Why does stuffing dissolve aluminum foil?

After Thanksgiving dinner, I used to cover my leftover stuffing with aluminum foil. But if it touches the aluminum foil, the foil dissolves (little pin-head sized holes) and leaves foily stuff on the stuffing.

I searched the archives and found Cecil’s column on this happening with meatloaf (catsup=acid), but it doubt my stuffing has any acid:
Bread cubes (out of a store-bought stuffing box)
Saute’ed celery and onion
Giblet broth

That’s it.
Can anyone explain this?

Another Primate

From my experience, onions aren’t basic or balanced, or it could be something in the broth.

Interesting. I have never heard of this (although I always keep my stuffing in a plastic container with a plastic lid).

I can’t see anything in the broth: Just giblets and the neck boiled for a while.

Any baking soda there ??

I think I didn’t mention salt and pepper and thyme. But I don’t think they would affect the aluminum foil.

Just use a glass baking dish!
Cecil is wrong.


The effect is well known among physics and chemistry teachers. It’s actually electrical (well, electrochemical): it’s a “battery” created by putting salty food in a steel pan and then covering it with aluminum foil. The food is the battery electrolyte. The two metals act as the battery plates. If the metals touch together, you’ve got a “shorted out” battery.

Search google for keywords “lasagna cell.” Also:


To stop the effect, use a glass dish covered with aluminum foil. Or use a metal pan, but put plastic wrap between the foil and the food. Or use an aluminum pan covered with alumium foil.

Once I tried adding a switch to my lasagna battery. I lined just the edge of my steel pan with plastic wrap to interrupt the circuit (the foil still touched the top of the lasagna directly). Then I used alligator-leads from Radio Shack to connect the foil and the pan to a switch. I left the lasagna in the fridge for a few days with the switch off. No little holes in the aluminum. Then I turned the switch on. It took about half a day for the holes to appear. A meter measured a few hundred microamps (depending on how much lasagna touched the foil) running at under half a volt.

And yes, the term “lasagna cell” is more accurate than “lasagna battery” since a true “battery” would need several lasagnas connected in series.

Thanks for this explanation, bbeaty!

Not being married lets you do all KINDS of things in your kitchen.


I once grew some mold which was black, shiny, and about 3" tall (looked like human hair.) And I think I invented a new food after watching a mushroom cause a wave of “brown” to slowly pass across an old eggplant over several days (smelled like mushroom inside afterwards.) And don’t even get me started about Unwise Microwave Experiments.

Will you marry me? That’s exactly the kind of husband I want.
-Another Primate (female)

Will you marry me? That’s exactly the kind of husband I want.
-Another Primate (female)

Hey. You’re supposed to buy me dinner first! :slight_smile:

Here’s me: William J. Beaty

Here’s the inside of my mind: forward

Ahh, darn, you’re too young for me.