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Question about a soup tureen


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Initial post: 7 May 2013 02:59:48 BDT
light says:
I hope someone can help. I recently picked up a white soup tureen that says made in Portugal on the bottom, I don't know exactly what type of material it is made out of.

I washed it when I got it home and some lines showed up on it, they are not cracks but bluish/grayish lines inside the cookware. I can't feel the lines but they are there on the inside and outside of tureen. When the tureen dried the lines disappeared.

I tried googling to see if this happens to tureens regularly but all I could find is that some of them get something called crazing after using. Mine doesn't look like crazing. But I'm afraid that it might fall apart if I put hot soup inside it.

Another site said that tureens that may have been improperly glazed could leach out dangerous chemicals into the food.

I would appreciate any feed back on this matter.

thanks light

Posted on 9 May 2013 12:19:58 BDT
The glaze has begun to crackle. It happens. It won't fall apart, they just used poor quality glaze or the wrong firing temperature.

I've never heard the "dangerous chemicals" thing but I will say, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. If you do you'll soon be afraid to move, let alone eat.

Posted on 9 May 2013 13:09:29 BDT
Bearman says:
Ori is right - don't beleive the bit about the dangerous chemicals - that is from someone who heard about some of the chemicals that go into some glazes, but doesn't understand that once it is fired, it fuses together into a glass like material (glaze) that is chemically inert and does not leach out.

Posted on 11 May 2013 02:45:14 BDT
light says:
Thank you both so much, I'll give my tureen a try, without fear ;o)

Posted on 11 May 2013 15:26:16 BDT
Grandma says:
Actually, you CAN believe that bit about "dangerous chemicals." Some pottery glazes contain substantial amounts of lead that can leach out into your food. A rather well known, at least in medical circles, case of this happened in Texas as I recall 20-ish years ago. A fairly well off family living in a relatively new home (so no lead paint) suddenly all exhibited signs of severe lead poisoning. After much investigation it was finally isolated to the pitcher that they drank their morning orange juice from, glazed pottery from Mexico. One of the upshots of that is that pottery & china sold in the US is supposed to be certified as being lead free.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 03:30:37 BDT
light says:
Hi Grandma,

Yes I mentioned that the tureen was made in Portugal because I don't know what their standards are over there. It isn't stamped if it's safe in the oven or dishwasher, so I'll just use it to put the soup in after it's made.

I really only plan on using the tureen a couple times a year but I will take notice how I feel after I use it. It looks as though the family from Texas was using the pitcher everyday for their morning juice when they got sick.

thanks light

Posted on 12 May 2013 08:09:42 BDT
Fruit juice would react differently too, due to the acid, than say a soup with no acidity in it to speak of. Day after day exposure to a high-acid juice like orange would cause a whole different reaction than say a broth put in the tureen 2-3 times a year and well washed afterward.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 09:36:08 BDT
Grandma says:
Hi Light - Yes, they were using that pitcher every day. If you're only going to use the tureen a couple of times a year then I wouldn't worry much about it. Lead poisoning is something that happens after long exposure and usually ingestion of lead. They used to put it in paint that was used even on the inside of houses and somehow nearly all of us survived anyway.

As far as this being from Portugal, if this is a relatively modern tureen, then I wouldn't worry. The last I knew the EU has pretty high standards concerning the lead content in pottery glazes too.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 03:00:22 BDT
light says:
Yes, this is what I was thinking as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 03:04:57 BDT
light says:
Hi Grandma,

Yes, I grew up during the times of lead paint as well, as far as I can tell I haven't suffered any ill effects from it. I wonder if lead paint will be linked with alzheimers someday?

My main concern about the tureen, orignally, was that it wouldn't crack apart on the table, then it came to my mind that maybe it wasn't safe due to chemicals.

