In Craig Kanarick’s Cutting-Edge Kitchen, a Dutch Oven Prevails

Unlike other parts of his kitchen, the wedding gift has never failed Kanarick, the C.E.O. of an online food marketplace.

Comments: 34

  1. I couldn't agree more…mine sits on top of the stove begging to go to work…
    Love my pot...

  2. My 7qt round Le Cruset in Sonoma blue is probably my favorite piece. My lamb rendang, braised for 4 hours then nearly fried at the end stage would most likely not be possible with an inferior instrument, and I wouldn't want to try! Though grilling is my first love, my most impressive dishes have come out of that pot. Worth every penny of the $279 price tag.

  3. We have two sitting on our stove at all times; a 3.5 qt and a 6 qt. They are the only pots we every use. And a dutch oven is our "go to" birthday or wedding gift for everyone who hasn't already discovered this kitchen marvel!

  4. Over 40 YAG I bought many pieces of Le Creuset when it was very inexpensive. One of my favorite - in appearance - at least is a very large Doufeau Oven which is oblong and it's lid is indented with dimples so you can put ice in it to condense any steam vapor.
    I also bought several pieces of solid copper pots/pans and they are lined with silver - the French brand starts with a C.
    Finally there is also a 100+ YO duck press which is unfortunately US made - prefer goose but intend to use it someday.

  5. Butch B: I'm guessing that your copper pots are lined with tin, not silver; silver is reactive. I would also think that by now you'd have had to get them retinned, if you used them as much as the enameled cast iron Le Creuset.

    More to the point: I too bought Le Creuset--a set of large and small Dutch ovens, large and small skillets, and a covered 1.5 quart saucepan--in the early 1970s. The Dutch ovens have been in constant use, to the point that their inner enamel is quite thin. The other pieces, not so much used. Maybe I'll use them more now--they're cast iron, after all, and less fiddly to care for than Lodge.

    And btw: Do NOT believe anyone who says cracked LeC must be tossed. A large oval Dutch oven cracked up the side when dropped some years ago. It still works just fine, no leakage, no contamination.

  6. I have a lot of copper cookware and the linings are tin, silver or stainless steel. Yes, the tin wears down. The large silver lined pan scratches easily but is gloriously beautiful. Many are lined with stainless steel and it is much easier to care for. Luckily I started collecting copper when it was still affordable. It is lovely to cook with and hard to beat for presentation.

    The Le Creuset pieces I own are used constantly. I have three different sizes of 2-in-1 pans and love them for their versatility. I don't think they get enough love. Use as a regular pot and the lid can be turned over for a quick saute. Charles MD identifies a Lodge set of the same design. The smaller sizes work for me but I would love to have a large Dutch oven.

    Bruce, pull out that duck press. I wanted one for years just because they are so great looking. I finally found a lovely nickel plated one and it's a great hit at dinner parties.

    Remember: Great kitchen equipment is like exercise equipment. Just owning it is enough.

  7. My forest green 7-quart Le Creuset dutch over is my go to piece, even though I own a lodge cast iron one. Also, I bought about 20 pieces of Copco's enamel-coated cast iron cookware back in the '80s when they were still available, and they are going strong. However, my most-used pot is my 20-year-old 10-inch lodge cast iron skillet. Nothing like cooking in cast iron (unless you are making anything that requires quick temperature changes)

  8. "Slits in the countertop for knives have proved tricky to clean."

    A magnetic knife holder is easy to clean and your knives are always right there. Plus you don't have to guess which handle matches which knife. Get one with the magnets set into wood and its gentle on the blade.

  9. In this day and age when nearly everything has an expiration date, my little orange 5 quart workhorse just keeps going strong.

  10. Watch Jim Lahey make no knead bread with one and you'll be very glad to get started baking.

  11. My 25 year old daughter has been outfitting her first kitchen. She has almost everything she needs, except for a mid-sized Dutch oven. We've toyed with a lower priced substitute, but after reading this article (and based upon my own experience) I think it's worth the trip to the local outlet mall to purchase a Le Creuset. For some kitchen tools, there really is no substitute!

  12. Maybe, but this is not one of them. The Chinese made enameled dutch ovens, such as the Lodge (Lodge's raw cast iron is US made but the enameled stuff is imported from China) or Tramontina are almost as good as the French stuff for maybe 1/4 of the price.

  13. This is true, but not at the outlet stores, which is why it's worth the trip. I have a cast iron Dutch oven and use it a lot, but find the Le Creuset works better. And yes, I also bought mine at 1/4 its normal price at a close out sale.

  14. Agreed; the Tramontina (available at WalMart) is basically the same as a Le Creuset Dutch oven, except that it only costs about $60.

  15. I have the little red heart, the oval white and the medium sized round pot in blue along with pots and saute pans two of which are lids for the pots. I lost my first ones in the Malibu fire in 1993 but I went right out and bought more. You can't cook without them.

  16. Sunken oil and vinegar bins? Have no idea what these are but they sound like a sticky rancid mess.

    Unless you are cooking for an army, a 13 quart cast iron dutch oven is a giant monstrosity.

    If Mr. Kanarick really wants to keep up with the latest trends, he should ditch that gas stove and get an induction cooktop.

  17. You can see the oil and vinegar bins in the photo, to the right of the stove. It's just a depressed cavity in which to keep the bottles close at hand without creating visual clutter or obstructing the outlet that is just above them. I don't see why it would get "sticky" or "rancid" any more than any other place that you keep bottles of oil and vinegar would.

  18. No matter how scary and black the Le Creuset gets inside from baking something (slow-cooked pork, batch of beans), it cleans up so easily and quickly that you realize you never need another piece of cookware. Ever.

