No, Not All Cookware is Created Equally!
After we researched and recorded podcast episode 107 – “Is Danger Lurking in Your Kitchen Cabinets?” and learned that using non-stick cookware can actually have negative impacts on health, we decided we needed to make some changes.
Enter Le Creuset. My mom has had a set of the classic flame-orange pans for as long as I can remember. I recall so many meals prepared in them, and can attest to the fact that she’s still using them, all these years later. And I’ve always wanted my own.
Now that we have our own and have been using them for 8 months or so, it’s time for a little review.
First, here’s what Le Creuset has to say about their enameled cast iron cookware (quoted directly from their website):
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron cookware has been the world’s color and quality benchmark for almost a century. Cast individually in sand molds, then hand-inspected by French artisans, each cast iron piece features a rich heritage design, as well as ergonomic knobs and handles—which are sized for easy carrying with pot holders. Ideal in the oven, on the stove or at the table, the iconic cookware is beloved for both its chip-resistant enamel exterior and superior heat retention that locks in flavor and keeps foods moist and tender.
- Ideal Heat Distribution and Superior Heat Retention
- Durable, Nonreactive Sand-Colored Interior
- Crack and Chip-Resistant Exterior Enamel
- Heat and Moisture Locking Recessed-Edge Lid
We have the Signature skillet in 3 sizes, 11 3/4-inch, 10 1/4-inch, and 6 1/3-inch:
These pans come in many bright and beautiful colors. Two of ours are Caribbean (the pretty blue pictured above) and one is Cassis (a nice plum color). Besides the colors, here are some of the things we like about our Le Creuset skillets:
- Quality construction – Heavy duty and built to last (as long as you do your part to take care of them — see full care instructions on the Le Creuset website). The cast iron is durable, while the satin black enamel interior surface prevents rusting.
- Even heating – The nature of the cast iron allows heat to be dispersed evenly across the pan’s surface. They heat up quickly and cool slowly, so there may be a little adjustment period if you’re used to using thinner non-stick pans.
- Easy to clean – Because of the enamel coating, it’s fine to use soap and water on these cast iron pans. You can even put them in the dishwasher, although Le Creuset cautions that regular dishwasher usage can result in the finish becoming dull.
- Oven-safe – These pans, even the lid handles, are oven-safe.
On the other hand…a couple of minor cons:
- Price – Yes, these pans are a bit pricey. But, as with many things, you get what you pay for. You will definitely be getting high-quality and long-lasting pans for the price you’ll pay for Le Creuset products. And in the case of spending less on non-stick cookware, you get less quality and more bad “side effects.” We are hopeful that the high quality will lead to a great return on our investment!
- Weight – These pans are HEAVY! Our biggest fear is dropping one and breaking a kitchen floor tile…or a foot! Always make sure you’ve got a firm grip on your pan.
- These pans get hot quickly! – …and the handles are enameled cast iron, just like the rest of the pan. Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy for this. Le Creuset offers a Silone Cool Tool that slides onto their skillet handles and allows you to pick up the pan without needing an oven mitt.
Overall we are extremely happy with the pans and definitely plan on adding to our collection. I’ve got my eye on that bright yellow 4.5-quart Dutch oven, for sure!