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How much Le Creuset does a person really need?

Every time a new color comes out, people hit the roof with excitement. I always see comments like "add to my collection".

Exactly how many pieces of this stuff do you own?

Do you find yourself buying things that sit on a shelf and don't get used?

When is enough, enough?

I like to cook, but I struggle with why I would need multiple pieces of the stuff.

The cynic in me thinks Le Creuset cycles all these colors just to put P.T. Barnum's infamous quote to the test.

Please sell me on why I should join the "Oh my God, a new color!" club.

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  1. How much LC does a person need? Short answer is none. Long answer is as much as they want and can afford. LC isn't always about need. It's about want and lust. It's about buying something that makes you happy that you have it. That's worth the price of admission alone!

    1 Reply
    1. re: blondelle

      I have 3 French ovens in different sizes and use them constantly. They are all blue and bought at the outlet for cheap

      Love love love love it.

      My mom still has LC she got as a wedding gift in 1956.

    2. Let's just say the Le Creuset Color trend is more than just cookware. It is fashion, but then many cookware to some extend has fashion to them. Le Creuset simply took it to a completely different level.

      1. NJC: We shall be drawn and quartered (or shunned) together, but here are my answers:

        # of pieces: 12, if you count the combi-pan my S-I-L borrowed 10 years ago.

        Not being used: I regularly use only one (5.5 DO); I occasionally use 2 more (Larger DO, roasting pan). I rarely use 4 (2 'saucepans", pate terrine & fondue), and never use the rest (mostly skillets). If I already had the replacements in a better material in all my houses, I would use none at all.

        When is enough? Before I started cooking a lot/thoughtfully/with guidance, I thought "never". Now I wish I had only bought the 5.5 DO and maybe the roaster--the long green I spent could have completely outfitted my kitchen in premium vintage copper. So now I'd say: "only once".

        Why multiple pieces? Well, if you drink the Kool-Aid about LC ECI, and you want all your pots and pans to be LC, you just sleepwalk your way into a whole battery. I did.

        Colors: Some folks really do like to decorate around their cookware. LC makes it easy for them to replace perfectly serviceable vessels with what "matches". Others like to collect all the colors (perhaps like upscale BeanyBabies?). Still others like to be seen with the latest "limited/early release" colors for status. I've yet to run across one yet, but I'm sure there are also souls who "pair" colors with certain foods/cuisines. My LC's all the older cobalt blue, so I never was tempted by another color. If I had it to do over, I'd get black, I think, but NOT doing it again.

        Your cynicism is well-founded, IMO. Now prepare to be punished as a heretic. Mine is the road of apostasy.

        7 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                K- so funny you should say this. I own a 5.5 oval Staub (and I am so NOT trying to rekindle that discussion), and find it very utilitarian. It does everything I need and want. It's the perfect size.

                I've had occasion to buy other pieces of smaller and larger sizes at very good prices, but it just seemed like a waste of money to me.

                But now that I've read through this thread, I have a little more insight.

                Glad I inquired!

              2. To answer your questions,

                How much Le Creuset does a person really need? ZERO
                Exactly how many pieces of this stuff do you own? ZERO
                Do you find yourself buying things that sit on a shelf and don't get used? YES, SOMETIMES. HOPEFULLY NOT OFTEN. IF THE STUFF SITS ON THE SHELF TOO LONG, I SELL IT ON EBAY.

                I would really love to have a 5-7 qt. round Dutch Oven, though. Any color will do. But I haven't gotten one yet. I think it would be great for stews and soups and dishes that I can start on the stove top and finish in the oven. I cook steak that way in my cast iron skillet.

                The world, especially the 21st century American world is full of material goods that we don't need. I don't need the high end laptop I'm typing on. A cheaper computer would do. I don't need the big screen plasma TV across the room. I don't need the designer eyeglasses I'm wearing. Cheaper ones would do. It goes on.

                With regard to Le Creuset, people buy them for all sorts of reasons besides to get a pot to put a chicken in. They appreciate the design and craftsmanship. They like the tradition. And, yes, many people like the ever-changing colors and the ability to build collections, get a single piece or mix and match colors. It's part utility, part art, and part entertainment. Some people might buy pieces just to display for decoration.

                Oh, and I will not sell you on why you should join the "OMG a new color club!" Obviously, you have no interest in joining. it's not your thing. But you don't have to be hostile toward people with different tastes.

