Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why I Can't Throw This Le Creuset Pot Away

I’ve been worrying about this pot. It has enamel issues. See — along the edge chunks of enamel have chipped away. And inside, years of cooking have worn the white enamel so thin, a powder of iron seeps through with every wash. Was it even safe to cook with? And also, I’d been wanting a bigger pan. Batch browning chunks of meat is tiresome.

So I went to Sur La Table, just to look, you understand, and while I was just looking, discovered that the Lamborghini of a casserole I’ve been lusting after for a year was on sale. Sale. This thing never went on sale.

Dear reader, I bought it. And in glee, I put my faithful pot on the floor, near the trash, thinking I’d never look back.

Two months later, it’s still on the floor.

Why? Well…

It’s been with me my whole adult life.

I bought it when I couldn’t really afford to buy anything (publishing doesn’t pay). There was this Bloomingdale’s ad in the NYT: Sale, Le Creuset casserole, $30 (slate blue only). $30. I rushed to Bloomingdale’s, nabbed the very last pot, lugged the obscenely heavy box onto the uptown bus and wondered how I was going to drag the thing up four flights of stairs. Does passion confer inordinate strength? It does.

My very first “kitchen” was really just an extension of the tiny living room: sink, toy stove, refrigerator jammed between the bathroom and front door. But I was serious about cooking and the pot seemed to respect that. We got to work.
The pot and I worked our way through Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating. And then we tackled Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. No recipe, no cookbook was too daunting as long as I had the pot. Cassoulets, risottos, tagines, sauerbratens, fried chickens, kimchee jjigaes, fondues, shabu shabu, Dutch baby pancakes…we ate well.

Hard-working, low maintenance, reliable, easy-to-clean. The “just the facts, ma’am” of kitchen appliances. It’s never thrown even one prima-donna fit.

Probably responsible for 50% of my marital happiness.

But something more: I think I can’t throw this pot away because this slate blue pot is home. My life has been oddly peripatetic and I’ve had to cook in many foreign, unwelcoming kitchens. If the pot goes, where is home?

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