I know that cooking can be a grueling task, and as cooks we try to take shortcuts whenever possible. One of the main ones being the use of commercial cooking sprays. I understand that taking the time to drizzle oil onto a surface and spread it evenly takes precious time, but I assure you that out of all the shortcuts one can take when cooking this should NOT be one of them.
Do you know exactly what is in that expensive little can of air besides cooking oil? Let's step back and take a good look at it: what does the can remind you of?
Okay okay. So the ingredients aren't the same, but they do involve some sort of chemical propellant to release the spray from the can. It is even listed on the can of cooking spray:
Even the "all natural" PAM contains propellant. (and corn..GMO much?)
What is propellant exactly?
*Propellants are vaporized into pressurized gas. They are used to make
carbonated drinks, whipped cream and cooking-oil spray. The function of a
propellant is to incorporate pressurized gas into the product. A
propellant is a substance that produces gas under pressure. Liquid
propellants, such as nitrous oxide, are used in food. Propellants in asthma sprays are known to be one of the causes of
coughing and bronchospasms. Propellants are known to have carcinogenic
properties. Excess consumption and usage is unhealthy.
EWW! I don't know about you, but I don't want pressurized gasses in my food. Upon further research, I discovered that the main use of propellants is for rocket and other similar fuels. Not something I want on my pancakes.
Yeah, yeah. The MSDA says it is safe! But Monsanto and the FDA say that GMO's are okay as well as rBST growth hormones, etc. I say, trust your instinct. Honestly, if it isn't USDA organic certified, I don't trust it.
If you need some more reasons to chuck that can into the trash and never look back, I will give you my top 3:
1. Cooking sprays contain unhealthy additives.
Who intentionally adds nasty ingredients like soy
lecithin, mono/diglycerides, dimethylpolysiloxane, dimethyl
silicone, or artificial flavors to their food? Well.. If you are using PAM or something similar, that is EXACTLY what you are doing, especially when opting for artificially flavored
varieties, like butter.
2. Cooking sprays typically contain genetically modified organisms AKA- GMO's and non sustainable ingredients.
The vast majority of the ingredients contained in cooking spray are derived from genetically modified seeds, which have
been altered so that growers can use more pesticides :( Genetically Modified foods tend to contain much higher levels of pesticides than conventional
crops, therefore increasing the risks of these already dangerous chemicals.
3. Cooking sprays are bad for the environment.
Cooking sprays are unfriendly to the environment for several reasons. First, all of them contain unspecified propellants (I hate that certain ingredients don't have to be fully disclosed), usually nitrous oxide. Nitrous Oxide is a greenhouse gas, doesn't break down easily, and may impact our environment for decades. Secondly is the sheer amount of waste from using such products. I find it to be unnecessary. These cans are not as easy to recycle, and often deter users from doing so after finishing the product. Also, recycling is not a solid solution as it in itself creates a ton of pollution and uses a lot of energy.
"But what can I do about it.." you ask? Simple! Do what our ancestors did and take the time to wipe the vessel down by hand. This way, you can use whichever oil you prefer. If you are steadfast of using a spray, search online for a refillable one!
As a general rule for myself, I don't buy anything ConAgra. Even if it is organic, I don't feel as if they deserve my money. Not until they clean up their act!