When it comes to picking out dinnerware and cookware, we all want something that is stylish and durable. But, what about a healthy choice? According to Ayurveda, there are health benefits to using copper, silver and stainless steel for both cooking and eating.
Here’s a look at these metals and how they can be part of a healthy kitchen.
Copper in the Kitchen
“Just because there's tarnish on the copper, doesn't mean there's not a shine beneath.” ~Laurence Yep
Does your dream kitchen feature gleaming copper pots hanging from a pot rack, casting a warm glow around the room? Copper is the oldest metal used by man. It isn’t just beautiful to look at, copper heats quickly and provides even heat distribution, making it a favorite choice for many cooks.
A copper saucepan is perfect for long simmering sauces and a deep round copper stewpot or “dekchi” with a stainless steel interior and copper exterior is ideal for making mouth-watering curry dishes.
French chefs swear by using a copper bowl for whisking up egg whites for meringue. They claim the reaction between the metal and the egg whites make the best mile-high meringue.
What about the health-promoting advantages of cooking with copper cookware?
In Ayurveda, the concept of fire or Agni is very important to health and since copper relates to the sun and fire, it naturally increases Agni in the body. Agni is in charge of many bodily functions, from nourishing cells to digestion and metabolism. Having balanced Agni gives you a sunny outlook and a passion for life.
“Too many people miss the silver lining, because they’re expecting gold.” ~ Maurice Setter
Although silver utensils have been around since the Romans, only royals and the wealthy could afford to use it. In the eighteenth century, Europe began using silver serving pieces and eating utensils.
Silver has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and people who ate from silver dishes and used silver cutlery were less likely to get sick. Many believed that in the Middle Ages, silverware protected the rich from falling ill with the plague.
Finally, by the late 1800s, there was enough competition among US silverware manufacturers to make owning silverware a possibility for everyone.
Silver is a precious metal and according to Ayurveda, it has cooling properties, so using a silver teapot or eating from silverware can help keep you calm, cool and collected.
Out of the strongest fire comes the strongest steel. ~Chinese Proverb
History tells us that next to using our fingers, the oldest utensil is the spoon. The first spoons were made of pewter (a metal blend of copper, silver and other metals) while table forks and knives were fashioned from steel.
We can thank Harry Brearley for a chance discovery that brought affordable cutlery to the masses. An English metallurgist, he discovered “rust less steel” in 1913.
Today, stainless steel is the leading material used when making safe, durable and fashionable flatware, serving bowls and platters.
Setting up a healthy kitchen doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Keep things simple by relying on the trusted tools that cooks have used for centuries. And when it comes to safely preparing, cooking and eating healthy meals, stick to pure materials like glass, copper, silver, cast iron, stoneware and stainless steel.