As a change from Georgette Heyer, and because I've spent much of my morning off trying to impose a bit of order on my kitchen (basically a waste of time because it never stays ordered for very long but sometimes I feel like I should make the effort).
Of all my many kitchen obsessions the most expensive is without doubt my passion for Le Creuset and their cast iron products. I love them. Sometimes after I've struggled up the stairs with another newly acquired and long to be cherished piece I get a vivid flash back to when I moved in (the much smaller collection I had back then was enough of a pain to haul upstairs, I frankly dread trying to move the stuff out again one day). I've been lucky with my Le Creuset, my mother had a clear out when she moved house not long after I graduated and decided that orange wouldn't do for her new kitchen so I got all of her old volcanic range (bought in the early 1980's when all I ever remember seeing was orange, and still as good as new).
Had I not liked cooking with these pans it would most likely have stopped there - even though more tempting colours kept appearing on the market, but I do like cooking with them. Initially it was the case that the pots suited the way I cooked but as time has gone on the way I like to cook has probably been more influenced by the pots I love to use than the other way round. An old house mate commented on this when I was making risotto one evening. After a long, slightly critical look at what I was doing she commented that it was no wonder I liked making that dish so much as I got to use all my favourite kitchen things (I recommend a shallow casserole dish for the operation but more of that another day). She was annoying but right.
The rest of my collection has been carefully bought in sales, from the outlet shops as slight seconds, or heavily hinted for as Christmas presents. I have different favourites on different days but a kiwi green casserole that I picked up a couple of years ago from Bicester village. It was an impulse buy based on it's shape which I liked and the assumption that it would probably come in handy for something. It does come in handy and is easily one of the best uses of £40 I could have found. (Le Creuset fans will know that's a bargain). It's a lovely size for making enough of something for 2 - 4 people and is good for any soup or stew. What it's turned out to be best for though is cooking rice. (Rice, an equal amount of water, a knob of butter, bring the lot to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave for 15 mins or until the rice is satisfactorily steamed through and fluffy.) The heavy lid and small heat source to surface ratio make it perfect for this and anything else that might want to be cooked in a similar fashion. I think it also looks good bought to the table. It's a nice looking thing that works very well and will last me forever - basically the three things that make me happiest with any gadget or utensil.
Lovely collection! I've been thinking about buying a la creuset casserole for years and I might look for one in Bicester this weekend!ReplyDelete
I love the shop there, they get bits that aren't generally for sale in the UK (I've never seen my green pot anywhere else) and sometimes they have proper bargains. Hope you find something splendid.ReplyDelete
There's a Le Creuset shop in the outlet at Swindon - still expensive though, but they had the green - lovely colour. My casseroles were all brought back from France in the days when it was cheap in the hypermarkets. I have three different sizes and colours - lovely things.ReplyDelete
The first bit i bought myself was a large shallow casserole, I got it about a decade ago, carried it 3 miles home (heavy) and it cost me £50, the same pan is now £150. Heartbreaking.Delete
I have a le Creuset casserole that I bought back in the 1970s and it is still going strong, ditto an all purpose orange dish to pasta and cheesy stuff. I used to have a frying pan but gave that up as it was just too heavy to lift. I love it allReplyDelete
The huge pan I use for jam is almost impossible to shift when it's full. If my tennis elbow gets any worse I'll need something lighter...Delete
The first place I ever saw Le Creuset was on Julia Childs' show in the 1970s. I loved the sound they made when her spoon would stir mire poix. Then I remember seeing them at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Field sometime in the 1990s. Finally, while a poor graduate student in my early 30s, I decided I had to have one. So I got the standard size (7qts?) in blue. when John and I met a few years later he had the same exact pot. One Christmas he gave me an even larger one in Flame (the orange that you have I believe). I love all three of mine. When the new kitchen is finished there will probably be more.ReplyDelete
A second thought: Given the cooking/baking, gardening, and reading, you really need to come stay with me and John. Forget the monuments and museums, we can just bake and and weed the garden and read. And John has a good collection of "brown" liquor that you would also like.ReplyDelete
Also I really love dogs and Lucy looks so adorable, if you're not careful you'll find me on your doorstep before you know it...Delete
My mother received some of the orange casseroles for a wedding present in 1969 and they are still going strong, and used all the time. I think the colour has passed in and out of fashion about half a dozen times since then! I adore them but blanch at the cost; however, I do have my eye on some of the stoneware accessories - the honey pot and the butter dish. As you say, heavy hints...ReplyDelete