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BarnacleBill's avatar

Soliciting opinions about cookware to be given as a gift.

Asked by BarnacleBill (16045 points ) November 27th, 2010

I would like to give four 20-somethings each a nice enamel clad cast iron pot, similar to the classic Le Creuset 5.5 quart round French oven. Because they are in their 20’s, living with roommates, just learning to cook, and I’m planning on purchasing four pans, I am not inclined to pay $220 apiece for the pans.

I’ve spent time reading reviews on Amazon, and have ruled out the Rachel Ray pans because of quality issues. That leaves me with a Lodge 6 quart enamel Dutch oven for $49, or the Paula Deen 5 quart enamel cast iron casserole for $89.

Does anyone have any experience with this cookware? My inclination is to go with the Lodge pan, because the company has been around forever, and the reviews are good. The only complaint seems to be that the inside bottom corner is rounded.

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16 Answers

josie's avatar

Le Creuset is the best brand by far.
But I agree it is too expensive for a beginner.
Any thing with a TV chef’s name on it is going to be priced at a premium. I would not bother.
That leaves Lodge, which as you have discovered is a reliable brand. The complaint about the corner is irrelevant.
I would be thrilled with the Lodge cookware.
I mean, not that I am the standard of excellence, but I am a pretty good cook. :)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I was going to suggest Le Creuset! My mom is an avid enthusiast but she shops for them in second hand shops or ebay.

Where I live is a Le Creuset outlet, have you shopped for a site near you?

gailcalled's avatar

The Le Creuset is attractive but weighs a bloody ton, and that’s before you put food into it. I really like the stainless steel All-Clad . I use a 6qt and 8qt stockpot on top of the stove for soups, stews, and chili.

My favorite, Dansk, is no longer made. It is sturdy, not too heavy and can be used in the oven.

Dansk Dutch ovens on eBay

I use Lodge iron frying pans and love them too. But the larger sizes are also very heavy.

I note that the Lodge Dutch oven that you are interested in weighs 16 lbs.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@Neizvestnaya, didn’t think about outlets. Actually, I see there is one near us, with a 25% off $100 or more sale through Christmas. It looks like the pan is $160 at the outlet, less 25%

@gailcalled, didn’t think about weight. I love All Clad and have two great stock pots.

gailcalled's avatar

@BarnacleBill: Sadly, the large Le Creusets are too heavy for me to haul in and out of the oven. And I think that cookware (and knives) are items that outlast us. Buy quality and then tell the recipients that the gift is for this and next Christmas (and possibly the one after that).

BarnacleBill's avatar

There is nothing quite like a good set of knives. I just had mine sharpened.

gailcalled's avatar

@BarnacleBill: Knives interest me. I have three (large chef’s, medium chef’s and paring) old carbon steel knives which I adore. Having sharpened them for 45 years, I notice that the metal is looking a bit thin. The new knives don’t thrill me. What brand do you use? They obviously can take an edge.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I have three 30 year-old Sabatier knives (large, medium, small chef’s), and an old Wusthof boning knife. I send them off and have them sharpened at a knife store; the edge is better than what I can do on my own.

MissAusten's avatar

I love knives. Heavy, balanced, quality knives that make you feel like a master chef just by holding them….sigh….

I have a dutch oven like this one by Calphalon. I use it at least a few times a week, for everything from cooking rice to baking bread. I’ve had it for about seven years, and the nonstick interior is starting to show wear. :( I’m going to have to replace it very soon, and will probably go with something a step or two up in quality. I love it very much, but I want the next one to last longer. In fact, I think I’m going to put the Lodge dutch oven on my Christmas list right now…

BarnacleBill's avatar

Oh! There’s some Le Creuset on shopgoodwill.com that’s in good shape.

Kardamom's avatar

I like Revere ware too. We have a set of pots and pans and a dutch oven that we’ve had for 30 years and they’re wonderful. They’re not as beautiful as the All Clad brand, but they look perfectly fine and they have some newer stuff called “hard anodized” that are pretty spiffy looking. We have the original copper bottom stainless steel kind. They may be a little less pricey, not sure, though because we haven’t needed to buy any for 30 years. Ha Ha. Here’s a link to Revere ware

You are very kind to be giving cookware to your young friends!

gailcalled's avatar

@Kardamom: Did and do you polish the copper bottoms?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Martha Stewart has a line of enameled cast iron cookware that seems to be decent and is more affordable than Le Creuset. My very particular mom is a chef and she has several Le Creuset pieces. She bought a MS Dutch oven, which is a sufficient enough endorsement for me, but I also know that she has used it lots and loves it.

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled No we never polished the bottoms, but I bet they would be very pretty if we did. We just use them like good old work horses.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@MissAnthrope, I looked at the MS ones, but the user reviews for both those and the Rachel Ray ones had a lot of complaints about the enamel chipping.

BarnacleBill's avatar

In case anyone is following this, I ended up buying two Lodge enamel dutch ovens from www.katom.com. Great price, cheap shipping, excellent communications. I bought a third one, slightly smaller, Cuisinart brand, at TJ Maxx.

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