I never forgot the blue oval Le Creuset Dutch oven I had to leave behind when I moved from Portugal to Brazil, 5 years ago. Since then I wanted to replace it, but the usual Brazilian taxes applied on imported goods made Le Creuset prices move up from “normally expensive” to the “abnormally obscene” level.
As a former Marketing and Communication Planner I know very well that price is closely tied to manufacturer brand and product size. In this specific case, a bigger pot means a higher price. A Le Creuset brand simply adds a heavy premium price to pay as well. As a Foodie I know that cast iron pans are no technological novelty – they being used since the 17th Century – and if you look carefully and check several different brands, there isn’t much of a difference from one brand to another. However, even willing to give up the fancy and the status of the French brand, taxes on imported goods still made prices unbelievably high down here. Until last week, when I stumbled upon an “going out of business” online sale and the Cooking Goddess smiled at me after years of longing. I got myself a brand-less 21 cm round enameled Dutch oven for U$30!
It has just arrived. There it is. My new toy. In all its orange glory. I am in love. :-)))
After washing it and coating carefully the exposed cast iron ring around the top rim of the pot and on the underside of the lid with a tiny amount of sesame oil to inhibit rust formation (by the way, any oil or vegetable shortening will do the trick) I am now agonizing over what recipe to prepare to break in my new Dutch oven.
PS: Enameled cast iron is cast iron that has a vitreous enamel glaze. This type of cast iron was a popular material for cookware in the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries, but it has since been replaced by modern metal alloys. It remains a popular material for Dutch ovens. The enamel coating over the cast iron prevents rusting, eliminates the need to season the metal, and allows for more thorough cleaning. Furthermore, pigments used in the enameling process can produce vibrant colors. While enamel coated cast iron doesn’t have the seasoning and cleaning issues of bare cast iron, it can be several times more costly, and does not have some of the benefits of bare cast iron, for example the ability to withstand searing heat and the leaching of dietary iron.