One choice is clay. I consider myself a “traditional cook”, which means I try to cook with traditional ingredients, like butter, olive oil, grassfed meats, organic vegetables, etc. When you see the value of traditional foods, an interest in traditional cooking methods follows. One traditional way of cooking was in clay.
Cooking in clay is one of the oldest forms of cooking and is found around the world. Lovers of clay cooking say that it helps everything you make in it taste better. Cooking in clay has a wide and growing fan base, with many current cookbook authors promoting using clay cookware for superior results. Some think that cooking in clay can lower acidity in food and add mineral content, though a quick search didn’t reveal any conclusive evidence. However, most agree that food tastes wonderful when cooked in clay pots or pans.
I find it interesting that regaining this ancient cooking method promises to produce better results in taste-just like what happens when you resurrect traditional foods!
Traditionally, clay wasn’t glazed. The following items aren’t glazed and are really unique in a very wonderful way.
La Chamba Clay Cookware and Bakeware
“Sophisticated and practical, hand-crafted black clay La Chamba cookware from La Chamba, Colombia can go directly from microwave, stove or oven to your table top.
The innate elegance and usability make black La Chamba cookware perfect from cooking to serving. There are no toxins in the La Chamba because no glazes are used (the pieces are hand-burnished) and there is no lead in the clay. Care is easy: a quick soak and wipe down with a sponge is all that is needed.”
This pot was a pleasure to unpack. My mother and sister gathered around and we admired this piece of traditional cookware that is so unlike what we can buy at the typical store. WWW.MYTOGUE.COM sent the above piece to me for the guide, and I was really impressed with both it’s rustic beauty, and the fact that it’s toxin free. It’s unglazed, so no worries about what is in the glaze, and it is made out of lead free clay. I picture making slow simmered stews and pots of beans in this beauty. Because of it’s unique look, I’d love to serve from it right on the table. By the way, it gets that unique dark look from the traditional firing process it goes through. This post is just one of many items you can buy. Check out the full selection here. Besides pots and stockpots, there are bowls, plates, casserole dishes, griddles and more.
Pomaire ® Cookware, Bakeware and Clay Pots
The above Lasagna Pan is sold at the folks from Solay Wellness. Similar to the La Chamba clay cooker items, these are also hand-crafted and have a unique look. Some of the items are black, like the above, and other have the more orange-ish hue we associate with clay. They have some really interesting items, like a clay wok! Who would have thought? These items are hand burnished with a agate stone, which makes the pieces smooth, before firing. A lot of time and love went into each piece.
Once again, I am impressed with the quality of the workmanship and admire the slightly irregularity of both this piece and the La Chamba pot which adds character. The items from Solay Wellness are certified Fair Trade, which means these items help support the craftsman who made them.
“Craftsman from Pomaire, Chile have been making unglazed lead free clay cookware since the 19th century. Our cookware products are healthier because little or no oil is needed as the food steams in natural juices. Clay pots also hold the nutrients whereas foods that are boiled often lose nutrients during the cooking process. Foods cooked in clay dishes retain more flavor than traditional cookware. Cooking in unglazed clay is an ancient tradition with modern day health benefits. Solay Gourmet Pomaire ® clay cookware and bake ware are decoratively created to go straight from the oven or stove top to the dining table. (6 quarts, 3 quarts and 1 quart clay cookware)”
For a wide variety of choices, check out their full selection here. For this lasagna pan, I think it would work great for a wide variety of dishes; everything from roasting a chicken or chicken pieces, to holding a sourdough chocolate cake.
Vitaclay Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker
Finally, the Vitaclay Slow cooker/Rice Cooker is an ancient art meeting modern convenience, in this giveaway I review this item more in depth. In short, it works very well so far in my experience, and has many advantages.
* Natural, nontoxic clay pot
* No aluminum or nonstick
* Clay is naturally nonstick
* The Vitaclay Chef, 8 cup rice cooker and slow cooker that I tried out has different settings for slowing cooking, rice (brown, white, sweet, reheating rice), so that you get exactly what you need each time.
* Heats up significantly faster than a slow cooker
* Cooks twice as fast as a slow cooker and then keeps everything on “warm” until you eat.
* Uses less energy than most slow cookers
* Makes wonderful rice
You better believe that this would make a wonderful present to a traditional cook! I know of many who have this item on their wish list!
All of these items are unique and wonderful and would make beautiful Christmas gifts. They are gifts that keep on giving as they are used throughout the year to produce nourishing foods for loved ones. I love gifts like that. Practical and lovely, they are the type of gift I personally like to receive.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you use clay cook or bakeware in your kitchen? How do you like it?