For the last 15 or 20 years I have wanted to own a Dutch oven. OK…I’ll admit that is NOT the catchiest first line of a post and I may have already lost you. I hope not because it really does get exciting. Well, kitchen-gadget exciting. To me. 🙂
So, yeah…I’ve wanted a Dutch oven. And maybe once a year in the past decade or two, I would venture out to see if I could purchase one. Each time I end up drooling over the Le Creuset options. They get amazing ratings and, seriously, they are beautiful. The colours! Oh myyyyy – the colours!!!
But the price tag. Oh dear – the price tag. For a 7 qt one, I’d have to fork out about $350 CDN or more. And I can’t justify that. So I would drool, occasionally caress and fondle, and then walk on. I would also look at the other non-Le Creuset options that were more budget friendly, but I honestly had no idea which would be the best direction to throw my money. Then, dejected and disappointed, I would give up and leave it alone for about another year.
Then, for some reason, I would forget the past failures and convince myself somehow that this year – THIS year – it would be different. I’d find a killer Le Creuset sale or all of a sudden the “Dutch oven switch” would flick on inside my brain and I’d know which of the more economical versions I should get.
You know what happened. Or didn’t happen. I never got one. The cycle just continued over and over and over. And over.
And so, this past Friday morning while I was lying in bed (I had the day off), the “Let’s look for a Dutch oven!” urge hit again. Maybe it’s my age, but before I got too gung-ho, I told myself not to get too excited. (You know by now that I like to talk to myself.) I could look, but I knew my past track record, so I wasn’t allowed to get disappointed when (not if) I didn’t find anything I could buy.
So, without further ado and without even hauling my arse out of bed, I grabbed my tablet and started searching.
It didn’t take long for my hopes to begin to be dashed against a shore of broken crockery dreams. The prices were still high (go figure) and there was still a sea of unknown economical options from which to choose. I was, again, adrift.
But then I thought of the America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a show I started watching a couple of years ago on PBS. It is just what the name purports it to be: a test kitchen. I love it. In addition to testing recipes, they also test kitchen gadgets and equipment. (Do you see where I’m going here??)
The light bulb went off! I thought, “Surely to heaven they’ve tested Dutch ovens!!” While I knew that if they had tested them, the unattainable Le Creuset would be at the top of their list, I also knew that whenever they give their ratings, they also provide a recommendation from the more budget-friendly options. So…off I went to Mr. Google and he did not disappoint!
Here’s where I landed: Dutch ovens. As you can see, the Le Creuset was at the very top, but then…there it was! A Cuisinart was the budget recommendation! A brand I knew and could (hopefully) afford!
Back to Mr. Google, now with a specific brand in mind. I thought I had it in the bag. Not so. The first search results showed a couple of Cuisinart options, but they were still pricey, for me (between $160 and $200 CDN). Ahhh boo.
But then…just when I was about to throw in the towel for another year…there was an option from Costco. It was the exact same as the $160 one that Walmart had, but it was only $80. Huh? I clicked the link thinking it must be a smaller size and you just couldn’t tell that from the thumbnail image. Nope! Same size…same everything except for the price. Before I jumped on the excited train, though, I thought that maybe I was on the US Costco site instead of the Canadian one. Nope…It was Canadian. Seriously? I mean, I know different places have different prices, but THAT much of a difference? (And the Walmart one was on sale, BTW.)
Anyhoooooo…I wasn’t super keen on the colour of the one at Costco, but for the price, I could absolutely learn to love it!! (It’s not that I didn’t like the colour…it just wouldn’t match anything in my kitchen.)
Just as I was about to put it in my cart, I saw a thumbnail of another one in a colour that I liked better AND it had four small, individual Dutch ovens with it. For $10 more. Double huh? So I clicked. Sure enough, 7 qt blue Dutch oven with 4 individual ones for $90.
I still thought there had to be a catch. Then I figured it out. The shipping. Cast iron would have killer shipping fees. There’s no way they’d ship it for free so that’s how they were going to get me. So I looked…Nope. Free shipping.
So, now after 15 or 20 years, I am the owner of not 1, but 5 (!!!!) Dutch ovens!!! Woooooohoooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! My budget was $100. Taxes in this set was $101. Not too shabby if I do say so myself!!
(I just checked and Walmart has the same set right now for $180. What even???)
PS: (Cuz what’s a day without learning something…) Technically, “Dutch” ovens that have enameling are actually “French” ovens! Nobody knows that term, though, so, much to Le Creuset’s chagrin, we just call them all Dutch ovens. You’re welcome.