At 03:59 -0700 on 09/18/96, Ruth eloquently expressed the following:
>out what a "non-reactive pan" was. It usually has something to do with
>tomatoes or lemons. Are we worried about messing up the *pan* or the
>*food*? What happens to the pan, or the food, when you disobey those
A reactive pan is generally made either of aluminum or copper. You don't
want to cook acidic foods in these because the acid in the food will break
down the metal and result in a higher-than-recommended concentration of the
metal in your food (not detectable by you, unless the flavor is affected).
Bad for the brain - ultimately, you're worried about messing up YOU,
especially if you're a small child. This applies to the older "soft"
aluminum pans (I have a big kettle of my grandmother's that I don't make
chili or spaghetti sauce in, for example) but generally does not apply to
the anodized aluminum more common today, and is not an issue at all if the
aluminum is "sandwiched" in the stainless-steel bottom of a pan to improve
it's heat conductance. On the other hand, I understand a copper bowl is
preferable for successfully whipping egg whites, although I've never
invested in one myself!