or hardened with heat. The plastic handles on most pans, especially those made through the 60's & 70's are made with bakelight. It is hard, and will withstand oven temperatures up to about 400 degrees. It is stable and doesn't give off chemicals to the foods. Its downside is that it is more brittle and can break, though it is more resistant to breakage than is glass. It also doesn't do well in the micro-wave as the radiant energy will heat the thermo-plastic beyond safe temperatures and cause it to catastrophically fail. I learned that the hard way nad have several merimac plates with chips in them. But for normal dinner use, thermoplastics are safe, rugged, cheap, and colorful.

Glass: for this post, I will divide glass into three useful categories, stoneware, tempered glass, and ceramic.
Stoneware is basically fired clay, or ceramic. Depending on the brand and manufacturing process, it can be very rugged, or pretty fragile. You get what you pay for. It works in the microwave, and is inert, that is, doesn't react with any type of food. It is often colorful and festive, and is inexpensive. But it tends to be fairly heavy.

Ceramic dinnerware can come in the form of fine china, or in the inexpensive Corell type plates. The Corningware products, including Corell, are heat tempured and very rugged, despite light weight and thin dimensions. They are colorful, inert to foods, microwave and dishwater safe, and are a great bet for everyday service.

China is delicate, fragile, is not a good choice for the microwave as it may have metal on its edges, etc. It is rich looking, and should be used for special occasions. It requires gentle care.

Metal: Metal dinnerware includes aluminum, usually used in camping cookware, and steel. The steel is usually painted, or dyed, and can give an off-taste to foods. It is stain and rust resistant and very rugged. It is also hard to find nowadays. Drinking tumblers used to be made from steel and from aluminum. I had a neighbor freind whose parents had those brightly collored tumblers. I avoided drinking water at that house as the water piced up a very metallic taste from the metal. I detested those drinking vessels.

Aluminum is quite reactive to acidic and alkaline foods, and easily gives up metallic ions in those environments. It is also soft and can be easily scratched, and dented. Save it for camping trips.

And there's my short synopsis on the pro's and cons of glass, plastic, and metal tableware. Hope it helps. Oh, and I know Michael can add to this, or help clarify, as can GB and several others who frequent DC.

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