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Le Creuset revisited

A while back - ok, a loooong while back, I asked if it was worth getting a Le Creuset enameled pot or if a cheaper one would do.

Well, I went ahead and got a Le Creuset and I am so happy I did. I cook many many things in it. I barely have time to put it away before I take it out to use it again. It's been great for the no-knead bread that's on everyone's lips as for stews, casseroles etc.
When I had gotten it my mother commented, oh i have two of those packed down in a box in the basement, both are smaller than this one, I never thought of them as very practical to use . Do you want them? So I have three now ;). That's fortunately how the crookie crumbles sometimes.

So was it worth the price I paid for it even when I got 2 for nothing? Oh you betcha :)!!

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  1. Congrats! I love mine too! My mom likes it, but she keeps warning me not to go overboard, as I'm not going to want to lift these when I'm older. :b

    1. It's a SAVIOR in the kitchen! My husband and I use ours for EVERYTHING!

      1. Yeah, a recent thread caused me to get the yellow pot out and I have a Bolognese (dark and evil) sauce on right now.

        1. I hve short ribs and root veg going now. I was looking at the Broadway Pan Handler ad on Wed. and was tempted by that 7 3/4 qt. pot but I would not be able to lift it filled. DH would have to be around to do that (back surgery limitations) and then I remembered that I have a great Calphalon 8 qt. Sautuse down stairs that I use for big pots of mussels etc. I think 8 assorted LC casseroles and bakers is plenty

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            >I think 8 assorted LC casseroles and bakers is plenty

            Yes, it's plenty, but, when it comes to LC, is it enough? ;^)

            1. re: Cpt Wafer

              Well you never know do you? I only have 1 oval 6 qt. french oven....might have to justify another if the price was right.

          2. I live by my multiple Le Creuset round ovens. LOVE. THEM. A trick to cleaning them, for those who didnt read this in Cook's Illustrated, is to wash them the best you can, and then soak in water with a shot of bleach for 24 hours. Gets up almost all stains from the enamel.

            1. Oh I use oven cleaner on mine. But only when grease gets baked on.It cleans it up beautifully. Also no abrasiveness to scratch the enamel.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                So how do you do this, exactly? Apply the oven cleaner and put in oven at what temp, and for how long?

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I use the Easy Off spray after washing the pan. Just spray it on and let it stand over night. Dawn Power Dissolver is similar in a pump spray bottle and does a good job too. I use it on every thing but anodized pans like Calphalon or the LTD line of All Clad. It will ruini the surface, should not use it on aluminum either, it will pit it. But Baked on crud on glass or enamel cleans up beautifully.

                2. re: Candy

                  Take a look at the ingredient list in oven cleaner and then tell me that you still think this is a good idea. As far as I am aware you're putting your health at risk here. Oven cleaners were never meant to be used on food preparation surfaces. They are hazardous enough as it is, even when used as intended.

                  The majority of oven cleaners contain lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide), which is an extremely corrosive ingredient. Whether the cleaners are contained in aerosol spray form, liquid, paste or powder, lye can attack skin, eyes, or internal organs. Lye in aerosol form is especially hazardous because small droplets containing lye can drift and land on skin, eyes, and sensitive lung surfaces. Labels on most oven cleaners warn that the product can burn skin and eyes and that fumes and vapors should be avoided.

                  To clean enameled post and pans I soak mine, then clean with a mixture of water/vinegar, some dishwashing liquid and baking soda. Gets it nice and clean with no chemical residue to ingest at my next meal.

                  Take a look this fact sheet, explaining how to avoid chemicals in the kitchen.

                  1. re: andreas

                    Yeah but I wash it off and don't eat the oven cleaner. I'm just not paranoid about that stuff and my LC looks great.

                    1. re: Candy

                      I've been doing the same thing for more years than I care to remember, and I'm still here to tell the tale. Oven cleaner's great for removing all kinds of crud. A little common sense is all that's needed to eliminate any meaningful risk.

                      1. re: FlyFish

                        I am not trying to be contrary, but please trust me when I tell you that washing oven cleaner off food preparation utensils does not completely remove it. On a molecular level you will be exposing yourself to poisonous and cancerous substances, no matter how much you're rinsing the dish. Of course it is up to you to decide that this is a risk that a: doesn't bother you all that much and b: is worth taking as a air price for the convenience.

                        Please do keep in mind that damage from chemical exposure in the human body is accumulative, meaning that while it might not be a problem now it might certainly be an issue at a later stage in your life. Saying 'I am still around' ignores the possibility that as some stage in your life the chemical burden your cells are exposed to might just become too much for them to function properly.

                        I am not trying to scare you, or make your decisions for you (of course I respect your freedom to do as you wish) but others reading this board should have all the information they need to make their own informed decisions.

                        I also agree with toodie jane, washing lye down the drain means releasing yet another poisonous substance into the environment. Combined with the, well documented health risks, this is a price I am not willing to pay for a minor convenience.

