UPDATE: I have been using non-toxic non-stick bird safe Cookware from Caraway pots for more than two years now, and my Caraway Cookware Review still stands: these pots and pans are everything! 04/10/22
My search for non-toxic non-stick bird safe cookware
When I got my green cheek conure, Rico, last July, I had no idea how much my life would change. I spent a year preparing to own a small parrot, researching anything and everything I could about being a parront (parrot parent). I knew there were going to be big lifestyle changes that I had to make to ensure my parrot would live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Like many people, I love to cook. I enjoy all aspects of preparing a meal from prepping ingredients to eating the finished product. As much as I was in the kitchen, the type of cookware I was using never really dawned on me. As long as my food didn’t stick to the pan, I was happy. But when I brought Rico into my life, I had to throw away all of my non-stick cookware.
Why is non-stick cookware toxic to birds?
Non-stick cookware releases a colorless, odorless gaseous toxin and can kill birds within 24 hours…if not sooner. This is because a bird’s respiratory system is vastly different from a human’s, and their system of “lung sacs” does not filter out toxins and smoke the way our lungs do. This makes a bird extremely vulnerable and sensitive to any kind of scent, smoke, or airborne toxins.
Most non-stick cookware is made with chemicals like Teflon, more specifically PTFE and PFOA, which are the colorless and odorless toxins released into the air as the pan is heated up. And you’re probably thinking—as did I—if this could kill my bird in minutes, could it eventually harm me? And the answer is yes. Chemicals like PTFE and PFOA can cause sickness in humans, and these chemicals take up to 10 years to fully leave our bodies.
What about stainless steel pots and pans?
While I loved the convenience of cooking with non-stick cookware, I loved Rico way more. So I had to switch my cookware out with stainless steel pots and pans. Stainless steel and cast iron skillets are some of the most popular alternative cookware options that didn’t contain harmless chemicals. There are ways you can make stainless steel cookware non-stick, but it required a lot of maintenance and time. Cast iron skillets are also a great alternative, but I never really enjoyed cooking with them and found them hard to maintain. I noticed that my excitement to cook began to fade away.
The Caraway pans saved the day
But I recently discovered Caraway’s non-stick, non-toxic cookware. The pots and pans were being championed by health-conscious moms for not only being PTFE-free, but also being free of PFOA, PFA, lead, cadmium, nickel, and other commonly-used toxic metals. And the cookware isn’t made with any form of hard anodization. The pans use a mineral-based ceramic coating for a naturally non-stick surface, which got me wondering if these pans were bird-safe.
With a little extra research and confirmation from my avian vet, I determined that the Caraway Cookware Set was parrot safe and completely non-toxic (check out the “free of” section under the product). And in addition, the cookware was incredibly stylish and the thoughtful design transcended beyond the pans and lids to the storage. These pots and pans come in a set, but you can also purchase them individually! A complete Caraway Cookware Set costs $395, but here is the breakdown cost for each piece:
– Fry Pan: $95
– Sauté Pan: $135
– Sauce Pan: $105
– Dutch Oven: $125
I have been using Caraway for more than a year, and I’ve found my joy for cooking again. I have also reduced my overall anxiety around my bird’s respiratory health. Not only are the pans super easy to clean, but the pan and lid storage system is incredibly practical—and very chic. These are the kind of pans that you can free-hand flip an egg in. The non-stick qualities are incredible, and the ceramic evenly cooks any kind of food. Although these pans are safe for use, it’s important to remember that no matter what pan you are using, if you burn food, it can become a hazard to your bird. So always remember to cook on low heat!
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Caraway is also very responsive on their Instagram platform if you have questions for them!