                10 Replies
                1. re: taos

                  I don't think NotJuliaChild meant to be hostile, but I think I know where you coming from and where NotJuliaChild coming from. What you are trying to say in the simplest sense is: "it is their money and it is their right to buy what they like and please them"

                  I had a friend in graduate school. When we went out for dinner, he always get very upset that people in other tables do not finish their foods. I always told him that it is their choice but he would always say it is irresponsible to order more foods than one can finish and it is especially irresponsible when there are hungry people. He would often then walk up and talk to these people and asked them if he can take their leftover food and give them to homeless people. I of course get embarassed about it.

                  I still feel weird about it but I never think he was trying to be hostile.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Wow. Your friend is passive aggressive....not hostile.
                    I didn't perceive NotJuliaChild as being hostile, just a bit passive aggressive as well. I don't know why the OP would care if strangers use all their LC cookware or not. I am not sure how it informs or adds to this community- but........ "asked and answered". Maybe the OP will elaborate on the meaning of the post.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      I am not sure if he is passive aggressive because he really took the leftover foods and then really give them to homeless, so I think he really believed every words he said since he really carried the actions. In addition, his face always turned red and his speech went faster and faster.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        Someone mentioned decorating around the colors in the kitchen.

                        This never occurred to me.

                        This is what I hoped to bring into the open when I posted.

                        With this thread, men everywhere will have one of life's mysteries solved. And they won't have to run the risk of looking like an arse by asking themselves, because I've done them the favor of throwing myself into the fire.

                        Yer all welcome.

                        1. re: NotJuliaChild

                          It is always nice to have burning questions answered!

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I had to smile about your friends worry about food wasted. I wish I had a nickel for everytime my mother would tell me to finish the food on my plate because of the starving children in Africa. I failed to see how me eating all my dinner, including the stuff I didn't like, would help those hungry children. I wanted to tell her that I would gladly give my food to them, if I could. ( I didn't because she would have seen that as talking back to her)
                        Did your friend really take the leftovers to the homeless people?
                        Anyway, I stil feel that way. Those folks not eating all there food would do the homeless no good unless someone did take the leftovers to them. And then those folks leaving food on their plate would be a good thing.

                        As for LC collections. I think for many that is just what it is. A collection that happens to be useful if they wanted to use any of it. If not, it is certainly useful as decorations.
                        I love things that are multi purpose. That is why I chose the LC over any other enameld cast iron. I thought the colors and the style of the cookware to be beutiful. And I could use it. Sure I could have baught pletny of very nice ECI that was a lot cheaper, but I just didn't find them nearly as pretty. So far I only have a dutch oven and a mini cocotte. I am using them both and will continue to do so. Another mini cocotte and maybe a smaller DO may be in my future, but don't know about any of the others. I have no interest in the skillets as if I am going to fry anything, I prefer the bare cast iron. Bare cast iron is so much easier to use and care for. Hard to permantly damage bare cast iron. Short of breaking it or warping it, that is.

                        If I had a large kitchen and lots of money, I might would buy more LC to set on open shelves. They are so very pretty. But, my house is small as is my income and any extra money I have to blow, I usually blow it on my horses and my grandkids.
                        But, I do love the LC. I don't know if they really are the best cookware, but to me they are the prettiest and seem to be made very well.

                        But for those of you that collect them, I say go for it and enjoy. After all, some women want shoes and purses to match every outfit and occasion and some want cookware to match every dish and occasion.:o)

                      3. re: taos

                        I wasn't trying to be hostile or passively aggressive. I'm just trying to understand the impetus behind something because, on its face, it isn't obvious to me.

                        1. re: NotJuliaChild

                          NJC: No one accused you of being P-A; I think they meant Chem's grad school friend. Perhaps taos thinks you were hostile, but don't apologize for asking impolitic questions.

                          Ever have trouble sleeping? Try reading the thread "LC vs Staub" and its 450+ entries.

                          Re: the 5.5Q, there is something about this size that hits a sweetspot with the way and things I cook (and what I cook them on). Now if I could only find a >3mm copper marmite in this size or a #10 DO.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            I thought the original post sounded a little passive aggressive. Just because of the wording. Not now though. It is always hard to tell for sure in a forum, so you need to ask before jumping to conclusions. Now it sounds like the OP just wanted to know what the fuss was about.

                          2. re: NotJuliaChild

                            Maybe you weren't. You were definitely being sarcastic. In any case, after 28 replies, you should now understand the appeal in collecting colors of Le Creuset for some people even if you don't agree with it or if it's not something you want to do.

