Let’s Talk Le Creuset…


To say I am pragmatic about kitchen purchases is an understatement.  My working kitchen has limited space so when it comes to new equipment and gadgets, I ponder, ponder and ponder just a bit more before I finally commit to a purchase.

I had been secretly lusting after a Le Creuset pot for years – just how many years? I don’t know, but I did not need a new pot and sheesh the price tag – would it be worth it?  Was Le Creuset really the Holy Grail of the culinary world?

Last January with a holiday bonus in hand, I invested in a Le Creuset (kiwi green) 5 1/2-quart dutch oven.  I can tell you, Y-E-S, it was worth every penny.  As you can see from the drain pan, in one year’s time I have invested in two more pots (a small saucepan and a larger saucepan).

I LOVE these pots: Love how they look, love how they cook and love how they feel.  I am quite surprised with how strongly I feel about my Le Creuset pots.  Everything looks pretty in these pots because the interior is a creamy white.  Admittedly, when I brought the green pot home, I didn’t know if I could deal with the hand washing and I did not know how I would feel about the temperature adjustments at my stove.  These pots came with rules…

As a recipe writer and a cook, I value the benefit of cooking in a well-seasoned cast iron pan (Barr often recommends heavy, cast iron) but whenever I cook with one at someone else’s home, I am always worried that I am going to wreck their pan, wash it the wrong way etc, etc…

Neurotic?  Yes, I know.  But people feel very strongly about their cast iron pans, especially perfectly seasoned ones.  Seriously, it is rumored that people in the south pass along their cast iron cornbread pans in their wills.  If you are not the favorite daughter, your cornbread would be doomed for all of eternity.

Back to Le Creuset and its rules: First, cook at a lower heat than you might think (unless boiling water for pasta). If you are an instinctive cook, you will recognize this as you use the pots.  Second, avoid using metal cooking utensils.  These pots are enameled cast iron and very sturdy.  After almost a year of use, I have determined that a Le Creuset pot would be tough to wreck

There are other brands of enameled cast iron, but my vote is to go with the original.  I perused the other brands and was unimpressed with their “Made in China” origins.  I admit it, I like the romance of “Made in France,” as they have been made for 125 years.

Online shopping for Le Creuset can be very daunting.  I picked up all of my pots at the Le Creuset outlest in Kittery, Maine.  I highly recommend locating an outlet for your purchase and signing up for the outlet’s mailing list (coupons, my friends coupons).  The ladies who work at the Kittery outlet were exceptionally helpful and patient with me as I picked up pot after pot and pondered and pondered.

So…What pot will I need to upgrade next?

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