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Somebody please explain to me the obsession with stains on cookware

I went to culinary school in Japan, where we almost exclusively used Aluminum cookware (extremely rust-prone). They forced us to scrub the pots almost every week with Brillo pads until they were bright and shiny. The reasons they used to gave us (aside from the prettiness) was:

1.) Tarnish causes rust which causes pitting.
2.) The tarnish is aluminum oxide that is less conductive than the aluminum -- a highly conductive metal, which is why it is used in Japanese cooking.

I think the teachers also believed the tarnish would affect the color and taste the food itself. But then again, they were like super-perfectionists.

Feb 22, 2011
Kansai in Cookware