New materials give wimpy nonstick cookware a tough veneer. F&W puts the technology to the test.

The nonstick pots and pans I've collected over the years are all scratched, and the plastic spatulas I've used with them have all melted. But I'm ready to toss everything out, now that more rugged nonstick cookware is on the market. Most have scratch-resistant surfaces that incorporate ceramic or metal flecks. And, though the surfaces of the old grill pans flaked away when exposed to high heat, the new ones can get hot enough to sear food properly. As an extra advantage, some of the new nonstick cookware is actually pretty, with surfaces in bright colors like yellow and blue. So go ahead, get a little tough with the next generation of nonstick pots and pans. They can take it.