                        2. I don't go gonzo over new colors... I think they're often pretty, but I made my bed for red a long time ago and keep on trucking with it. As for enough being enough - well, that's relative. I think a person can get along swimmingly with maybe 1 piece. I'd say a good size round (maybe 7.5 or 9 quarts) or a big oval (9.5 perhaps) would be plenty for many people.

                          That being said, I do own 31 pieces in cherry red, one in flame orange, and one in jade green. (Those last two are the fabled peppers that sell for obscene amounts on ebay today. I bought mine at the outlet a few years ago for about $45 each).

                          Of those 33 pieces, I've only not used two - the 2.25 qt saucier and the terrine, which I just recently bought.

                          And, truly, what blondelle said about want and lust is very true. I mean, some people drink. Some buy expensive clothes. Others buy obscene amounts of expensive cookware. I fall in that camp and am pretty happy with my choice.

                          1. I inherited a huge "set" and I bought a huge "set" ( many skillets/lids, fry pans and lids, ECI and non stick, multiple sizes of dutch ovens). About 30 pieces in all. They are a bit "retro-cool" in turquoise and dark brown...they go together nicely. Admittedly, I have double what I need for daily use but I am not giving anything up......because I have 2 girls that like to cook. They will be happy to inherit a set each. I will not buy any more and don't really go for the crazy new color thing.

                            1. I'm in the you don't NEED any, however a few pieces are nice. Mom was a great cook and never owned a piece in her life. We went years without any. I must say, once you find out how versital they can be, you wonder how you got by all those years without one. We've got 4 pieces of ECI nun are LC, but are the other French brand. It's just what was available and on sale at the time and I couldn't find a sound reason to spend more on LC. There is a 2.5 qt. DO, a 5 qt. DO (that gets the most use), an 8.8 qt. DO, and a 2.5 qt. braiser (that's become my favorite).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: mikie

                                I have two larger Le Creuset ovens for weekend bulk cooking and two smaller Lodge enameled pieces, a small dutch oven and a braiser or casserole as Lodge refers to it.

                                A primary consideration for color choice for me is that they pots are different colors. As the only ocd level cook in my house, I can ask other family members who are helping me get meals on the table, "can you hand me the red dutch oven". This works much better than my other pots and pans, "can you handle me the 4 qt caphalon sauce pan?" invokes a level of anxiety that is better addressed by color coding my eci.

                                1. re: mikie

                                  mikie: I'm not being snarky here, just ignorant. What's the diff betwxt the 2.5 DO and the 2.5 braiser?

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Not mikie but I'm guessing that the DO is taller with a smaller diameter and the braiser a larger diameter that is more squat. That's how my LC EO and braiser are anyway.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      olympia nailed it. The 2.5 braiser is about 9 and a half inches across but rather short, this works very well for braises where there is not a lot of liquid, I used it for bothe the Tuscan Salmon and Chicken Florentine that I made last week. The salmon only had a cup or so of lemon juice, the chicken had a pint and a half of red gravy.

                                      The other difference with the Staub brand is the braiser has a hexigon pattern on the inside bottom to help prevent sticking, doesn't seem to have any adverse effect on browning.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        mikie: OK, thanks. It's what I call a rondeau, makes sense.

                                  2. You join the "OMG, a new colour club" only if you like the new colour or are an LC fanatic. I collect Fiesta and other colourware. We all go gaga over new colours. And as I have dishes in all different colours, my LC/Staub collection reflects that. I have about a dozen pieces of ECI, more Staub than LC, but I like them both. I don't get new colours just because they come out, but none of my colours are duplicated. I am thinking of a piece of the Caribbean Blue because I like the colour. But I haven't decided what piece I don't have and will use the most. Do I need it? No, not really. But I would like to have it.

                                    I have two pieces that don't get used very often: LC pizza tray and Staub mussel pot. The pizza tray was a gift, but I keep a stone in my oven all the time and don't think about getting out the LC. As for the mussel pot, well we just don't eat mussels very often. But when we do, that pot is perfect. :-)

                                    1. Saying "OMG, a new color!" and brag about it does not mean that the people ttalked about the color always add the new color. "I want to add this color to my collection" does not necessarily mean " I will add this new color by paying a premium right now". It could just simply mean, I will add this to my wish list for X'mas. My pieces are all in different colors. I just picked up best one on sale.

