Thursday, November 17, 2005

My kingdom for a pot

I am shopping for a new set of cookware, and I would love your suggestions. (I know we have some real gourmet's around here. And yes, Melanie Mattson, I'm talking to you.)

We have moved on average of once year, sometimes more often than that, during our not-quite 5 year marriage. A combination of under-paying campaign jobs, contract jobs, relocations, and my uncertain immigration status put us in a range of temporary accommmodations, including short term leases, extended-stay motels, and friends' and strangers' couches. With each subsequent move, we've done our best to divest ourselves of unnecessary belongings.

Ghandi got rid of half of his belongings every year--a great practice, and I highly recommend it. It is amazing how much junk you're still left with.

In a fit of enthusiasm, on our last major move, we got rid of our bed, our television set, and all my cooking pots.

That may seem a bit over-zealous. We were putting our belongings in storage for an indefinite period of time, and weighed the transportation and storage costs against the actual value of the items. The pots lost.

We've made do with some corningware and visionware we picked up second hand, but now that the weather is getting cooler, I am itching to make soup. Alas, my EasyBakeOven-proportioned cookware is not up to the task.

I probably won't buy pots and pans again for at least another 10-20 years, so I am happy to make do for the moment, save up, and invest in good quality cookware.

I have to admit, I covet Le Creuset. Their enamel-on-cast-iron pots are works of art and excellent tools all rolled into one. They are also as heavy as hell, and once chipped they are ruined.

I had resigned myself to a life sans Le Creuset, because I couldn't see hauling their cannonball cookware through our peripatetic gypsy lifestyle. (Nor did I wish the hefting of those pots on my poor husband, who literally and metaphorically performs the heavy lifting during our moves.) But, my husband is now in an excellent permanent job with a steady employer, and it looks like we won't be budging from either Richmond, Virginia nor even our very comfortable apartment for the foreseeable future. Hence, it is time to play house. We are gradually replacing our hand-me-down and make-do-for-now housewares with quality items, as well as continuing to get rid of what we don't need, and real cookware is at the top of the list. I'm running out of excuses not to by Le Creuset.

I still have a lingering reservation about their weight, from a day-to-day perspective (or, le quotidien, as our friends at Le Creuset headquarters would say). My hands, wrists and arms aren't particularly strong after extended years of illness. I am worried about my ability to lift a full pot of soup off the stove. My concerns might sound silly, but I won't want to invest hundreds of dollars in a set of cookware I can't use.

Thus, I am asking you, my far-flung team of Experts On Everything. Does anyone use Le Creuset? How onerous is the weight? What other kinds of cookware do you recommend?

I'm very interested to hear what you have to say. I'll keep you posted on how the research adventure and eventual purchase turn out.
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