Stainless steel

Stainless steel is an alloy, a substance composed of two or more metals. Its virtues are hardness and durability; its drawback is poor heat conduction. In addition, the alloy includes nickel, a metal to which many people are sensitive. Finally, stainless steel isn't really stainless. When exposed to high heat, stainless steel develops a characteristic multi-hued "rainbow" discoloration. Starchy foods, such as pasta and potatoes, may darken the pot. Undissolved salt can pit the surface. Sorry about that!

If your stainless steel pot is scratched deeply enough to expose the inner layer under the shiny surface, the metals in the alloy may flake into your food. So toss the pot.

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