Alright, Chowhounders, I need some experts here -- possibly a chemist!
Yesterday, I ran into a fellow who had a very interesting point of view about cookware. This all started with a discussion of different cast-iron cookware materials, which said person purported that cast-iron was a terrible metal for cookware; which of course begged the reasoning. Their reasoning was that Cast-Iron, and indeed all types of cookware (save surgical grade stainless, which I think falls into the range of 18/10 stainless; they disagreed) 1) cooked too hot, and destroyed food's enzymatic activity and thus the food and nutritive value or said food; only surgical grade stainless did not do this; 2) to demonstrate this, and especially the dangers of cooking on bare cast-iron, he repeatedly boiled water saturated with baking soda, thereby creating an extremely basic mixture, catalyzing a reaction with the cookware, thus rendering said piece of cookware unfit for cooking -- because it reacted with the akaline mixture -- only surgical stainless did not do this (this particular comment was prompted by me saying that cast-iron is a source of iron in you diet...), it was then reasoned that Na, being common in foods, should never be cooked in anything but surgical stainless because of said reaction because the product of this reaction tainted the food; 3)that stainless steel was porous -- save, again, surgical -- and that this made the cookware bad for food prep.; and 4) most stoves, in particular gas, are far too hot -- citing the figure that the lowest setting on most household stoves is around 150*F, and thus destroy food.
Now, before you dismiss this as mere poppycock, this actually happened. I realize that most enzymatic activity in food stops after about 130* or so, that part I am not debating -- there must be some raw-food fans here, and that', in my opinion, is a different debate. I want to know is there any substance to their other arguements? Being a person of scientific training, it all seems rather absurd, I am, and therefore my opinions, are never outside the realm of a well-reasoned and thoroughly backed-up arguement; neither of which said person had. Now, my challenge, fellow Chowhounders -- can anyone here come up with anything to support or dismiss the aforementioned claims? Thanks for reading, I know it was long!