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CtznCane

Le Creuset

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Being that I sold high-end cars for many years (Volvo) I believe in the adage that (generally) good and cheap don't go together, never have, never will. Still, while not considering 'cheap' I do question value. This is especially true when I see the cost of Le Crueset pots.

Being that I have a budget, I'm not cheap but I am looking for value. I love my Lodge Dutch Oven which (for the best price) I bought at the hardware store. Lamb shanks, Pot Roasts, Chickens, Oxtails, you name it, they go in the Lodge. That aside, I stilll feel it would be beneficial to have an enameled cast iron pot or (if I can afford it) two. I just can't understand why when the Lodge cost me about 30 bucks that the LeCrueset is in the mid 200's.

I'm interested in a good sized Le Crueset (probably the biggest) and perhaps one smaller one if I can swing it. Are they worth it? Also, if you had to choose 2 of them which sizes would you choose? Also, are there any other good alternatives to LeCrueset? What can I do in the LeCrueset that I can't do in the Lodge?

Any insight and help would be appreciated.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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I have some Lodge, some ancient cast iron and a collection of Le Creuset. If anyone touches my patent leather looking ancient cast iron frying pan I will break their arm. If you shop around for Amazon specials, use the shopping features of Yahoo or Google, or have access to a Le Creuset outlet store, you can beat the price by quite a bit.

Now... Why LC? Well, for one thing, it is impervious to acidic preparations. I do a lot of citrus chicken recipes, some things heavy on tomatoes or wine. As these are usually a long slow braise, "naked" cast iron just won't do.

I also like the light color of the interior and the smooth surface. It just seems to work better for a roux. Therefore, I have a large one that I use for gumbos and other dishes that start with a roux.

After reading Jeffrey Steingarten on Potatoes Dauphinoise, I ordered the gratins, one large and four small for individual servings. He was correct. Nothing provides quite the same wonderful crust as that heavy cast iron. Now I gratin everything in sight and some of the recipes have tomatoes. The acid resistance is again a good thing. They are also very attractive for serving.

My new best friend is my little 2 1/2 quart oval dutch oven. I live alone and this allows me to cook a 1/2 pound of beans, four chicken thighs, a small pot roast... You see where I am going here. Sometimes smaller is better. I got that one on Amazon for $65.

Other than acid resistance, ease of cleaning comes next.

In order of those used most often (hard to say a favorite, I like them all):

The small oval dutch oven

The large gratin

The medium size oval dutch oven

The medium round soup pot

The large round dutch oven

The small individual gratins (but they sure are cute)


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I had a 7-quart Lodge dutch oven that I liked and used a lot. Then I got a 7-quart Le Creuset on sale from SLT for $120. I love my Le Creuset and almost never use my Lodge anymore. There's something compelling about the ease of clean-up with the enameled coating. I love my 10" Lodge fry pans, but the dutch oven was a pain to clean. If you can find the Le Ceuset at a good price (it'll help if you don't care about color), I think it's worth it.

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I have purchased a couple of LeCruset items from this vendor at a fair discount.

Celebrity Cookware

There are several other vendors who also discount the line as well as the Staub and Innova, which is fairly new to this country. Their pot racks have been around for quite a while but now their cookware is catching on. So far the largest oval pot they have is a 7 quart but I believe larger ones are in the offing.

Innova 7 quart. $65.90 is a pretty good deal.

I have also bought items on ebay for substantial discounts. There are a couple of ebay sellers who consistantly have what are "seconds" with perhaps a tiny chip in the porcelain on the edge of a lid or similar defect. Nothing that bothers me considering the price.

They often have the items listed as "Buy it Now" so you don't have to bid and hope you will get it.

However there are ways to make your bidding easier.....


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Consider also the black matte line from Staub - I'm not sure why this should be, but I get better results with it than with any of my Creuset pots.

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Like Fifi, I don't have to worry about cooking for others, and I found a six-piece Le Creuset deal on chefscatalog.com for $199. It contains the two-quart round oven, the two and 1/4 quart oval oven, a one quart (i think) saucepan, and a nine inch skillet (the lids make it six pieces...). I really really love them, and although they are smallish, I think the price was truly right for such versatile cookware. I consider it a start to my collection cause' I'm only twenty-three! Eventually I'll buy a much larger round oven.

