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Le Creuset


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Keep in mind that, although this thread is ostensibly about Le Creuset, they are by no means the only game in town.  There are plenty of manufacturers who make enameled cast iron.  Le Creuset makes a quality product they stand behind, but in my opinion Staub is even better.

I have heard it said that one benefit of Le Creuset over Staub is that Staub's black matte interior makes it hard to judge the amount of browning. Have you found this to be an issue? I am trying to decide between Le Creuset and Staub for my first enameled cast iron. By the way, I found your "Understanding Stovetop Cookware" an excellent read.

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I have heard it said that one benefit of Le Creuset over Staub is that Staub's black matte interior makes it hard to judge the amount of browning. Have you found this to be an issue? I am trying to decide between Le Creuset and Staub for my first enameled cast iron.  By the way, I found your "Understanding Stovetop Cookware" an excellent read.

Ditto on the question. We own a bunch of LC which I adore, and I was looking at Staub the other day wondering whether all the colors had a black interior. That would seem to me to be the worst color one could choose for an interior, but maybe I'm missing something.

And ditto on Sam's wonderfully informative piece on stovetop cookware. Very helpful in deciding what to buy and why.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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Well, due to comments on this thread I have gone out and purchased several. I got a 9 qt round, 7.5 qt Bouillabaisse pot, and there multifunction pan.. I even picked up a stoneware covered casserole.

A big advantage, due to tips here, was going to the outlet store as well as signing up for their mail offers. I wound up hitting it when I got an extra 30% off of already deep discounts.

So far all I've been able to use is the 9 qt for a pot roast and not only did it perform great the cleanup was very easy. As our kitchen remodel gets finished (waiting as I type for them to install our granite counters today) I'm sure I'll be using them frequently.

Through all this I'm still a big fan of Lodge as well. For purchasing Lodge I always go to the hardware store. Most good hardware stores (Ace I know for sure) have some selection and the prices there are certain to be reasonable.

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 am one of those that doesn't like the dark interior color of Staub. A friend has Staub and I like all other aspects of it but I darn near burned my roux in it because I couldn't see what I was doing. I think it also makes it harder to clean. You can't see the stuck on bits. But I may still get one, assuming that the "self-basting" concept works.

The new Lodge stuff looks pretty interesting. I love Lodge and was glad to see that they expanded into enameled cast iron. They also wisely chose to start with 5 and 7 quart sizes. I also see that they have the gratins. I'm not at all sure what they were thinking with that apple green, though. From an aesthetic standpoint, I wish that they hadn't gone with the funny looking ss handle and the kitschy little buttons on the handles, but that is just a personal opinion. That gratin appears to be about the same size at what was the medium one in LC.

The LC gratins that I have are like this one. The size isn't indicated here but I have the large one that is 16 1/4 " and the individual ones are 9 1/4 " when measured handle to handle. I see that I didn't answer snowangel's question. (Or at least, I answered the wrong one.)

About the size of gratins . . . I bought the larger LC because, for the thin gratins like the single layer Steingarten does for the potatoes, you need one that big to serve four or five. It certainly makes plenty for even more when doing something like my eggplant that just about fills it. If you can find one, that is the way I would go. Staub has these. They are certainly attractive but I am back to my problem of being able to see how much browning you are getting. And it appears that the largest one is also the same size as the medium LC. I think I am back to the wisdom of a cast iron roasting pan if you need to do large scale gratins. I can't seem to find one the size of the large LC.

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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Has LC changed the sizes of their round ovens recently? Because I'm pretty sure my big one is 7 1/2 qts not 7 1/4.

Anyway, if you're working with one of the big ones you don't need to go to gym. I made a pot of stew last week -- between the 4 pounds of meat and all the vegetables that thing must have weighed 20 pounds. :laugh:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Decisions, decisions...

Over at EBay right now there are a number of 6.75 qt and 7.75 qt oval dutch ovens available. Happens I like the color of the 7.75 better, but at 17.5" length it sounds pretty darned big. The consensus of LC users on this thread seems to be that 6.75 qt is the most versatile, and it certainly would fit in my cupboard better...but I don't like the colors as well and it's braising season RIGHT NOW and Fifi has me hooked. (I need something in the midrange anyway. :rolleyes: ) If 6.75 qts is optimal, then how badly will 7.75 qts be overkill? We're a family of 2 but we cook huge batches and freeze for later use. For the next few months we'll have acres of freezer space at no charge from the electric company.

BTW, there's a 15-qt behemoth up for grabs for something like $13 at present. Those prices change with the bidding, of course, but there isn't much time to go and the price is still down. Maybe the bargain price accounts for some of the friends' purchases mentioned upthread.

