The lifestyle changes we have made over the years to facilitate sustainability, earth consciousness, and the materials and things we will need for the long-term, have been gradual. However, they have always been based on modern research on environmental safety & preservation and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. I considered for many years the dangers of using teflon, non-stick, cookware but still ended up sticking with it for things like eggs, pancakes, etc. But then, as I became more and more health conscious, I wanted to get healthier pots to cook in. About 10 years ago, I bought a stainless steel set, which I'm very happy with masha'Allah, but still hadn't found a non-stick solution. Then the whole "back to the Salaf" brainwave washed over me and, mashaa Allah, my mind became clear!
What did they use back then for cooking? I checked with hubby about materials available then and he confirmed that cast iron (just think of Surah Al Hadeed), steel, copper, brass, pottery (clay), wood, stone, and glass would have been the things available. Well, then it all started to come together. I looked on the eco-friendly websites to see what they recommended as healthy cookware and what did I find? Cast iron, glass, stainless steel.
Oh, and before I go on with my pot and pan discoveries... the most dangerous things to cook with are non-stick and aluminum. Check out this link... it is just one in MANY you will find on the web if you research cookware materials to avoid: care2
So, me being me, I couldn't just talk the talk, I had to walk the walk. I researched about cast iron, its care, its durability, and its health benefits. You actually get some iron in your diet naturally from cooking with the pots. They are simply wiped with a good vegetable oil or animal fat and baked for an hour or two in the oven and that seasons them so that they become naturally non-stick. They even come pre-seasoned now so that you start out with a non-stick surface and simply have to maintain it. They last forever, unless you do something really drastic with them. You simply scrub them with a bristle brush and hot water while they are still warm and let them dry... no detergents, no chemicals, nothing! My mother-in-law used them for years and told me that she doesn't know why she ever gave them away because they were better than anything she ever cooked with.
Initially, I purchased a cast iron skillet, griddle, and two 3 quart deep pots with lids and used them along with my stainless steel. The best deals I found for them were on Amazon.com, although I am not advertising for them, LOL. They are not very expensive, especially considering I will be able to pass these down to serve generations of our family, inshaa'Allah. I keep thinking they'll be useful if I have to fight off an intruder too. A bonk on the head with an 8lb frying pan should be a decent deterrent, don't you think?
Here is a site all about cast iron cookware: Learn about Cast-Iron Pans
We also phased out our plastic utensils, replacing with stainless steel and/or wood. We have all stainless steel plates, bowls, cups, and mugs, glass measuring jugs and baking dishes, bamboo steamers, and an oven stone to cook pizza and breads on. Rather than use plastic containers for food storage, we use the stackable stainless steel tiffin containers and a variety of large and small jars. We even have a few small clay pots for storage and serving, mashaa Allah. Let the ever sustainable Sunnah go forth... in our kitchen - ameen!