:smile:


"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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Lodge now has an enamel line. We saw them today at the Chef's Catalogsale.

Quite nice, but not all that much less the Le Crueset.

I have been quite successful in the past purchasing select pieces off ebay. The new stuff sometimes is not really a bargin, but you can pick up used pieces that are perfectly good for quite reasonable.


Never trust a skinny chef

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I've got my grandmother's LC 2 1/2 quart Dutch oven............it was a wedding present in 1933. Still works beautifully. The price amortizes out over the decades...................


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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If you decide to go for the Le Creuset, Amazon.com has it on sale right now (but only until October 24th)! (Don't forget to also use the promotional code on the Amazon website for the extra $20 off if you spend at least $120 in Kitchen and Housewares...with Le Creuset, it's easy to make it to $120, but with the sale and the additional discount -- and free shipping and no sales tax for most people -- it might be a good time to buy a piece and see what you think).

I just bought the 2 1/2 quart oval oven (for $55.99 plus free shipping), so I'm glad fifi likes hers so much!

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I just bought the 2 1/2 quart oval oven (for $55.99 plus free shipping), so I'm glad fifi likes hers so much!

I have had it for about 6 weeks now and have used it at least a dozen times. I didn't mention that I am a Low and Slow cook for a lot of things. My grown kids are single and I bought each of them one for a treat. They are also thrilled.

Check out the russ parsons method for beans, 2 or so hours from bag to bowl, in this thread. Le Creuset is imminently suited for this method. It even works on South Louisiana style red beans. The small one is perfect for a 1/2 pound even though it will hold a pound.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I love Le Creuset, for all the reasons mentioned above. Mostly cleanup, although it's also nice to have a good looking cooking vessel that you can take to the table and serve from as well.

You know there's an outlet store for LC in Vacaville, right? I haven't checked the prices, but I know the discontinued pieces are significantly marked down, plus they carry "seconds" as well.

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While I love my LC cookware, the enamelled interior is not indestructible and my oldest piece, a large dutch oven is now relegated to a once a year marmalade-making vessel. The enamel stains and trying to brown anything in it results in serious cleaning problems afterwards. It is at least 25 years old and maybe even older so I should not complain but I no longer brown things in the ones with a light interior. I also have a 12 inch skillet about the same age as the dutch oven but it has the black interior and is as good today as when it was new. It's only drawback is the damned wooden handle which prevents it from being oven-proof at high temperatures. These two older pieces were bargain-priced at the time of purchase probably on account of the exterior color - one is bright orange and the other lime-green! Yuck - but colour isn't the primary consideration in cookware in my kitchen!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Both cast iron skillets and dutch ovens, and enameled cast iron skillets and dutch ovens have a place in my kitchen.

I use the cast iron skillets for frying and baking, and the cast iron dutch oven for deep frying.

I use the enameled cast iron cookware for anything else.

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I have a single piece of LC (it is VERY expensive) which is a fairly large oval dutch oven. It is a wonderful piece, right now I am cooking a stew with tomatoes in the sauce in the oven. I found it at a housewares store called "Homeworks" which carries overstock items and 2nd's. Mine has a flaw which is a small chip in the handle. No big deal and a price about 1/2 off regular retail.


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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It looks like you are in the Bay Area....It is really worth the effort to check out the Le Crueset outlet(s)...I signed up for the mailing list at the one in Gilroy a couple years back, and a couple times a year I get a postcard about their 50% off sales. Some great deals to be had.

I think there is also one at the Nut Tree in Vacaville but I haven't been to that one -- might be closer to you.

-h


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Heidi Swanson

101 Cookbooks

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I love Le Creuset, for all the reasons mentioned above. Mostly cleanup, although it's also nice to have a good looking cooking vessel that you can take to the table and serve from as well.

You know there's an outlet store for LC in Vacaville, right? I haven't checked the prices, but I know the discontinued pieces are significantly marked down, plus they carry "seconds" as well.

That I didn't know, JAZ. In the outlet stores off of 80? If so I'll have to put that as a place to go to.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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If price is your biggest obstacle, and you have a Marshall's or TJ Maxx near you, they sometimes get pieces of Le Creuset. Right now our Marshall's has a 5 1/2 quart round French oven in the cherry red color for $99. It's marked as a factory second, but I couldn't see any visible flaws. The same piece is selling for about $150 on Amazon right now, a little more elsewhere.

