The following post was written by my mom, WWW who is leaving us on Monday after two months of being here 'round the clock as our cook and caretaker. I will miss her tremendously and don't quite know how we'll cope. (I'm hiring extra help but even that won't suffice, I'm sure.) Anyway, thank you for everything, mom. Including this post, which as per usual has me salivating over its deliciousness.
“Mom,” said she. “First, I want to tell you that I’m alright.”
These words when uttered by a grown child should be comforting, but instead they scare the hell out of me because they imply that something bad has happened. Something dangerous. Several times I have received these types of phone calls from my girls and each time, my head flashes with visions of broken bones, totaled cars, muggings, or other scary events.
“I could have been seriously hurt and I am shaking right now but luckily I’m ok...”
“WHAT HAPPENED?” I yelled into the phone.
She began explaining to me her morning events. A Pyrex baking dish had violently exploded, sending a million shards of lethally sharp glass all over her kitchen and living room. I remembered that I had had a similar experience when cooking Yorkshire pudding in a newly purchased Pyrex pan last year but thought that it was a fluke.
“The amazing thing is,” she continued, “not one piece of glass touched me. But my carpet and linoleum melted from the hot glass.”
She sent me pictures of her kitchen and after seeing her ruined carpet and linoleum, I was shaking, too—but grateful beyond belief that she was miraculously unscathed. I had bought her that pan when I helped her move into her apartment in August. And I had just bought an identical one for Rebecca after taking inventory of her kitchen and noticing that she didn’t own a 9X13 inch baking dish.
The first thing I did after hanging up with Rachel was to throw Rebecca’s pan in the trash. And the next thing I did was to search the Internet for information about Pyrex. Only a few minutes into my search revealed that there is a serious problem with today’s Pyrex products, and I have to admit, I was kind of appalled at the dozens of scary testimonials. Pyrex dishes and measuring cups explode in the oven, the microwave, on the stove, when taking food out of the oven, or if heated on the stove. Here are a few pictures and youtube stories. Also this.
The problem is, most of us have in our head that Pyrex is safe because it used to be… when it was made by Corning. In those days, the glass was made out of a shatter and heat resistant glass called borosilicate (still used today in European manufactured Pyrex cookware). I have a Pyrex baking dish that I have had for 30 years and it has never cracked, even at temperatures above 350 degrees. Today, Pyrex is made out of an inferior glass that can’t be trusted, and when tested by Consumer Reports, shattered in every heat test performed.
Why there hasn’t been some massive recall I cannot understand, but the good news is that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is in the middle of an intensive investigation and you can read people’s stories here. If you have had a problem with your Pyrex exploding, call the CPSC at 800-638-22772, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumer Reports wants to hear about it, too. (Send your stories to them at TellCR@cro.consumer.org.)
My conclusion from all of this is: PYREX CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO COOK WITH, PERIOD!!! Maybe it doesn’t always explode, but it seems to me, cooking with Pyrex is kind of like playing Russian roulette. And with grandchildren around while I am cooking, that is not a game I ever want to play. I replaced Rebecca’s pan with a metal one the same day Rachel called—just in time to cook this roasted ratatouille recipe.
2 large red peppers
1 large onion
1 large eggplant or several Japanese eggplants
about 4 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 fresh tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Cut eggplant into pieces (about 1 inch squares) and thinly slice onions and peppers.
Toss vegetables in olive oil and salt and pepper until coated. Spread evenly in two METAL pans, being careful not to crowd the vegetables.
Cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until onions start to brown and eggplant is tender. Add tomatoes, garlic, and basil, evenly dividing them between the two pans.
Stir to mix and roast another 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
Serve tossed with your favorite good quality pasta (I like it on lanterne pasta) or on rice. Dust with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
*The Erin Brockovich of glass cookware