Clay Cookware

The discussion about enameled cast iron got me thinking about my pots and pans. I am promiscuous where cookware material is concerned. I have enameled cast iron, non-enameled cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, clay and nonstick pots and pans.

My favorite is my Piral coated earthenware pot. It’s about three quarts. I use it for soups, pasta sauce, etc. Where it really shines is cooking dried legumes. The texture comes out nice and creamy.

Is anyone else here a fan of earthenware pots and pans?

For the record, my clay pot and the ability to char vegetables on the burners (hobs to you Brits) are why I will never switch from gas to induction.

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I am. I posted a donabe cookware thread.


Like you, I have more than just one type of cookware. Bare cast iron, enameled cast iron, carbon steel, stainless steel clad, pure aluminum, clay. I actually no longer has nonstick cookware anymore.


I’ve had a sick love of French and Italian terra cotta ware for years. As a flea market junkie, I’ve had trouble saying “no” to any decently priced piece in fine condition. I’ve found it my duty to provide a home for these wonderful pieces that display the hand-of-the-maker. LIke these…
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I too own several donabe, romertopf, and a terra cotta Dutch oven from Iberia. Part of the attraction was the hand made craftsmanship. However, I now think there is no actual advantage when compared to any other cocotte in terms of taste or temperature control. I don’t think the results, if plated side by side in equivalent serve ware, would be distinguishable. Rather, the only advantage is the aesthetics of the clay cookware. The only clay cookware I use any more is my Yunnan chicken soup steamer mainly for its shape. The rest might be hocus pocus.

@pilgrim i may be demonstrating ignorance here, but I’m curious about whether there are lead concerns with buying these from flea markets / second hand stores?

The need to soak always trips me up on timeline… I never think of it far enough in advance!

Mine only needed to be soaked once overnight before I used it the first time.

Indeed, you have the same lead risk if you buy these stamped, branded pieces in a shop. Much more a beloved collection than set of cookware, I never use them for acidic foods.

But your point is well taken. To shop in flea markets or second hand stores or estate sales, you should be aware of such dangers plus be able to recognize stuff of value. Reidel glasses at 4/$1, Rosenthal, Luneville, Pillivuyt and friends’ china, All-Clad for pennies on the dollar…

I have earned the sobriquet “Second Hand Rose”.

Sorry — I was actually asking for the perspective of someone who would like to buy in these formats, to educate myself.

I wasn’t trying to be snarky. I apologize. To rephrase, to shop these venues, you need to be aware that someone has discarded an item for a reason, Too big/small, change of lifestyle, it was a despised gift OR it has a problem. So you shop with hope but also a degree of skepticism. You need to know about the product you are contemplating buying, its original cost, its reputation, to recognize high-end or special antique examples.

We have been frequenting estate sales and flea markets for decades. If you have access in your community, give one a try as a treasure hunt and museum rolled into one. Do not buy unless you thoroughly inspect an item. Have fun.

It appears that lead testing kits are inexpensive.

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