I have one piece of enameled cast iron but it's not Le Creuset. It's actually a Martha Stewart brand piece from KMart. :biggrin: It's a 7-quart oval Dutch oven-style piece I picked it up on sale for $40 a couple of years ago. The weight and enamel finish were very similar to Le Creuset so I bought it. I really like using it, and would like another piece of enameled cast iron in a different size/shape. I just think it's easier to use and clean than regular cast iron.

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Love my LC Dutch Oven and am going to add this 2 3/4-quart oval oven as a result of fifi's glowing reviews above.  $55.99 + free shipping.  Nice gift from me to me!  (Note the item is backordered.)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...itchen&n=507846

So... I finally know what the volume is. :laugh: That is an excellent price. I thought I was making off like a bandit at $65. The prices at Caplan Duval are incredible. I hate it that the link is for the "white sale". I have been collecting the white since they quit making the dark green.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I purchased my Dutch Oven at Caplan Duval and was very happy with their price and quick shipping. Checked them for pricing on the oval, however, and they didn't compare on this one.

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That's a great price on the small oval. The Le Cruset prices on Amazon at times are outstanding and can not be beat anywhere as far as I know. You just have to check from time to time. The Caplan Duval prices are very good, too. Just remember to figure in their shipping costs when comparing prices. I think Amazon often beats the Le Cruset factory outlet stores. Again, you just have to check. Patience pays off when looking for Le Cruset.

And please remember to use an eGullet Amazon link at the bottom of the page when shopping Amazon.

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While I love my LC cookware, the enamelled interior is not indestructible and my oldest piece, a large dutch oven is now relegated to a once a year marmalade-making vessel.  The enamel stains and trying to brown anything in it results in serious cleaning problems afterwards.  It is at least 25 years old and maybe even older so I should not complain but I no longer brown things in the ones with a light interior.  I also have a 12 inch skillet about the same age as the dutch oven but it has the black interior and is as good today as when it was new.  It's only drawback is the damned wooden handle which prevents it from being oven-proof at high temperatures.  These two older pieces were bargain-priced at the time of purchase probably on account of the exterior color - one is bright orange and the other lime-green!  Yuck - but colour isn't the primary consideration in cookware in my kitchen!

Anna, LC has a lifetime guarantee. If the surface is broken or degraded, they will probably replace it. I've had a couple replacements. They even sent the color of my choice.

If the surface is merely discolored from use, I find that soaking it in clorox/water does the trick.


"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Being that I sold high-end cars for many years (Volvo) I believe in the adage that (generally) good and cheap don't go together, never have, never will.  Still, while not considering 'cheap' I do question value.  This is especially true when I see the cost of Le Crueset pots.

    Being that I have a budget, I'm not cheap but I am looking for value.  I love my Lodge Dutch Oven which (for the best price) I bought at the hardware store.  Lamb shanks, Pot Roasts, Chickens, Oxtails, you name it, they go in the Lodge.    That aside, I stilll feel it would be beneficial to have an enameled cast iron pot or (if I can afford it) two.    I just can't understand why when the Lodge cost me about 30 bucks that the LeCrueset is in the mid 200's. 

    I'm interested in a good sized Le Crueset (probably the biggest) and perhaps one smaller one if I can swing it.  Are they worth it?  Also, if you had to choose 2 of them which sizes would you choose?  Also, are there any other good alternatives to LeCrueset?  What can I do in the LeCrueset that I can't do in the Lodge?

    Any insight and help would be appreciated.

I picked up a le crueset 7 qt off of Ebay that was new for around $90. To me it's no comparison to any pot in the house. You can cook anything in it, because it's enamel coated and will hold the heat very well. There's deals to be had on ebay more than anywhere else.

Polack

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grrr...can't quite figure out the quote thing, but Anna, I'll second what Mott said. I had an old scratched up Le Cruset from my great aunt (she would be about 100 now!) that I gave to my brother and he wrote the folks at Le Cruset and got a Brand NEW one! :blink:

Yes, I'm jealous.:raz:

Anne

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