4 Oct 2009

An Old Faithful Kitchen Companion

Ninety per cent of my oven recipes involve an old faithful and versatile friend, and if I was allowed to take only one piece of kitchenware to cookery heaven, this would be the one!

First and as odd as it may seem, I have an emotional patriotic attachment to the piece: it was manufactured in the small French town of Fresnoy-le-Grand, a mere 10 miles down the road from where I was born and raised, in one of Picardie’s remaining bastions of manufacturing, an area traditionally associated with textile, metal work and foundries.

The item in question is a square Le Creuset stoneware baking dish which I purchased over 10 years ago. Its sturdiness makes it reassuringly foolproof; its timeless line gives it instant appeal, seamlessly gliding from oven shelf to table top without spoiling your table decoration efforts! Meanwhile its smooth, fluted-less design makes it a pleasure to serve from without bits of stubborn crust lodged in, and is therefore a pleasure to clean, unlike the old uncoated tin dishes and moulds.

My scrumptious Strawberry Summer Flan, baked in my Le Creuset dish!

To be honest, due to the fact that old tin dishes don’t age so well (with some leaving a funny metallic after-taste), and the difficulty to scrub them clean, such old-fashioned apparatus have no room in the modern kitchen. Yet bear in mind that it might not be easy to convince your mum or grandma to part with their old crinklies as those may be considered as some sort of family heirlooms!

In these days of global consumerism, Le Creuset stoneware may sadly be no longer manufactured in France, bar for the iconic cocottes (enamelled cast-iron casseroles). Regardless of this fact, by purchasing a Le Creuset item from the extensive product range, an item in keeping with your lifestyle and cooking aspirations, you will be taking home a secure investment that will defy whimsical fashion and the unkindness of time. I bet my bottom dollar that it will be passed down onto the next generation as the true timeless quality heirloom that it stands for. And in the meantime, enjoy it and happy cooking!

Do you have an old faithful kitchen companion? Please let me know!

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