Oh, yeah...there's a Williams-Sonoma LC dutch oven, plainly labeled, with a dark interior. Surprise!

Edited to add: looks like I was confusing a roaster with a dutch oven, so maybe the point is moot. I'm still interested in size responses!

Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Has LC changed the sizes of their round ovens recently?  Because I'm pretty sure my big one is 7 1/2 qts not 7 1/4.

. . . . .

Hmmm . . .

LC sizes for oval ovens.

LC sizes for round ovens.

I dunno. :huh:

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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Oh, yeah...there's a Williams-Sonoma LC dutch oven, plainly labeled, with a dark interior.  Surprise!

LC had matte black as a color option for a while. Clicking through the product line, I am not finding it as being currently available. I now remember having this discussion with the cookware lady at Sur Le Table or W-S when they came out with it. She said it was not selling well because of the "seeing the browning" problem.

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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For those of you considering buying the bigger pieces.....

If you have a double sink make sure to take measurements. You want to be able to wash your pot with ease. And remember, that although the diameter of the pot may fit, you need to take into account the handles. There's nothing worse than having a pot that doesn't fit in your sink.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I have heard it said that one benefit of Le Creuset over Staub is that Staub's black matte interior makes it hard to judge the amount of browning. Have you found this to be an issue? I am trying to decide between Le Creuset and Staub for my first enameled cast iron.

One could easily say almost the opposite: one benefit of Staub's matte black interior over Le Creuset's shiny white interior is that it is much better at browning -- which I have found to be true.

Unless you have a dimly lit kitchen, it shouldn't be all that hard to judge the level of browning on a piece of meat, etc. It's just not something I have found to be a problem, and I like the fact that it's faster at browning. And, once you get past the browning part, I just think it's a better pan for low/slow/wet cooking. It's heavier and I like the basting spikes.

--

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Not to get political or anything, but Lodge's product is described as "Patriot Red" which sort of strikes me in the same vein as "Freedom Fries". Better than Le Creuset, because it's more patriotic? (made in my home state, right?) Patriotic, like a redcoat? Or what?

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Not to get political or anything, but Lodge's product is described as "Patriot Red" which sort of strikes me in the same vein as "Freedom Fries".  Better than Le Creuset, because it's more patriotic?  (made in my home state, right?)  Patriotic, like a redcoat?  Or what?

That's an interesting observation and could definitely be a subtle way of differentiating their product from that of the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," as Homer Simpson has referred to the French.

But what explains the hideous green color of the gratin?

I took a look at some of the enameled Lodge at a restaurant supply store and it looks like they have yet another great product. But the price is a bit too high. I don't see that Lodge's gratin (in ass green, no less) at $99 is a better buy than LC's for $79 (and I can choose different colors).

edited to add-

Ok, so the Lodge also comes in different colors... but it's still too expensive, if you ask me...

Edited by fiftydollars (log)
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Not to get political or anything, but Lodge's product is described as "Patriot Red" which sort of strikes me in the same vein as "Freedom Fries".  Better than Le Creuset, because it's more patriotic?  (made in my home state, right?)  Patriotic, like a redcoat?  Or what?

More like Patriotic Red China Red because those Lodge enameled items are imported from China.

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More like Patriotic Red China Red because those Lodge enameled items are imported from China.

But the Lodge web site says imported from France. However, the way it is worded, it isn't clear if the pot or the enamel is imported.

I am getting a mental image of one huge factory in France taking all of the cast iron in the world and enameling it to brand specifications. :hmmm:

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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More like Patriotic Red China Red because those Lodge enameled items are imported from China.

But the Lodge web site says imported from France. However, the way it is worded, it isn't clear if the pot or the enamel is imported.

I am getting a mental image of one huge factory in France takes all of the cast iron and enamels it to the brand specifications. :hmmm:

I just checked and you're right. Their site indeed does say imported from France. I know that when I first heard that Lodge had released some enameled pieces I did some research and my brain registered "made in China" but now I can only find this comment on another forum. It could be that I am completely mistaken.

I know Le Creuset also owns the Cousances product line and also bought out their Belgian competitor Descoware years ago. I had a vintage Descoware shallow casserole a while back that I picked up on eBay along with a vintage Le Creuset saucepan. I think the fit and finish of that Descoware item was higher than the vintage Le Creuset and my current Le Creuset oven. No wonder Descoware was bought out. People don't know about them anymore so the pieces run a lot less on eBay than Le Creuset.

I saw a couple items a year ago at TJ Maxx or Marshall's that looked a lot like Staub but weren't and said "made in France".

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For those of you considering buying the bigger pieces.....

If you have a double sink make sure to take measurements.  You want to be able to wash your pot with ease.  And remember, that although the diameter of the pot may fit, you need to take into account the handles.  There's nothing worse than having a pot that doesn't fit in your sink.

