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Try ’em, you’ll like ’em (if you can just lift ’em) May 18, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. I don’t know why pots and pans popped into my mind today as a post topic, but they did. Our friend Ben and I grew up in a more innocent era when our mothers used thick aluminum pots and pans, many passed down the generations, which conveyed and retained heat beautifully without being heavy. But then Alzheimer’s reared its ugly head, and there’s no way we’re using aluminum cookware. (We wish we could avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants, too, since we’re really convinced that they’re the culprits, but we haven’t seen even one attempt at a commercial alternative. Marketers, are you listening?!!)

Back to cookware. The ideal cookware holds heat, so it cooks food easily without burning or scorching. It doesn’t rust. It’s easy to clean. It’s attractive. It will outlast you, even if you use it several times a day as I do. What is it? Two words: LeCreuset.

After researching cookware at endless length in grad school, I decided that LeCreuset cookware was the best there was, and I’ve had no reason to change my mind since. My beloved Mama was kind enough to buy me a starter set as a graduation gift, and I’m still using those original pieces to this day. I’ve added a few pieces over the years via eBay (a great source for new or used LeCreuset pieces at great prices, if you’re willing to bid on them) and thanks to generous friends. I love cooking, and I love LeCreuset.

There are two caveats, however. (“Caveat” comes from “caveat emptor,” Latin for “let the buyer beware.” Always a wise policy!) First, LeCreuset cookware is expensive. Yow! This is why eBay is a great option—you can find pieces at a fraction of the store price. My “starter set” included a frying pan and Dutch oven with a shared lid, and I often needed to use both—with lids—at the same time. Thanks to eBay, I was able to find a second-hand lid for a few dollars. Hooray!

The second caveat is the weight. LeCreuset cookware cooks so perfectly because it’s cast iron with an enamel coating. No rust, easy to clean, but heat-retentive. Fantastic!!! But oh, my, that cast-iron cookware is heavy. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, lack arm strength, or just aren’t as strong as you used to be, LeCreuset is not for you.

Otherwise, it’s the ideal cookware. Partner it with a Crock-Pot and a toaster oven and you’ll have everything you need for a lifetime of great cooking. Did I mention that it comes in fabulous colors, too? Sadly, my starter set is a boring grey, but I’ve purchased or been given additional pieces in beautiful shades of red, chartreuse, and true blue. And LeCreuset honors its lifetime warranty, as I know because our good friend Carolyn wrote the company when her LeCreuset Dutch oven developed a chip after twenty-odd years of hard use, and the company sent her a replacement with no questions asked. Wow.

So, there you have it: My best-of cookware recommendation. I’ve seen a lot of cookware, and nothing has ever made me even think of abandoning my LeCreuset. Try it, you’ll like it! (If you can just lift it…) 

                  ‘Til next time,






1. Joy - May 18, 2008

I wish I had bought the set I saw while living in Holland now.
In rich bright red .. I think it was the bit about NOT liking to cook that held me back ? LOL
BUT .. I do have some beautiful china made in the city of Limoges .. and there is the Delft I have collected .. ah heck ! I’m a happy camper after all ! LOL

Ah, red—my favorite color! But yes, sounds like you did get some wonderful things!

2. deb - May 19, 2008

I am equally devoted to the cast iron frying pans and dutch oven I inherited from my grandmother. They do not clean up easy and they are heavy, but the sentimental value outweighs all that.

Good for you for remaining devoted! Cleaning cast iron intimidates me. That’s why I love LeCreuset—it holds heat like cast iron but cleans like nonstick, thanks to that enamel coating!

3. flowergardengirl - May 19, 2008

I have several pieces of the Le Creuset and love it. It cooks so evenly. I recently got a convection oven and cooked my first prime rib in a Le Creuset and my convection–I thought my husband was going to re-marry me all over again!! I have an assortment of colors too. I like the variety.

Yum, prime rib!!! No wonder your husband was ecstatic!

4. Becca - May 19, 2008

I have several pieces of Descoware, which was a precursor to Le Creuset. The enamel is chipped so I just look at them and think how pretty they are. For everything else, I just use cast iron with the occasional stainless steel pot and pan thrown in for good measure. I imagine your set is beautiful.

Thanks, Becca, and sorry about your Descoware! I have stainless, too, but now that I have enough LeCreuset pieces, I seldom use it. I think you’re brave to use cast iron—my only cast-iron pieces are cornbread and muffin pans, and cleaning them is the very devil. I wish LeCreuset made those!!!

5. Lin - May 20, 2008

My mom was from the south and wouldn’t have thought of cooking certain foods in anything else and since I was always the cleanup crew I grew up cleaning cast iron. I have a combination of stainless, cast iron and a few pieces of le creuset. I like and use it all! My favorite le creuset color is the red…goes well with my collection of vintage dishes.

By the way, you’re right, prices are good on eBay, but for things as heavy as most le creuset, Amazon.com can be a better deal when they have free shipping.

Good point, Lin!!!

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