                                      I personally need multiple pieces because my applications are different. Different ingrediences, different number of people I am cooking for. I have no rice cooker and have 2.0qt LC instead. I know I can use SS sauce pan for rice/grains but the result is totally different to me. Some people use a stock pot as DO. If those substitutions are OK , Zero DO is necessary.

                                      1. I have a Le Creuset saucier, dutch oven and small oval cassoulet for gratins. I like that they can go from stove top to oven to broiler . . .They are also dishwasher safe.

                                        Pieces you need/want depend on your lifestyle, what you cook.

                                        If you choose to store them in a drawer or closet color doesn't really matter . . .

                                        Suggest you buy during a sale or better yet at a Le Creuset outlet store. They should last a lifetime or two and can be re-enameled.

                                        I am not a big believer in "sets" of any cookware brand.

                                        Happy cooking!

                                        1. I own two: a 7.25 qt. DO that's at least 30 years old, and a frying pan my husband bought and which neither of us particularly like. I also have a Martha Stewart 5 qt. that was a gift, and a Kitchenaid 3.25 qt. that I bought recently on clearance at TJ Maxx.

                                          I definitely understand the cookware as kitchen decor motivation. I love my original 7.25 qt., in part because it's a bright, clear red, a color evidently not made any more. But IMO 1) LC is ridiculously overpriced, and 2) the other brands are equally attractive. I bought a bright red, apple-shaped probably 2 qt. pot for $20 in one of the TJX stores and it's gorgeous sitting on a shelf.

                                          My only final comment in favor of LC, though, is that it's lighter. My 7.25 LC is the same weight or perhaps lighter than the Martha Stewart 5 qt.; my Chinese-made ECI all have thicker walls than my old LC. So for the bigger sizes, or if you're not muscle bound, that may be one reason to consider the LC.

                                          1. It begins with a single gift or purchase. Then it takes over as I have 26 different ones. Some are no longer being made, which makes them extra special.

                                            1. I received a 7 qt Dutch (blue) oven last Christmas. Used it constantly for months. Then I saw a 5.5 wide Dutch Oven on sale at Sur La Table (different color). Bought it and have been using it constantly for the last couple of months. There is a Sur La Table opening next month within an hour from me. I'm weak.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. yes, people do that, including me :)

                                                1. I have a LC 5.5 (?) Dutch Oven that I use weekly, if not daily.
                                                  One of my favorite pieces in the kitchen.

                                                  Other than a good deep stock pot (All Clad) and a heavy cast iron skillet (9" Lodge) , I find I don't need much. Just a good sharp knife and herbs grown in pots.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                    Funny this thread popped up again as I was just thinking about how I will be near a Williams Sonoma tonight and was considering a bit of window shopping.

                                                    We are planning a kitchen remodel that will have open shelving and I was thinking about replacing many of the old anodized alum stuff with prettier versions that can go in the dishwasher.

                                                    Le Creuset is the type of product that my husband cannot know I am interested in because he would go bonkers buying it for me.

                                                    I currently have a 5.5 French/dutch oven and haven't wanted for more yet aside from the feeling I want nicer pots to look at on the open shelving.

                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                      Hi, Cleo:

                                                      I'd urge you to reconsider much open shelving. I've tried it, and it wasn't worth it, except for pot racks.

                                                      As a set for a TV cooking show and in showrooms, it looks great. In a busy home kitchen, though, it's easy to look cluttered. It brings added cleaning and usually requires even more storage space elsewhere for the items you don't want to display. This disorganizes your kitchen, IMO.

                                                      What I might recommend, though, is putting glass doors and inside lighting into a few cabinets.

                                                      For your pots, what about a stand like this: http://cdn.opentip.com/Home-Kitchen/O... ? There's less drop hazard with heavy ECI pans, too.


                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        I'm in 100% agreement with Kaleo here. We redid our kitchen and the cabinets were installed prior to the doos being finished. We loaded the cabinets anyway and what we found was that before we got the doors, everthing including the dishes were covered with dust. It all had to come out and be cleaned before it could be used. A few glass doors are ideal. Here's a picture of our cabinets with glass and lighting as Kaleo suggests.

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                          Well, it is for our weekend house. We cannot expand the footprint of the house and the architect managed to meet all my needs with this design. I keep the absolute bare essentials there, truly only what I need.

                                                          I like that shelf but my husband hates "extras" that take up floor space so that won't work.

                                                          I lived with open shelving in Europe so I am ok with the style and the neatness required for the "look"

                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                            Hi, Cleo:

                                                            Great, you've lived with it, so you know what you're getting into, 'nuff said.