                        1. re: andreas

                          Thank you for your concern. I agree that others should have the information to make informed decisions. I make my living doing human health and ecological risk assessments at hazardous waste sites for EPA, other government agencies, and private clients, so I have some knowledge of the toxicity of various chemicals and how to quantitatively evaluate the risk from exposure to them. With respect to oven cleaner, your information is simply incorrect.

                          The active ingredients in Easy-Off oven cleaner are butane, diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, monoethanolamine, and sodium hydroxide. None of these chemicals is carcinogenic or bioaccumulative. Yes, all are "poisonous" in sufficient amounts (as are many products and natural substances we come into contact with every day) but the non-technical term "poison" is typically reserved for materials that are acutely toxic in very small amounts and that is not the case for these chemicals.

                          I have no doubt that, on a "molecular level" as you say, there may be trace amounts of oven cleaner remaining after washing. I'm not particularly concerned about a few molecules of these chemicals, any more than I'm concerned about the few molecules of PCBs, dioxins, furans and the many, many other really nasty substances that atmospheric deposition leaves on my cookware and on my body every day. Exposure does not necessarily equate to risk, and even for carcinogenic substances where there is technically no "zero risk" amount, as a practical matter the risk becomes so low as to be insignificant in comparison to other risks. Rational risk management involves dealing with the large and easily controlled risks first, and the average person would reduce their total risk far more by, for example, driving five miles an hour slower on the highway than by avoiding using oven cleaner to clean their cookware from time to time.

                          With regard to environmental issues, it is hard to think of a substance that is less harmful in the environment than sodium hydroxide (lye). It rapidly dissociates into sodium ions and hydroxyl radicals, both of which are naturally abundant and harmless. Of course, if you dump a barrel of lye into the local frog pond that's a problem, at least short-term - but that's not what we're talking about.

                          1. re: FlyFish

                            I am not trying to question your authority ( and thank you for sharing your knowledge here) but my understanding has always been that monoethanolamine is of reproductive/developmental toxicity and should not be left on skin for any period of time. In tests exposing pregnant animals to monobutyl ether it was shown that the birth weight of the new born animals was reduced.

                            As I've said, we all must make our own decisions when it comes to chemical exposure and I appreciate the information you provided. For me this, however small, risk is still too much, especially given how easy it is to avoid.

                      2. re: Candy

                        A 5 # box of baking soda is so much cheaper and easier on the rest of the planet, plus it handles all kinds of kitchen cleaning jobs, not one.

                        You may wash it off, but it GOES somewhere.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Or what about Bon Ami? My personal fav. cleanser-- too abrasive for enamel?

                  2. I'm torn between the getting the 5.5 qt. or the 7.25 qt. I know the bigger one will be really heavy, but think that it might be more versatile, eg., for something like a pot roast, whole chicken, etc. Any thoughts?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: phoebek

                      I have a YELLOW 5 qt. oval. A nice chuck roast fits and braises beautifully in it. I haven't done a chicken in it, but I think it will fit nice and close as Molly likes. I think the oval shape helps.

                      1. re: phoebek

                        I have the 7.25 qt, and love it for whole chickens etc. It was such a revelation making chicken noodle soup, and being able to fit the chicken and the veggies and all the liquids in one pot w/o spilling. I did, however, just order the 5.5 qt thinking that not everything needs to be in a huge pot (just slightly smaller, lol.)

                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                          I was just thinking that I might have given the wrong impression. I don't think the 5 qt oval would make chicken soup. Too small. I think you could cook a chicken in it.

                          1. re: yayadave

                            I got a large one, sorry for not being able to be more specific in quarts. I figured I wanted something large enough to cook stews and oven-bake roasts etc. If I for some reason find the LC not working in cooking something I use some other pan. Happens rarely but works out fine.

                      2. You guys are going to hate my guts but I'm gonna brag here. I have about 25 assorted pieces of LC in great condition that I have collected from yard sales and thrift stores over the years. At the hospital thrift store a few weeks ago, I got a 7.5 dutch oven and talked the elderly sales lady down to $3 from $5. She said " Oh sure honey, why would anyone want that anyway, it's so heavy?"

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: missclaudy

                          Oh indeed, you are a dispicable person ;) *RLOL*. You had to get it down from 5 dollars to 3 just for the sake of argument huh lol?!?
                          Congrats on making some true bargains over the years :).
                          With the way mine are going I am sure they will last until eternity pretty much.

                          1. re: missclaudy

                            I am a bargain hunter too, so I will brag also!

                            I passed up a complete 8pc set of never used yellow Le Creuset at a garage sale because the price was too high $30 [money was real tight then].

                            But I have made up with tons of the stuff I have bought at thrift shops, and garage sales [usually less than $1 each].

                            I gave lots of Le Creuset & Descoware away to relatives, but kept the Copco and Cousances enameled cast iron for myself -- and I have a lot of it. I only have a few pieces of Le Creuset now: big 9qt dutch ovens, chicken fryers, baking pans, individual casseroles, wok, and pie pan shaped casseroles.

                          2. I second, you are dispecable. Taking advantage of a charitable org. Heh-heh I would have done the same. Ones garabage is anothers treasure.