Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Help lines not so helpful

I know this isn't really fat-related, but I am so fucking frustrated right now, I could scream.
I bought a new electric fry pan in December. A family-size one (12" X 18") so I could cook enough meat at one time for dinner that night and DH's lunch for work the next day. It worked like a dream, for the first month. The problem with it? It's teflon, inside and out, and in the first month of use, in spite of the fact that I seasoned it just like the manual said, didn't use metal utensils in it, and didn't use abrasives to clean it, the damned teflon started flaking and peeling off the cooking area. Now I don't know about anyone else, but I am fed up with this kind of shit happening. I can't afford to spend $25 every month on a new electric fry pan because the damned teflon doesn't stay where it fucking belongs (which is not in my food, dammit). If it was just this one skillet, I could understand that it might be a quality control issue, but it's happened on every teflon electric skillet I've ever owned.
So I emailed GE to complain, and I emailed Wal-Mart (where I bought the POS) to complain. I got an email from GE telling me to contact Wal-Mart's appliance help line. So I called them. Their advice: Take it back to Wal-Mart and get another one. Yeah, I so want to do that, so that I can take it back for another one in another 3 months, and again in another 3 months, ad infinitum. I think Wal-Mart would eventually get tired of me taking skillets back to them and refuse to replace them anymore.
Now, I'm no stranger to the internet, and I've searched, and searched, and searched for a totally steel electric fry pan. I found one, it's round and 12" in diameter, which isn't nearly big enough for what I want it to do. I may have to settle for that one though, because it's the only one I've been able to find.
Are people so lazy that all their cookware has to be teflon-coated? The only cookware we have that's teflon-coated is the damned electric fry pan, and it's the one I have the hardest time keeping food from sticking to (doesn't matter if I use Pam or oil, food still sticks to it). I have less trouble with food sticking to my stainless steel pots and pans and the cast iron skillets. Those aren't all that hard to get clean afterward either (hot water, dish soap, a good scrubber, and some elbow grease work wonders on them).
I think, once the weather breaks (read *quits snowing*), I'm going to head for the outlet mall over by Mpls and see if there's a cookware outlet that has what I want. There's another outlet mall in Medford, I may check that out too. Nothing like a good long drive to look for unusual cookware to put me in a good mood, yessirree.


  1. Using cooking sprays degrades the Teflon. It might be part of your problem.

  2. ACK, I hit the return with the cursor in the wrong place.

    I meant to add that I sympathize. I hate non-stick cookware with a passion, and I love to cook.

    I use old-fashioned cast iron whenever I can.

  3. anonymous - thanks for the tip on the cooking sprays. I might just take the fry pan back and see how a new one works without using the cooking spray in it (now, if I can just convince DH not to use it in there when he cooks...lol). I like our cast iron too. The older it gets, the better it is, to use and to clean.

  4. Yet another vote for cast iron.

  5. Yeah definitely cast iron. Though it took me a long time to get there. I genuinely considered teflon pans to be disposable items, always have, always will. No matter the price or quality, they go. The single exception to that was my grandmother's Teflon pans (the teflon in them lasted like 15 years - but it was something new, something no one had yet, and who knows but they were probably deadly or something.) I guess because nothing sticks to teflon (theoretically) it's almost impossible to make the teflon stick to the item - add in constant heat fluctuation - especially for frying temps? Forget it, it's never going to last. The only way to prolong teflon at all (and that not much) is to use low heat, let it cool thoroughly before cleaning, and then never scrub it - gah, forget it anyway, the stuff is worthless.)

    Would maybe a cast iron griddle do the job? They come pretty big. We have a deep fry one but I do want a griddle for the bigger jobs and so that I can get at the eggs and such to flip them, and have more surface area.

  6. annie - I thought about a cast iron griddle, but I can't cook the chicken breast/fried rice dish I make in that (I brown boneless skinless chicken breasts in a little butter, take them out of the pan, use the butter to make the Rice-A-Roni fried rice and put the chicken back on top of the rice while it's finishing up). Six chicken breasts don't fit in a regular fry pan, which is why I bought the family size one. One box of fried rice and 6 chicken breasts makes 1 supper for the 2 of us, and two lunches for DH at work, so it works out pretty good. Guess I'll have to find another way to make that particular dish for him (maybe a really big cast iron skillet will work, I found one online that's 16" in diameter).

  7. If you're looking for a big frying pan, I got a Lodge Logic 15.25 inch one off of Amazon for thirty-five dollars:


    It's very heavy, so the double handle is really nice; and it cooks enough food for my family of five people, with leftovers. I rub it lightly with oil everytime I clean it (water only) and heat it for ten minutes on high. It's nearly non-stick.

    Anyway, it might solve your problem better than Walmart. I was amazed that I got free shipping from Amazon, the sucker is heavy!

    And I think Lodge makes even one size up from this, I want to say a 17 inch pan. Yep, I just looked back and theres a 17 incher in the people also looked at this thingy Amazon does.

  8. piffle - thanks, I'll check that out too. I saw that on another website when I was looking for a large electric fry pan (just can't find one as big as I want that isn't teflon).

  9. I have a 2qt slow cooker that the base also doubles as a griddle (supposed to at least). The Teflon on it peeled the first time I cooked sausages on it and that it the last time I bought anything with Teflon. That was in the mid 80s. Another vote for cast iron here :)

    Good luck finding a replacement.

  10. Actually, you might also check with the once-a-month cooking set, often found among homeschoolers - they cook large amounts of lots of things at once and they always have tons of suggestions for cookware and saving money and such. If the guys in my office weren't freaking me out so much right now fighting I'd go looking for you, but I'm about to engage in some emotional Oreo-eating; will try later. Hugs.

  11. annie - enjoy your Oreos, and don't worry about the cooking stuff, I'll figure it out. DH says it's a good excuse for a road trip down to where my son lives, we can look for a fry pan that we like and see my son and his family at the same time. DH will take any excuse to get out of the house and shop. He's one of the few men I know who actually likes shopping, whether he buys anything or not (my bias/ignorance is showing here, I always thought window-shopping was something more women than men did).

  12. This is the largest electric I could find thats not non stick... and oh my look at the price.


    Measures 20-1/2 by 16-3/4 by 6-1/4 inches; 1-year limited warranty

  13. cynth - That is one awesome skillet, and I so want it, but that price is right out of my range just now....lol. I always knew I had expensive taste, this just proves it. Guess I'll be saving up for it, because that's exactly the type of skillet I'm looking for. I guess my price range when I was searching was way too low :)
    Thanks so much for finding it and posting the link for me :)


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