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Mystery cazuela / is it safe to cook in?

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I picked up a small 10" red earthenware cazuela at the thrift store. It has a small imprinted mark that looks like IDG in an oval. I thought I could do a google search and come up with the brand or manufacturer, but no luck so far. i am not sure, with out being able to identify its maker, if it is safe to cook in, I am concerned about lead.
Does anyone have a Spanish or Mexican cazuela with this type of mark, or know where this might be made???
Thanks...Looking forward to cooking out of Paula Wofferts new book, lots of recipes using a cazuela!!!

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  1. Amazing coincidence. Over the weekend I pulled some Cazuelas off the shelf of our beach house -- old line family house, they must have been there for many years. They too had a round "IDG" symbol imprinted on bottom. Worried about lead, I bought a lead test kit (get one, any hardware store) and tested. No lead (but test yours to be sure and let me know if you get the same result).

    I cooked in them with good results (using Paula Wolfert's new book on Ceramic Pot cooking). I found your post after googling "IDG" to see if I could find out more about these. No luck!

    5 Replies
    1. re: bengoshi

      Well thanks for the tip about test kits, very good idea. I have been so interested in clay cookware, the whole slow cooking thing, it's great. I am amassing a collection of hand me down and thrift store clay items, and it would be smart to test any mystery pots, I hear even some of the new Italian pots can have too much lead.

      1. re: ciaolette

        No kidding? And here I was, after getting the new Wolfert book, so excited to "discover" a large, Italian (Vulcania brand) clay "skillet" (they really look like a cazuela with a fat, round handle) my sister gave me for Christmas a decade ago...I hadn't known what it was for, and why such things were special, then, and put it away.

        So, now I've gotten two more Italian pieces (Piral--deeply discounted "seconds" but beautiful, nevertheless)--a bean pot and a casserole--but now I'm worried that they may NOT have been such a great deal, after all.

        Anyone had experience with these two brands? Vulcania and Piral both are pretty famous and well-respected overseas, but I can't find much about them in ENGLISH, that I can actually read. :-)

          1. re: Gio

            Thanks for the link to the Vulcania! If Bram is carrying it, it's surely safe.

            You ran into the same problem I did with Piral: no OUTSIDE opinions, no reviews, no disinterested sources.

            Pooh. I wish I could read Italian.

            1. re: Beckyleach

              If you need a website or text translated.. try this site, it works fairly well:

              http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

    2. With red you also need to be concerned about cadmium in the glaze. Le Creuset still uses it in their red and orange colors but make their enamels in a special way as to not release it during use. I don't know how you can test for that, but it might be a concern.

      1 Reply
      1. re: blondelle

        As long as there is no red glaze on the inside of the vessel, you should be fine. As far as I can think, Le Creuset pieces are all white or buff inside.
        Yellow can also be a toxic color... though, really any color should be tested if you have suspicions. In general, ceramics that are fired to a lower temperature, (they 'thunk' rather than 'tink' when you tap them,) or with lots of crazing are riskier. Also, cooking acidic foods is more likely to leech out chemicals. Blah blah blah... basically the lead test kit is the way to go!