Thanks to the comments here and some common sense, I feel secure enough to use it.

thanks light

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 09:19:04 BDT
Bearman says:
Hi Grandma - if the pottery has been properly fired, the lead because fixed in the glaze and cannot leach out. Pottery is one of my hobbies, and the formulation and firing of glazes is a science in its own right. I can only assume that the incident you mention in Texas, was the result of improperly fired ceramics.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 10:17:15 BDT
Grandma says:
Hi Bearman - what an interesting hobby to have! That I cannot speak to. My field of endeavor before I retired was medical science. I know that the Texas case certainly isn't an isolated one, just a rather well known case that is often used when teaching about lead poisoning.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 10:22:58 BDT
pixie says:
It's hard to imagine that years ago toys were painted with paint which contained lead...we have learnt so much.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 10:24:43 BDT
Bearman says:
Hi Grandma - interestingly a lot of pottery glazes contain not only lead, but a lot of other toxic heavy metals, in significant quantities. That's why the firing process is so important. Funny enough I'm a biologist by training and work in the medical sciences myself!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 10:53:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2013 10:54:44 BDT
Grandma says:
Isn't that odd an odd coincidence! (Chemistry & microbiology here.) Yes - and some of the most beautiful colors are not obtainable anymore because of those toxic heavy metals. Cobalt made the most gorgeous blue.

Pixie - and back in the 'teens "glow in the dark" watch faces were all the rage. They were made to glow in the dark by being painted with huge amounts of radium - and of course the girls who painted those watch faces died like flies because they put the tip of the brush into their mouths to sharpen the point. Theirs was the first case in the US to establish employer accountability for occupational diseases.

And speaking of learning so much, the kids of my generation were allowed to play with mercury. Because it is a liquid at room temp it was prime "toy" material for budding geeks.

ETA - You know, now that I think on it for a minute or two, most of those old toy soldiers that better off children had entire battalions of in the days of yore were cast from lead as well as being painted with it.

Posted on 13 May 2013 12:13:25 BDT
Yup. We had a bottle of mercury and played with it sometimes. It was so cool.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2013 13:38:50 BDT
Bearman says:
We had a source of mecury at home (an old grandfather clock with a glass pendulum filled with mercury). We played with it there, and to a certain degree at school (making barometers etc). I think that elemental liquid metal mercury is not too bad for you, but it becomes toxic in compound form, and as a vapour.

Posted on 14 May 2013 02:50:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 May 2013 03:02:46 BDT
light says:
Bearman,

I was wondering since your hobby is pottery if you can answer this question from my op:

"I washed it when I got it home and some lines showed up on it, they are not cracks but bluish/grayish lines inside the cookware. I can't feel the lines but they are there on the inside and outside of tureen. When the tureen dried the lines disappeared."

Why would bluish, grayish lines show up while the tureen is wet but then disappear when it dried? are these lines weak areas? Will this eventually stop after usage?

Not only am I concerned about the tureen cracking apart while it has hot soup in it but I also don't want to poison anyone and I don't want the tureen to look bad while it is on the table with food in it.

Have you come across this before?

thanks light

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2013 02:57:54 BDT
light says:
Hi pixie,

A few years ago there was a big scare involving China using too high of a level of leaded paint on toys:

Lead Paint
"Though there is no comprehensive US ban on lead in toys, it is illegal for the paint to contain more than 0.06 percent concentration lead, and with good reason. When ingested, lead can cause nerve damage, learning and behavioral problems, reproductive damage, and irreversible brain damage. It can also increase the risk of cancer.

Legal limits notwithstanding, several high- profile toy recalls over the summer revealed that some toys made in China and sold to families in the US contained illegal and dangerous levels of lead. The levels of lead in some of the toys recalled by the Mattel Corporation were as high as 11 percent, 180 times the legal limit.

Some states have banned lead in children's products entirely, and a stricter federal standard for both lead levels and testing of imported toys may be forthcoming from Congress, says Norton. Meanwhile, she suggests that parents follow the motto posted in her office: "When in doubt, throw it out."