  19. My mother in law gave me a set of Creuset as a wedding gift in orange back in 1978. She, incidentally, was a NYT cookbook writer and restaurant reviewer as well. Her kitchen was well equipped and her dutch ovens always sat on the stove.
    I've purchased other pieces, but the 2 big dutch ovens are my go-to dinner makers more than anything else I own.

  20. I always wanted a giant Creuset...I found the 9-quart size wanting, when feeding a really big crowd. I yearned for one but couldn't afford it...and I yearned for it for years. Imagine my surprise when one wintery day, I found one plunked by itself on a snow-bank, perched beside some bags of garbage, a glorious huge 13-quart Dutch oven...It had about 1/4" of char on the bottom and up the sides, badly burned, but I lugged it home and spent the next week soaking it, simmering water in it, scraping away at the mess. Readers, it was restored. The char and shine were gone, but the pot remained. I now have the giant Dutch oven...can barely lift the thing when it's loaded, but it makes the best Boeuf Bourgignon for a crowd....

  21. A 13 1/4 qt. cast iron dutch oven?! I hope one of the things on his list of "things I can't live without" is an assistant to help him take it out of the oven! If it weighs as much as a 2 year old empty, it must require a forklift to move it with food in it! I love my LeCrueset 4 qt, dutch oven that I got for $6 at a garage sale about 25 years ago, blissfully unaware of how much they go for retail. Naturally, it's still going strong. But I've got a number of Lodge cast iron pieces that perform as well and cost a fraction of the LC. Not as pretty, of course. But the advantage of the enameled cookware is that the material is non-reactive, so things with tomatoes, vinegar, wine, don't pick up off flavors as they do with plain cast iron.

  22. It's all I've ever used when entertaining, or preparing meals for the week. I've had my Le Creuset for twenty years and when it comes to feeding the masses there is nothing easier. No rushing around the kitchen at the last minute, you're relaxed and able to enjoy your guests. And they love what you cooked for them.

  23. Look up Lodge LCC3 . It is a Dutch oven double fry pan combo. The MOST versatile implement I own. At 10" diameter and 4.5 inches high, it fits in even countertop ovens, and no topknot to catch on the door. Buy two, or more.

  24. I have three sizes of these Le Creuset ovens and they truly are the best investment you can make for the kitchen -they will last forever and everything you cook in them seems to turn out delicious!

  25. More than 30 years ago, we received a flame orange 6-qt Le Creuset Dutch oven as a wedding gift from a dear friend. Having come from India and having been in the US only a little more than a year, we were mortified at the 110 dollar price (we were taken to the store and told to pick between the orange and the blue) and we protested mightily. Our friend Mary said, "This will be your go-to pot all your life and you can pass it on to your kids", and, she was right. Love, love, love that piece of iron. The loving holder of many a lamb biriyani, beef stew, huge big batches of cholé...the only pot that actually comes as is to the serving table during Thanksgiving. My only regret is that I have two daughters and only one old, much-used-and-loved large LC pot.

  26. I've known Craig along time and usually plain and simple are not his ways - except when it comes to food. You can see nothing stands in the way of his good taste!

  27. I have the large Le Creuset Dutch Oven (also flame orange) and the three quart. I use the three quart 10 times more than the large oven. The three quart is perfect for making 1/2 to 1 cup of rice. I probably use the large oven a few times a year, mostly in the winter when I'm inclined to make stews.

  28. I think Craig has it nailed! As another 'Craig,' my Cobalt Blue La Creuset arrived in the 70s, remains one of the few possessions that I truly treasure, and I use it often. At >40 years of age, does it have a few chips or dings? Of course it does. So what? I use it to cook for one or two servings, perhaps more of some things for the freezer and it is an easy choice for a braising something for a larger gathering. Place it in a slow oven and *forgetaboutit* until meal time!
    Others have complained that the coating have become too light over the years. I don't know, as I've never used a new one, (but probably true). I love mine and I think I'd give up my knives before I parted with this pot.
    (You've offered a lot of words for a short promo for Craig and the Le Creuset brand, but I think both are warranted.) -another Craig

  29. America's Test Kitchen did a review of Dutch Oven's that is worth looking into, not all ovens are created equal. I am keen on Staub and use a Cocotte quite a bit during the fall and winter but now that I know more about this then I did some years ago, I would choose an oval shape, around 7-8qt. A wonderful accompaniment is the book: All About Braising by Molly Stevens. Either or both make wonderful gifts for newlyweds, especially if they like to cook.

  30. Oh, my LC dutch oven! Got it as a wedding gift, love it to pieces. My two year old calls it 'the blue pot' and asks if we can cook in it together!

  31. @Sarah M: I've got my mother's "E" size LC flame colored dutch oven which she bought as part of a set of 5 pcs in the mid-60's for about 60-75 dollars. I still use it, and it is the absolute best for stews, rags and all braises. PS: I am 74 yrs old and probably will be buried in it!

  32. My first Le Creuset was picked up at a garage sale. Orange, oval and stained it is still my go-to LC. I purchased the largest size about 20 years ago. It fell off a shelf and broke! Yes, event though it landed on carpeting. LC said it would replace free of pay the postage. Received the new one only wrong size, right color. Instead of returning the wrong size, they sent me the correct size in the wrong color. So now I have three plus two other garage sale finds. It never ends with good equipment.

  33. While attempting to streamline and organize my kitchen, I realize that what I use most are the inherited cast iron skillets (well over 100 years old now), my badly stained Le Creuset dutch oven, box cheese grater and glass pyrex measuring cups. Goodwill got a lot of plastic kitchen stuff, teflon frying pans, and stuff bought on impulse and used only once.

  34. If you want to save a bundle of money get the dutch oven by Tramontina. I'm sure its not as nice as the Le Creuset. But much cheaper...