I don't need a Le Creuset dutch oven!

You do know there is a Le Creuset outlet in the Vacaville outlet stores off I-80, right? I’ll be damned if I could tell what was wrong with them even when the sales lady was pointing and saying, see that…that mark right there? (me…uh no? where?).

And they seem to have the discretion at the outlets to knock more off. I was trying to talk my mom into getting herself one and the guy at the outlet in Williamsburg took an extra 20% off just for her. (There was a little bit of blue overspray in the cream inside. Big whoop.)

Once (unfortunately after I bought mine) I walked into a Le Creuset outlet where they were having a 50% off sale on everything not in a box, because they were moving across the road and that stuff is heavy.

Thanks for the info…that is interesting. I don’t remember if the Cook’s Illustrated ratings accounted for durability. I’m thinking probably not, that they just covered cooking performance. And they didn’t review the Martha Stewart stuff, because I don’t think it was out yet, but they did include some even cheaper brand that came from I think Target. I mentioned Martha’s brand because, as I said, Cook’s said that weight was the key, and I’ve picked up the Martha stuff…it’s pretty heavy. Can’t vouch for the quality of the enameling, though.

We have 2 Le Creuset dutch ovens and 2 sauce pans. The sauce pans we bought used on eBay, and both dutch ovens were bought at one of the outlet stores. You really can get good deals there, especially if you aren’t picky about what color you want. I really love all 4 of them, and we use them all the time.

That’s exactly where I got my set. It’s about 17 years now I’ve been hating them and not using them everyday for everything. I’m not making some chicken soup in my Dutch oven for my SO with strep throat at this very moment.

Some of mine were made around 1934. They are like new, basically. If I take the trouble to really work on them, they come up as bright and shiny as they were the day they were made. A good soak in TSP removes much of the baked-on gunk you find on second hand pieces. None of mine have plastic knobs on the lid. Some are black metal, some are metal with white enamel finishes.

I dropped one on a concrete floor once, from about 12 feet up. It cracked and so did my heart.

I can no longer sling those pots and pans around the way I used to, with age my hands and wrists are much weaker. That’s the only drawback.

Right about the time that “no knead” bread first made the rounds, Cook’s Illustrated rated Target’s brand slightly below Le Creuset

In addition to the Vacaville Le Creuset outlet store, there’s one down here at the Gilroy outlet mall, as well. They also have a Calphalon outlet here, which I will be visiting soon with my Christmas loot.

Marshalls and TJ Maxx almost always have a decent brand of these for around $40 - $60 depending on size. You have to watch - being TJ Maxx sometimes there are four small ones in a sickly green that aren’t great - sometimes you walk into the large LeCs…

They are heavy, they are difficult to store. If you do get one, make sure you get one completely make of iron and ceramic - no plastic parts - so the whole thing can go in the oven.

Targets has a plastic handle on the lid that can’t go into an oven above 400. An oven below 400 degrees is fine for many things, but sometimes you have a recipe (such as the no knead bread) that wants a hotter oven.

But the handle unscrewed. And, for me, was worth the savings.

I agree. Enameled cast iron cookware is fantastic. I have three pots, one the cheap Chefmate from Target, two from Staub (also French made, slightly cheaper than Le Creuset, but not much.) I can’t tell any difference in the performance between the three and the heating on all three seems to be even on all, judging by how the bubbles form in the bottom of the pot when you boil water in it. I suppose we’ll see in another ten years.

As for the plastic handle on the Chefmate, I replaced it with a homemade metal handle, and it’s fine.

Aside from looking better, is there any advantage to a enameled cookware versus well seasoned cast iron?

It is easier to clean ( I clean my seasoned cast iron stuff as soon as i empty the pan). It handles acidic dishes better, so is better with tomato based sauces and you don’t have to be as careful about the retention of odours and flavours from use to use - I had separate ones for fish, eggs and other stuff (admittedly different sizes too).

You don’t need a Le Creuset dutch oven.

You don’t need a Kitchenaid mixer.

These are not the kitchen appliances you’re looking for.

You can go about your business.

Move along.

You do need one. They’re great.

They’re ridiculously expensive. I have an (unenameled) cast iron Dutch oven that I bought new for 18 euros, while a similar sized enameled Creuset is about 160 euros. :dubious:

Unenameled cast iron needs to be treated with some care, but it’s completely impossible to permanently damage them except by breaking the pan completely. I love the stuff.

I cook all my tomato sauces and other acidic foods in my seasoned cast iron pan. It works just fine. Just clean up the pan when you’re done.