"Now We're Cooking with Gas" by Chef Charles Knight

The term “Now We're Cooking with Gas” originated in the 1930s as an advertising slogan thought up by the natural gas industry to convince people to use gas, rather than electricity, to power their kitchen stoves.

Over the last five decades I have made it my business to research the positives and negatives of cooking with a gas, electric, or induction range. By far induction is safer, earth friendly, and healthier. For your further interest and consideration, there are no open flames on a cruise ship, as they would pose a fire hazard. Although this article concludes with the benefits of induction cooking, my focus is on my concern about the health effects of Cooking with Gas.

According to a 2020 article by physician and epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, T. Stephen Jones, Gas burning stoves in home kitchens can produce health damaging pollutants, carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter. Over the last 40 years research shows conclusive evidence linking gas stoves with a substantial risk of respiratory illness.

  • Carbon monoxide” inhibits the blood's ability to carry oxygen to body tissues including vital organs such as the heart and brain. When you inhale CO, it combines with the oxygen carrying hemoglobin of the blood to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Once combined with the hemoglobin, that hemoglobin is no longer available for transporting oxygen.
  • Nitrogen dioxide” causes a range of harmful effects on the lungs, including increase inflammation, coughing, and wheezing, reduced lung function, increased asthma attacks (especially in children). The 2016 study tracked indoor air pollution levels from 1988 to 2011 experienced by more than 350,000 cancer patients in California
  • "Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is acomplex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution contains components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.
  • “Formaldehyde” At low levels, breathing in formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. At higher levels, formaldehyde exposure can cause skin rashes, shortness of breath, wheezing and changes in lung function.

Your NEW Gas Stove is not your grandmother’s gas stove. I still talk with my customers every day, and many remain convinced that Cooking with Gas is the way to go, that is until they have a new gas range installed. Back in the day, gas stoves came equipped with 4-burners of equal size. Eash burner had a small cast iron burner ring (about 1-inch) in the center for low or simmer cooking, and a larger cast iron outer burner ring (about 5 inches) surrounding the smaller burner for medium and high cooking. Today’s gas stoves come equipped with four or five aluminum composite burners of assorted sizes with no small burner ring in the center. Thus, eliminating the low or simmer control setting.

The appliance industry builds appliances to the world’s largest consumer market. At a time in the past that market was North America and Europe. Today, the largest consumer market is Asia and the Middle East, and they cook significantly different. The higher the heat the better. This requires larger and more powerful burners not conducive to American and European cooking methods and smaller pans. For example, most gas stoves today have a high BTU Power Burner primarily designed for large pans and high-temperature WOK style cooking. Power burners are typically located in the front or center and small burners inconveniently placed in the back. Americans and Europeans typically use smaller pans 4 to 10 inches in width, and Asia and the Middle East much larger pans 10 to 15 inches or more in width. Today, when you watch the food shows on TV everyone is hauling pans around with big white towels for protection against extremely hot handles.

I have a customer in Miami who recently remodeled their kitchen installing a shiny new stainless steel gas stove. After about a month they had it removed and installed an induction range. “Every time we turned on our gas stove the air conditioner went on, and the carbon monoxide alarm sounded, and when we turned the oven on the fire alarm went off."  Common story.

In 2019, Berkeley, California became the first city to ban gas hookups in most new homes and buildings, citing climate change. Since then, at least 50 California cities, including San Francisco and Sacramento, have adopted similar rules, often over the objections of local gas utilities. 

So, what is the future of cooking? Induction cooking, like your oven, allows for the desired temperature to set, and changes in heat settings are instantaneous. Induction cooking is 10 times faster than gas and 20 times faster than electric, and it is precise. For example, eggs cook at 240ᵒF, deep frying is 375ᵒF, and popcorn pops at 390ᵒF. It will turn your in induction compatible cookware into a Slow-Cooker, Crockpot, Popcorn Popper, Deep Fryer, Roaster, Grill, and More.

For more information on induction cooking see the following articles (click the link)

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1 comment

  • Excellent article, Charles. Your data is irrefutable.

    Ron

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