Safest Cookware | Why Glazing Was Not An Option.
While on training, learning how to throw clay I often had to go past the glaze room. A few steps in and an uncomfortable lump would form in my throat which made me hold my breath and walk as fast as possible to get out.
So what is so bad and unsafe about this paint like substance and why is it strictly labeled “toxic, do not pour in the drain”? Glaze is a composition of about 10-17 different chemicals –different ones put together to form a ceramic paint that is toxic in its raw form and generates toxic fumes during firing. How much of it could then leach into food, and the harm thereof, was another big question?
Just out of curiosity, I searched some more to see if there were really any non-toxic glazes –surprisingly there was none. Even though many are labeled non-toxic, it only meant that they did not contain some extremely poisonous substances like feldspar, once widely used but now used minimally because of its dangerous effect. The surprising part was when I found that most glazes DID contain lead. It contained lead in a different form called lead frits or in the form of leaded silica.
Really?? With all the issues we’ve had with lead and the children’s lives and their families it has wrecked, they still include lead? The argument was that it was much safe and not leachable. To that I would say… only time will tell.
From the beginning, the idea of glazing our cookware was so unappealing for two main reasons: a) because this was cookware — used for cooking food b) with heat acting as a catalyst there was more happening than what could be seen or tasted, and it was best to keep it as safe and close to nature as possible. Besides these obvious reasons, there were many benefits to not glazing:
An unglazed pot can breath. A breathable pot is capable of so much more, for example, it can thicken yogurt naturally, let rice cook fluffy & soft (not sticky), cook without using oil (can’t cook without oil or grease on glazed cookware), extracts toxins from food, etc.
Our desire was to take the ancient art of making pots & pans from pure and all-natural clay and refine it to best suit our modern kitchens without compromising on the purity. So glaze was out of question!
With cookware, glazing was done for 3 reasons: 1) to give a smooth and shiny finish, 2) hide imperfection 3) and was thought to make the utensil non-stick. On the contrary, we found out that pure-clay when not glazed, and if finished the right way could be more “non-stick”, than glazed pots. Also ceramic, porcelain and other manufactured clay, turned out dull and unappealing when fired without glaze… Fortunately that was not the case with pure nature—it had a vibrant orange to reddish color that was hard to cover up!
The natural unglazed finish off course did take longer and meant the product be done right from the beginning to minimize imperfections because here they could not be hidden away, but it was worth the effort. It meant that WE the consumers would get a product that was free from any kind of chemicals or contaminants, period.