17 Jan 2011

How’d You Like a Dutch Oven?

5 Comments Cooking/Baking

About six years ago, I was in a cold reading class in Burbank. One day during break, I was talking to a very sweet guy who was in the class. I can’t remember his name, because I’m TERRIBLE at remembering the names of people who aren’t in my every day life. Anyway, he was lovely, and one day we were chatting about random stuff and he asked what I love to do. I told him I was just really getting into cooking and that I found it to be the most relaxing, zen-like, nourishing thing in the world. (I still feel that way). I asked him what he loved to do, and he told me that he and his partner went flea-marketing every weekend.

He asked if I had a Dutch Oven, and I told him I wasn’t into kinky sex. Then he informed me that a Dutch Oven is an awesome pot for cooking soups and stews, and that he would find one for me at one of his flea markets. I thought that was very sweet and then I forgot about it.

About two weeks later, he came to class with a Dutch Oven for me. It was beautiful, orange, and reminiscent of the Le Creuset line of cookware that I had been drooling over at Williams Sonoma. He informed me that this was the stuff that INSPIRED the Le Creuset cookware and that it was original Descoware from Belgium. I was blown away for so many reasons: 1. I now had this pot that I hadn’t even known existed two weeks earlier, but that would apparently change the way I cook. 2. I had never bought something at a flea market before, so I assumed I was going to be washing the shit out of this pot the second I got home. 3. This man who I barely even KNEW had not only kept his word, but he had so kindly bought someone he barely knew a very special gift. Wow.

Well, I promptly took it home and, as previously mentioned, washed the living shit out of it. Then about a week later, I made beef stew for the first time. It was good, homey and comforting. I had broken in my pot. Since then, I’ve made hundreds of soups, stews, and pasta sauces in my Descoware. And every time I do; honestly every single time, I think of the guy (whose name I can’t remember) who told me he would buy me one… And did. It’s my favorite piece of cooking equipment and I will have it forever.

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Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!
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5 Responses to “How’d You Like a Dutch Oven?”

  1. Reply Julie says:

    I need to buy a Dutch Oven. In the meantime, I bought the Best Pan Ever from Calphalon a few weeks ago. It’s a 5 qt. non-stick sauce/fry pay with high sides and a lid. I cook EVERYTHING in this thing. It was on sale, so that makes it even better.

    I LOVE new cookware. It’s full of possibilities, isn’t it?

  2. Reply Koch says:

    Stopped reading after “I told him I wasn’t into kinky sex”. But then I finished it after all. The Lisa magic squeezed a great gift out of a perfect stranger. Gee, go figure. I never really knew about these, so thanks.

  3. Reply Maegan says:

    K, so when I first read the title, I thought of farts… like when you fart and pull the covers over your partners head so they can’t escape the stank… yea, THAT Dutch Oven. And I giggled! hee hee hee!
    I do not have a dutch oven, and haven’t seen a need for one… but perhaps I do need one. I love to cook and love to make soups, stews would be good too. And that is a nice looking Dutch Oven. Made even better b/c it was given with love!

    PS – is that they veg soup from a few weeks ago that burned??

  4. Reply AL says:

    I am NOT kidding, I had that same pot when we lived in Ashland (well, not that same pot, but the same brand) I made everything (except egg nog) in that beast! Same color (it also came in a beautiful blue) and the lid doubled as a Swedish Frisbee (just kidding)…but, it was handy to keep bread/rolls warm from oven to table, reheat pie at the table, and I also used it to serve the corn on the cob in a pool of butter.

    Truly, a dutch oven is a raw cast iron vessel capable of being lowered into campfire coals for baking, or hung above the campfire. Also, the lid, once turned upside down, would create a flat surface to allow heaping mounds of coals to create heat from above as well…hence dutch (shared) oven heat. They make fabulous pots to cook whole chickens, huge roasts piled with vegetable deep dish cobblers and cinnamon rolls…and if you like BBQ beans? The ONLY way to go! OK….now I am showing my age…again. When you next visit the ranch, maybe we can cook dinner in a campfire?

  5. Reply Christine says:

    I love to braise. I am the queen of slow cooked yumminess. My 10 year old daughter’s favorite meal is my veal osso buco. I can take the cheapest cut of meat and turn it into something tender and velvety and addictive. And, I do indeed have a Le Creuset Dutch Oven that was given to me for my 40th birthday by a fellow foodie friend who understands my love of the slow braise.

    But I hate it.

    Damn thing is wicked heavy when its empty, so to pick it up when it is full does not make me happy. And, it’s not supposed to go in the dishwasher, which is immediate cause for dislike. I do not hand wash. Not anything, not ever. I will run the dishwasher three times in one day rather than hand wash what doesn’t fit in the machine. And, I can’t get the beautiful sear that I can easily achieve in my cheaper, lighter and dishwasher safe pots. Searing in my Le Creuset results either in sweaty meat or a burnt bottomed pot. Yuck. And, liquid seems to evaporate too fast, as though the lid does not actually seal the pot but rather rests atop it like a decoration.

    I need a my pots to sear fantastically and then seal in all the yumminess that will result in a most tender and delicous meal with ample sauces and broths and gravies. And then I need to easily lift them and throw them, unrinsed, and with nothing to scrape, scrub or scour, into my dishwasher without a second thought.

    So, my ridicuously expensive, and ridicuously heavy, dutch oven sits looking oh-so-fancy on my kitchen shelf. And I turn out the most delicous braised lamb shanks and veal stews and balsamic braised chuck roasts night after night with my T-Fal and Revere and corningware pots, pans and casseroles.

    The Dutch Oven in my kitchen makes me about as happy as the “I’m gonna trap your head under the covers to smell my fart” Dutch Oven in my bedroom. Sometimes you can love the giver, but hate the gift. I am truly grateful for my foodie friend, and my sometimes gassy and often silly husband, but I would much prefer that they both keep their Dutch Ovens to themselves.

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