Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review: Le Creuset Cookware

Okay, okay, everyone's been asking re: all the posts about the crap in cookware, which one is okay? We were so sad to retire our wedding Calphalon cookware because (1) nonstick surface and (2) aluminum.

Even too much iron is not good for you, so cast iron is not our everyday cookware, either.

We mostly were using Visions glass cookware, something that's been discontinued (and they can explode if the temperature change is too abrupt--eeek!), and that's what I use exclusively for our rice because I can see how it's doing (no more automatic rice cooker--sigh!). You can find them by scouring garage sales and Ebay. But sometimes we need something a bit more heavy duty.

Our chef friend tipped me off about Le Creuset, she mentioned that chefs like it because it's "non-reactive" with food. Aha, that says to me, does not leach crap into the food! Le Creuset has been made since 1925 in France and it's enamel over cast iron (makes for some heavy lifting). The enamel is inert and as long as you use enough oil, food doesn't stick. You can go straight from the fridge to the stove and then dishwasher. It says the knobs are okay to 325 degrees in the oven but they ARE plastic, so I'm not recommending that. It also takes a little more love and care--we only use wooden utensils with ours.

In the search for safe, inert cookware, I've also noted that some healthy advice types like Dr. Mercola have their own LeCreuset lookalike stuff. However, I will mention that we were given a Le Creuset lookalike (Belgian made) and it's become so pocked it looks like it has smallpox, and obviously the iron will be leaching through it. I do think you get what you pay for. The sticker price of the Le Creuset is scary, but remember to amortize it over 3 meals/day, 365 days/year and no icky teflon or aluminum of nickel (most stainless steel contains some nickel--if a magnet doesn't stick to it, there's enough corrupting nickel to make it un-magnetic. Nickel isn't going to do you a lot of health favors, either).

Not to mention that it makes cooking a pleasure. Simmer a sauce all day, heat up milk for yogurt, sautee some onions and then add water for soup. Nice heat distribution, makes you want to wear a chef's toque, I like to threaten MAN FERTILITY with the very heavy fry pan (if only Silda Spitzer had had one of those!).

Treat yourself to a pot you'll use 151 different ways and a fry pan and you're set for good cookin' and good lookin'.

Check it out at www.LeCreuset.com


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Susan G said...

I use 42 year old Farberware (quick, the magnet!), cast iron about 35 years old, and several non-leCreuset lines of equal vintage. I doubt that it is possible to get too much iron from cooking (ditto wooden utensils) and they are non-stick by careful use for such a long time. Warning on enameled cast iron: if you add cold water to a very hot pot you explode the enamel -- made crunchy bits in a pot of buckwheat...instant retirement. It's satisfying to use heavy cookware. Thanks for the overview.

GreenFertility said...

Thanks for the cooking tip, Susan! I had a glass pot explode 3 seconds AFTER I was peering at it quite intently.

And yes, I agree, iron is good for most people (e.g., make that spaghetti sauce in the cast iron!) but some autistic kids have a general metal imbalance (in which iron can feed yeast, etc), so I automatically nix the iron--thanks for prompting the clarification!!

Anonymous said...

Do you know anything about 'Scanpan Classic Ceramic Titanium'...or about ceramic as a non-stick cooking surface alternative to teflon? I also thought I saw another brand on television recently advertising a new line of ceramic cookware. I am definitely looking to purge my kitchen of all teflon...

GreenFertility said...

Hi Kayla,

Some ceramic crock pots have been shown to have lead (I think I did a post on this, just google). You cd get your own lead check test and try it yourself.

Le Creuset has been a favorite of chefs and seeing how well they wear (i.e., don't degrade) is very reassuring to me. I'm not sure if there is actually titanium in the product you are talking about, but keep in mind titanium is a heavy metal, too!

T Wupdi said...

Le Creuset Cookware? I'd be careful. Their iron products are probably ok but NOT their stoneware. Check out

GreenFertility said...

Thanks, that's interesting to know. I am only writing about their enameled iron coated pots.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You can get the Le creuset cookware if you shop carefully.

Find out exactly what you want. Call one of their outlet stores and ask what they have in seconds. Seconds have a slight imperfection that you can barely see for a discount.

They often have and additional 30% the seconds price and you can often get free shipping.

I recently bought a large pot from them at 50% less than amazon. If you live near an outlet store so much the better.

BKR said...

About your comments on Le Creuset. They have a new line that is supposedly non-staining. I called to inquiire if the non-staining element used is PFOA, a toxic chemical used for that purpose. I was informed that an answer would be e-mailed to me within 48 hours. All that arrived was an add for the same line (Signature). The line may be sold only through Williams-Sonoma. I have trusted the brand for almost 60 years but will never buy another pot from them.