I am not sure how I missed this post earlier, but bloviatrix makes a very good point. The apartment I am currently in has the accursed double sink. I can muscle around my larger and lighter items and get them cleaned. But the thought of trying to handle one of the big mommas seems impossible. It is almost enough to make you want to get a new sink. :biggrin: (That is not entirely ridiculous. My previous house had a big sink/little sink combo that had the exact outer dimensions of the typical useless double sink.)

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 pulled out several of my newer enamel cast iron pots this morning and found that some are not Le Cruset. (The old, old ones I have are Descoware.)

I have two Chasseur like these

That a friend brought me from England a couple of years ago.

They have had plenty of use and I have no complaints.

I have one round one that I have used on my induction cooktop with good results.

I don't think they have been available in the U.S. for too long, I don't recall seeing them prior to this.

(I did a Google search on the name.)

"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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Amazon has the 4 1/4 Qt. Soup Pot Le Creuset on sale for $99.99 right now, available in two colors. Includes free shipping, plus an extra $25 off if your kitchenware total order is $125 or more. I love mine, and one is shown the Duck Confit thread. :wub:

The prices vary from day to day, and hour to hour. :wacko: Sometimes different colors are priced differently, and there are differences in bonus pieces offered. Holidays seem to be typical sale times.

(Feel free to add an eGullet link)

Edited by Sam Iam (log)

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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ATTENTION to all of you near a Le Creuset Outlet store:

I received a "2005 Savings Calendar" in the mail from LC this week.It is indeed a cute little calendar w/ a diifferent picture of LC every month. It also contains details about all of the sales for each and every month of the year (attached coupon required.) For instance, January is 1) Celebrate the New Year in Style-20% off any one item of your choice AND 2) the Color of the Month Sale-15% off all black & blue cookware, blue stoneware, and blue accessories. July & December have 35% off coupons! They also included a "create your own set" savings coupon.

So, if you didn't get this calender, call your nearest outlet store & ask them to send you one.

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ATTENTION to all of you near a Le Creuset Outlet store:

I received a "2005 Savings Calendar" in the mail from LC this week.It is indeed a cute little calendar w/ a diifferent picture of LC every month. It also contains details about all of the sales for each and every month of the year (attached coupon required.) For instance, January is 1) Celebrate the New Year in Style-20% off any one item of your choice AND 2) the Color of the Month Sale-15% off all black & blue cookware, blue stoneware, and blue accessories. July & December have 35% off coupons! They also included a "create your own set" savings coupon.

So, if you didn't get this calender, call your nearest outlet store & ask them to send you one.

Must these coupons be redeemed at said outlet stores? Or are they valid for mail order also? My outlet store possibilities are vanishingly small.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Must these coupons be redeemed at said outlet stores?  Or are they valid for mail order also?  My outlet store possibilities are vanishingly small.

Yes. So call the Albertville store at (763) 497-0664 and ask them to put you on their mailing list, send you the calendar, and come to the Cities when the savings are the best. Stop here, and we can do go together. I can provide a bed, we can buy Le Crueset, shop at the Asian markets, get to Penzey's, eat some good food and share a bottle of wine.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Must these coupons be redeemed at said outlet stores?  Or are they valid for mail order also?  My outlet store possibilities are vanishingly small.

Yes. So call the Albertville store at (763) 497-0664 and ask them to put you on their mailing list, send you the calendar, and come to the Cities when the savings are the best. Stop here, and we can do go together. I can provide a bed, we can buy Le Crueset, shop at the Asian markets, get to Penzey's, eat some good food and share a bottle of wine.

Now, how can I turn down such an invitation?! Thanks! The store folks promised to send a calendar out Monday. I know nothing of the Asian markets nor where to find Penzey's, and would welcome your company. Maybe while we're at it you can teach me about galangel and larb... :biggrin:

I'll contact you offline next time I'm headed down your way. I'll make sure to clean the car out first, to make room for all our purchases. :rolleyes:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I don't know why I have not bothered to mention this earlier, however, I bought one of the enameled cast iron oval covered roasters made in China, at Marshalls a while back. I got it to use in my barbecue, right in the firebox where the temperatures get rather high. (Reluctant to use my Le Cruset in that extreme heat.)

Other than a chip in the enamel from being dropped on the pavement, it is in great condition after several months of being subjected to a lot of abuse.

If someone wants to go with the enameled cast iron and can't afford Le Cruset, this looks like it will be a good deal. There are several pieces available from the large oval to a small, shallow, covered casserole. There are fewer colors and they are primary colors, rather than fashionable shades, but that should not deter anyone.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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