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February 3, 2010

Cauldron Bubble

Filed under: Cookware,French Food — Mr. Henry @ 12:57 pm

Why are Kathy and Bernard the ideal dinner guests? Because they bring their own dinner.chervil1.jpg

Saturday night Bernard braised a rack of pork in a marvelous dozen little artichokes, a few golden beets, garlic, chicken stock, white wine and some fresh chervil (also known as “gourmet’s parsley”). The sweetness of pork and beets nicely balanced the artichoke’s natural bitterness.

He cooked it in a huge cast-iron oval Dutch oven resembling the iron-clad USS Monitor. Manufactured by the venerable French ironmongers Cousances, now owned by Le Creuset, the pot seemed to lend its own unique flavors to the stew.


Infinitesimal remains from dinners of yore boil and bubble imparting dark magic to the cauldron’s charmed ingredients.macbeth.JPG

Fillet of a fenny snake
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog

How can a pot contribute to flavor? Because it is never washed with soap.

While Kathy, good American girl, dutifully scrubs kitchen pots with soap and pad, Bernard the Frenchman gives his iron pot one hot rinse and calls it quits until tomorrow.


  1. I wouldn’t even rinse it with water, if it’s well-seasoned. My cast iron is wiped out with paper towels. If “scrubbing” is needed, salt and a cloth towel do the job.

    Comment by Victor — February 4, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  2. When a well meaning friend scrubbed my cast iron wok to shining death, it took me 4 days to get it properly seasoned and back to working order. If one is worried about germs, after wiping out, cook the cast iron under broil for 5 minutes and let cool. Sanitary and still seasoned. (Don’t do this if it has wooden handles!)

    Comment by Jennie — February 6, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  3. When I was a baby in Belgium, the landlords always had a cauldron of soup bubbling on the stove. Leftovers got put in it, and broth ladled out of it. And as far as my parents could tell, that same pot had been in that same place since the Second World War.

    Comment by raincoaster — February 12, 2010 @ 6:03 am

  4. Pease Porridge Hot, Pease Porridge Cold, Pease Porridge in the pot, Nine Days Old.

    Comment by Jennie — February 15, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

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