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2013 03:01:38 BDT
light says:
Hi Grandma,

"Isn't that odd an odd coincidence! (Chemistry & microbiology here.) "

Coincidences make the world go round ;o)

How terrible I never heard of a problem with the glow in the dark watch faces, though, I have heard of hatters going mad because of the chemicals used in making hats.

Posted on 14 May 2013 08:44:29 BDT
Bearman says:
Hi Light

It sounds to me like the glaze does have very fine cracks - too small to feel, but enough for water to penetrate though to the body of the pot beneath which then darkens in colour and shows through the translucent glaze. These types of cracks are unlikely to weaken the tureen, but once you start using it to hold soup, some colour liquids will probably penetrate and the lines will become permenant and stop disappearing even when dry.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2013 12:23:30 BDT
Grandma says:
Hi light - yes, many people do not realize that "mad as a hatter" was a real condition due to long term exposure to mercury in the felting process. There was also a particular cancer (testicular as I recall) associated with men who worked with coal tar in the aniline dye industry. You can read about that in Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 02:39:55 BDT
light says:
Hi Bearman,

" but once you start using it to hold soup, some colour liquids will probably penetrate and the lines will become permenant and stop disappearing even when dry."

Oh yuck, my white tureen will eventually look hideous, especially if I put soup with a reddish colored broth.

thanks for your expertise ;o)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 02:51:34 BDT
light says:
Hi Grandma,

Thanks for the book reference. Who knows how sick people are becoming from all the pesticides, dyes, and all the chemicals that are in our food and water. No wonder new illnesses and allergies are popping up all the time.

I bought the soup tureen and some other items so that I can start cooking better for my family. MY son told me that his friends were talking about how their mothers don't cook dinner and that most of them eat out, I felt a little better because I do cook 4 times a week but I want to do better and cook more from scratch, if time permits.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2013 03:11:27 BDT
Grandma says:
Hi Light - I know exactly what you mean. I had four children & worked full time, then when they were teens went back to university on top of it. Feeding them decently can be a real test of your inventiveness. One of my daughters lives in Cambridge (your side of the pond) with my eldest grand (16). She tells me that almost every time she steps into the kitchen she has an entire audience standing about watching her cook. Apparently the kiddos friends aren't used to seeing mothers cook either.

There are many, many things you can do to get dinner on the table fast without resorting to prepackaged or spending a fortune. One thing that I used to do when my kids were all at home was to make double batches of certain things and then freeze part for a meal later in the week or month. Lasagne freezes beautifully as do most pasta sauces and macaroni & cheese. And lest I forget, I quite often deliberately make a big batch of chicken stew (or beef), then put half of it into individual disposable casseroles with a short crust pastry top. Stashed in the freezer, they make a perfect dinner on nights you have no energy to cook. When the kids were all at home it would make just one meal, but it works well for me even now. I just get 5 meals from the one cook.

You can also freeze some baked goods before you bake them. Frozen ready-to-bake cookies (what you call biscuits) have been a staple in my house for decades. Almost any drop cookie (spice, oatmeal, what have you) is a prime candidate, as are the kind that you roll out and cut. Portion them out (or cut them) and put them onto waxed paper on your baking sheets, very close together, then pop into the freezer for about an hour until they are frozen. Gently pack into freezer containers with waxed paper between the layers. You can bake them straight from frozen - just add a minute or so to the baking time.

Another trick I've picked up lately is freezing half the batch of scones. Divide your dough in half, shape each half into a round about 1/2 inch thick on a sheet of parchment, then cut through into 6 or 8 wedges, freeze for a half hour so that the wrapping won't stick and pop it into a freezer bag. You'll need to add a couple of minutes to the baking time there too but no need to thaw.
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Discussion in:  cooking discussion forum
Participants:  6
Total posts:  54
Initial post:  7 May 2013
Latest post:  20 May 2013

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