During the early days, our fore fathers uses the normal traditional material in preparing, eating and of course preserving food.
Until the 18th century when Benjamin Thompson noted at the start that kitchen utensils were commonly made of copper, with various efforts made to prevent the copper from reacting with food (particularly its acidic contents) at the temperatures used for cooking, including tinning, enamelling, andvarnishing. He observed that iron had been used as a substitute, and that some utensils were made of earthenware.
I will be enlightening you on five different element house old utensils were made from.


Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) andatomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a reddish-orange color. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins and constantan used in strain gauges and thermo couples for temperature measurement.
Copper has good thermal conductivity and copper utensils are both durable and attractive in appearance. However, they are also comparatively not as light as utensils made of other materials, require scrupulous cleaning to remove poisonous tarnish compounds, and are not suitable for acidic foods.

2. Iron

Iron is a chemical element with symbolFe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth’s outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. Its abundance in rocky planets like Earth is due to its abundant production by fusion in high-mass stars, where it is the last element to be produced with release of energy before the violent collapse of a supernova, which scatters the iron into space.
Iron is more prone to rusting than (tinned) copper. Cast iron kitchen utensils, in particular, are however less prone to rust if, instead of being scoured to a shine after use, they are simply washed with detergent and water and wiped clean with a cloth, allowing the utensil to form a coat of (already corroded iron and other) material that then acts to prevent further corrosion (a process known as seasoning). Furthermore, if an iron utensil is solely used for frying or cooking with fat or oil, corrosion can be reduced by never heating water with it, never using it to cook with water, and when washing it with water to dry it immediately afterwards, removing all water. Since oil and water are immiscible, since oils and fats are more covalent compounds, and since it is ionic compounds such as water that promote corrosion, eliminating as much contact with water reduces corrosion. For some iron kitchen utensils, water is a particular problem, since it is very difficult to dry them fully. In particular, iron egg-beaters or ice cream freezers are tricky to dry, and the consequent rust if left wet will roughen them and possibly clog them completely. When storing iron utensils for long periods, van Rensselaer recommended coating them in non-salted (since salt is also an ionic compound) fat or paraffin.

Iron utensils have little problem with high cooking temperatures, are simple to clean as they become smooth with long use, are durable and comparatively strong (i.e. not as prone to breaking as, say, earthenware), and hold heat well. However, as noted, they rust comparatively easily.

3. Aluminium

James Frank Breazeale in 1918 opined that aluminium “is without doubt the best material for kitchen utensils”, noting that it is “as far superior to enamelled ware as enamelled ware is to the old-time iron or tin”. He qualified his recommendation for replacing worn out tin or enamelled utensils with aluminium ones by noting that “old-fashioned black iron frying pans and muffin rings, polished on the inside or worn smooth by long usage, are, however, superior to aluminium ones”.

Aluminium’s advantages over other materials for kitchen utensils is its good thermal conductivity (which is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of steel), the fact that it is largely non-reactive with foodstuffs at low and high temperatures, its low toxicity, and the fact that its corrosion products are white and so (unlike the dark corrosion products of, say, iron) do not discolour food that they happen to be mixed into during cooking. However, its disadvantages are that it is easily discoloured, can be dissolved by acidic foods (to a comparatively small extent), and reacts to alkaline soaps if they are used for cleaning a utensil.

Aluminium or aluminum (in North American English) is a chemical elementin the boron group with symbol Al andatomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon) and its most abundant metal. Aluminium makes up about 8% of the crust by mass, though it is less common in the mantle below. Aluminium metal is so chemically reactive that native specimens are rare and limited to extreme reducing environments. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite.

4. Earthenware And Enamelware

Earthenware is glazed or unglazed non vitreous pottery which has normally been fired below 1200°C. Porcelain, bone china and stoneware, all fired at high enough temperatures to vitrify, are the main other important types of pottery.

Earthenware comprises “all primitive pottery whatever the color, all terra-cottas, most building bricks, nearly all European pottery up to the seventeenth century, most of the wares of Egypt, Persia and the near East; Greek, Roman and Mediterranean, and some of the Chinese; and the fine earthenware which forms the greater part of our tableware today.
Earthenware utensils suffer from brittleness when subjected to rapid large changes in temperature, as commonly occur in cooking, and the glazing of earthenware often contains lead, which is poisonous. Thompson noted that as a consequence of this the use of such glazed earthenware was prohibited by law in some countries from use in cooking, or even from use for storing acidic foods. Van Rensselaer proposed in 1919 that one test for lead content in earthenware was to let a beaten egg stand in the utensil for a few minutes and watch to see whether it became discoloured, which is a sign that lead might be present.

In addition to their problems withthermal shock, enamelware utensils require careful handling, as careful as for glassware, because they are prone to chipping. But enamel utensils are not affected by acidic foods, are durable, and are easily cleaned. However, they cannot be used with strong alkalis.
Earthenware, porcelain, and pottery utensils can be used for both cooking and serving food, and so thereby save on washing-up of two separate sets of utensils. They are durable, and (van Rensselaer notes) “excellent for slow, even cooking in even heat, such as slow baking”. However, they are comparatively unsuitable for cooking using a direct heat, such as cooking over a flame.

5. Clay

Clay is a fine-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Clays are plastic due to their water content and become hard, brittle and non –plastic upon drying orfiring.Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.  Depending on the soil’s content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours from white to dull gray or brown to deep orange-red.

Non-enameled clay utensils are used even in our present time because this natural material, which “breathes”, has no analogue. The dish prepared in the clay utensils has a specific aroma and refined taste. Fish, meat, and mushroom dishes, and porridges have a specific taste when prepared in clay utensils. Clay pots are used not only for preparing dishes but also for storing products, because such utensils have a unique feature – it regulates temperature and humidity. In the burned clay pot milk can be stored for 4 days and nights, the onions and garlic stored in such a pot does not rot, jam does not go stale, and flower and cereal does not get invaded by worms. In clay utensils tea and coffee keep their temperature for a long time. A great feature of non-enameled ceramics is that clay does not come into a reaction with food, does not contain toxic substances, and it is absolutely safe to prepare food in it, because while being heated it does not discharge substances that are bad for health. There are several types of ceramic utensils – Terracotta utensils, which are made of red clay and black ceramics. The clay utensils for preparing food can also be used in electro ovens, microwaves and stoves, we can also place them in fireplaces. It is not advised to put the clay utensil in the 220-250 temperature oven directly, because it will break. It also is not recommended to place the clay pot over an open fire. Clay utensils do not like sharp change in temperature. The dishes prepared in clay pots come to be particularly juicy and soft – this is due to the clay’s porous surface. Due to this porous nature of the surface the clay utensils inhale aroma and grease. The coffee made in clay coffee boilers is very aromatic, but such pots need special care. It is not advised to scrub the pots with metal scrubs, it is better to pour soda water in the pot and let it stay there and afterwards to wash the pot with warm water. The clay utensils must be kept in a dry place, so that they will not get damp.

Written and compiled by
Temi Badmus.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *