La Cocotte est Neuve

I’m not sure how the rest of the world fares, but in Canada we have this side effect of those nearby American holidays wherein (despite celebrating local Thanksgiving a month ago … the right way!) we still get this post-Thanksgiving (American version) event called Black Friday falling out of their long weekend.

I’ve lately not been much of one to line up at a retail store and go crazy for deals, but I neither do I snub my nose at wandering the virtual aisles looking for discounts on things I’ve already got on my wish list and have been thinking about buying anyhow.

Such as, for example, new cast iron.

Last week a Canadian retailer had an early (like, really early) Black Friday half price deals on Staub cast iron pieces. Staub is one of those higher end cast iron brands that can run into the hundreds of dollars. It’s not unusual to see them listed for four or five times the price of an analogous Lodge brand piece.

So, for example, where you may pay sixty Canadian bucks for a Lodge frying pan, a Staub frying pan of similar size would set you back three hundred bucks at their suggested retail cost.

The price difference comes from finish.

At the end of your cooking day, any good inexpensive cast iron pan that is well seasoned, well loved and well practiced can make the same quality of food as its high end equivalent. After all, the art that comes from a paint brush has more to do with the artist than it does from the brand of brush she used.

But Staub being an imported brand with a strong reputation for quality and the distinction of being in that class that wears a refined enamel coat to the party, a coat that protects the iron and eases cleanup (not to mention looks sharp in blog post photo!) raises it into a higher class of product and, usually, a higher price bracket.

That said, you can often get a nice enameled piece on sale, and this being my second Staub I’ll note that we’ve paid full retail price on neither.

I’ve been combing the online stores for a smaller Dutch Oven for the better part of a year. My seven quart Lodge is a beast, a sourdough workhorse, and I love it, but it is a little too big for stews, soups, or roasting meals that are appropriately sized for a three-person household.

The new Dutch Oven (which arrived by courier just before dinner time last night) or what Staub calls a cocotte (because, I assume, the French are not going to call a fine piece of cookware by the name of their European neighbours) is roughly half the size of my old one. The four quart (or three point eight litre) is a perfect size for all kinds of future meal plans, and I’m sure it will find a quick and happy home in my kitchen and recipe repertoire, and some feature space on this blog in the near future.

Plus the bright cherry red colour will bring a smile to my face every time I put it to the flame.

It may still be a week or so until the actual Black Friday deals begin, but I’m happy to report that my money is happily spent and as a result I’ll be roasting up something delicious and avoiding any further shopping.