When we got married, thirty-odd years ago, one of the vets I worked for at the time gave us a large Le Creuset casserole dish. I had never seen one before. It was orange, and very, very heavy. I’ve learned since that at one time they only came in this orange colour, which they call ‘volcano’. And also that it was heavy because it was made of cast iron.
We still have that casserole. It’s done it’s fair share of cooking family dinners over the years, everything from macaroni cheese, to casseroles with dumplings, and it’s got a few chips and dings, and the enamel is slightly crazed, but you see, that’s one of the good things about cast iron: if you expose the metal, it’s actually good for you, because it slightly increases the iron content of your food. No worries there.
Anyway. For years and years (and years) we couldn’t afford Le Creuset cookware, so I loved that casserole. The Pyrex dishes we were given for wedding gifts are almost all of them gone, smashed to pieces or chipped or scratched too badly to use. And saucepans? OK, let’s talk about saucepans. Our original (second-hand) saucepans have been replaced many times over, going from new, thin, aluminium or enamelled pans, through Pyrex glass (never again!) to heavy duty aluminium and, with the advent of our induction hob, to stainless steel (you can’t cook with aluminium or glass on induction hobs, because the heat is induced in the saucepan itself by the use of magnets).
I love stainless steel saucepans, but the first ones we bought turned out to have un-coated aluminium sandwich bases which eroded to a knife edge in the dishwasher, and after cutting my hands one time too many on the damn things, we replaced them with better pans. The new ones were solid, with completely enclosed bases, but (bizarrely) aluminium alloy rivets, which were also eroding in the dishwasher. So the time came last week to think about replacing these ones, too, before the handles fell off when I was carrying something hot and heavy.
We bit the bullet and went to the newly opened Le Creuset store in the city.
There we found our new set of saucepans on the ‘sale’ stand, looking a little lost, with their ticket marked down from Â£204 to Â£153. What was wrong with them, you ask? Well, it was terrible! They were the old pattern and hadn’t got the magic words ‘Le Creuset’ stamped into the supporting grip opposite the handle. Oh no!! How could anyone possibly live with such defective pans?
I decided I could, and grabbed them, quickly, before someone else walked in and decided that they could live with them, too.
And then, on the same table, I spotted this beautiful blue skillet – the subject of my Macro Monday puzzle for this week.
I’d been thinking about buying one of these corrugated skillets for some time, because you use a lot less fat this way, but well, I just didn’t feel justified in lashing out on one. However, when you’re faced with a Le Creuset piece in such a gorgeous colour, just begging to be rescued from its ignominious position on the Table of Shame … well, I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog, especially when said underdog comes at such a knock-down price.
Yep, believe it or not, the price of my skillet was reduced from Â£65 to Â£45 because of that one, small dimple – which was completely coated in the requisite amount of satin black enamel, by the way. If you look very, very carefully at that picture, you may just be able to spot it by one of the pouring lips. If not, enlarge it by clicking once here, and then again on the next page.
There were also the most gorgeous kettles reduced by 50% simply because they’d been packed into boxes with the wrong picture on them. So, I say to you, dear readers, if you hanker after a piece of this legendary cookware, there may never be a better time to run off to your nearest store and get it. Always providing, of course, that you live in the UK, and you can get there in time.
I can’t see this stuff hanging around too long, even if it is still quite expensive after the heavy price cuts. I mean, look – the saucepans can even do tricks with their lids!