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Alternatives for slow cookers & crockpots

 
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So there are no slow cookers/ crockpots in Denmark or the Netherlands? That is really weird: The contraption is simple enough: It is essentially a ceramic pot encased in a metal holder with a resistance underneath so you can heat the thing. [Many use the 2 terms interchangeably but the slow cooker, or so I'm told does not have the ceramic: It is all metal. The crockpot has a ceramic insert, which makes for no burning and easy to clean pot when you are done.
I know they have them in France, England, Germany, so it is not a European thing. I wonder if there is a law against using these contraptions there. It would be too bad: As a busy mom, I used to put together a meal in the crockpot, turn it on and go off teaching and come back... and it was all ready. The whole house smelled delicious.
I hope you get a chance to Gerry rig something that does the same thing, even if you have to buy it abroad and mess with fixing the electric plug.
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:So there are no slow cookers/ crockpots in Denmark or the Netherlands? That is really weird: The contraption is simple enough: It is essentially a ceramic pot encased in a metal holder with a resistance underneath so you can heat the thing. [Many use the 2 terms interchangeably but the slow cooker, or so I'm told does not have the ceramic: It is all metal. The crockpot has a ceramic insert, which makes for no burning and easy to clean pot when you are done.
I know they have them in France, England, Germany, so it is not a European thing. I wonder if there is a law against using these contraptions there. It would be too bad: As a busy mom, I used to put together a meal in the crockpot, turn it on and go off teaching and come back... and it was all ready. The whole house smelled delicious.
I hope you get a chance to Gerry rig something that does the same thing, even if you have to buy it abroad and mess with fixing the electric plug.


Maybe they are for sale in the Netherlands, but then only in specialized cooking stores, which are only in the larger cities, not where I live. Or it's possible to order one online (but I wouldn't do that)


 
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For our members without crockpots or slow cookers, how do you simmer things in the oven for a long time ... maybe a dutch oven?

To me, it seems that the end results would be very similar.  What does everyone think? Would this work?
 
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I had a recipe for beef stew slow-cooked in the oven.  I used a Dutch oven, and it cooked at 200 degrees F. for hours - I can't recall how many.  Long time.  It was so tender!
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:So there are no slow cookers/ crockpots in Denmark or the Netherlands? That is really weird: The contraption is simple enough: It is essentially a ceramic pot encased in a metal holder with a resistance underneath so you can heat the thing. [Many use the 2 terms interchangeably but the slow cooker, or so I'm told does not have the ceramic: It is all metal. The crockpot has a ceramic insert, which makes for no burning and easy to clean pot when you are done.
I know they have them in France, England, Germany, so it is not a European thing. I wonder if there is a law against using these contraptions there. It would be too bad: As a busy mom, I used to put together a meal in the crockpot, turn it on and go off teaching and come back... and it was all ready. The whole house smelled delicious.
I hope you get a chance to Gerry rig something that does the same thing, even if you have to buy it abroad and mess with fixing the electric plug.



You can buy electric saucepans here that function as a slow cooker but they are not insulated and so they take the same power to use as the hob. running one for 8 hours to cook onions rather than 1hr on the cooker would really waste energy. I actually do own one, it's only used for cooking dog food in the barn. and then I use it on high I only use it to keep the smell out of the house! I think they fit American style cooking better as well. I've seen lists of things people suggest cooking in them and we don't eat hardly anything of it. You can't even BUY stew meat here!
 
Skandi Rogers
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Anne Miller wrote:For our members without crockpots or slow cookers, how do you simmer things in the oven for a long time ... maybe a dutch oven?

To me, it seems that the end results would be very similar.  What does everyone think? Would this work?


I missed this comment, I do rice pudding, and stews in the oven. you really need a dish with a lid, but you can use foil if you don't have a lidded dish.

this type is one of the most common, they come in lots of different sizes and shapes.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Anne Miller wrote:For our members without crockpots or slow cookers, how do you simmer things in the oven for a long time ... maybe a dutch oven?

To me, it seems that the end results would be very similar.  What does everyone think? Would this work?



Yes. I have a ceramic lined Dutch oven. Dutch ovens are wonderful also for cooking tougher cuts of meats to make stews. Lower temperature for a longer time and do it in the oven. Other tenderizers: If the meat was first frozen, adding wine or beer [but alcohol, essentially] and if you salt at the last minute or on the table. [adding salt tends to pull out the moisture from anything, just by osmosis].
Another tenderizer I heard of that should work are soft drinks. I have not tried it but I'm sure some of you adventurous souls will have given it a try. Anything with a club soda base. like Coca-Cola etc. [I mean, if it can clean the inside of my fridge and remove rust from bolts and cast iron, it should tenderize meat too, right?]. You can use Club Soda also to clean up that Dutch oven afterwards
https://www.readersdigest.ca/home-garden/tips/5-things-do-club-soda/
 
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How about a haybox cooker? There's a Permies thread on what it is and how to make one here - Haybox Cooking / Thermal Cooker / Wonder Box. They look pretty easy to make and would seem to be a good alternative to a slow cooker or crockpot.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Leigh Tate wrote:How about a haybox cooker? There's a Permies thread on what it is and how to make one here - Haybox Cooking / Thermal Cooker / Wonder Box. They look pretty easy to make and would seem to be a good alternative to a slow cooker or crockpot.



This might be a great alternative for our friends in Denmark and the Netherlands who can't find crockpots or slow cookers. And it is energy friendly, to boot!
 
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We also had a blip of interest in slow cookers here in Brazil a few years ago, and I bought some for a few people I know. Then they stopped making them as the Instant Pot got popular (I can find countless local versions of the Instant Pot, but I'm totally not interested.).
The old timey local version is to cook on the back of the wood stove for hours (preferably in cast iron pots). If you don't have a wood stove running for ages and ages, covered cast iron in the oven can do it. I like the haybox idea, personally, and that's probably what I'll do when my own crockpot finally goes.
 
pollinator
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I would suggest the haybox cooker/thermal cooker, too.  It might not work for everything, but it's great for soups/stews/casseroles.  

 
Anne Miller
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I have two cast iron covered dutch ovens, as Tereza mentioned.

We used them ages ago when we did a lot of camping trips.

We used it basically like a slow cooker by putting over coals.  One of them even had a top wwith a rid for putting coals on the lids.

I have used them for cooking in my oven too, Beans, chili, stews and other dishes that are for cooking long and slow.



Amazon Link for Dutch Oven

I also found some recipes for cooking in a dutch oven.

https://www.thekitchn.com/the-first-10-recipes-to-make-in-your-dutch-oven-254040
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I think they fit American style cooking better as well. I've seen lists of things people suggest cooking in them and we don't eat hardly anything of it. You can't even BUY stew meat here!


Now you got me curious. What would those dishes be? I only did a quick google search and yes, things like Taco soup or Chicken Alfredo are an American thing.
But I can't believe you don't get stew meat in Denmark. Certainly there are butcher shops, and they would sell all kinds of meat from a cow or a pig? Or are all "cheap" cuts going to dog food?

Regarding the role of a slow cooker:
I wouldn't want one, yet another piece that has to find a place in the kitchen. For meals that need long slow simmering I would do those either in a Dutch oven in the stove or speed things up with a normal pressure cooker.
 
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I've become quite enamored with thermos cooking. I use mine for cooking beans, soup, and porridge. For everything other than porridge, you just get all the ingredients into a pot and boil for ten minutes or so. Then you dump them in the thermos and it's ready later in the day.

I have a 710mL thermos for soup and a smaller one, maybe 400ish mL, for porridge. The smaller one is rated for 12 hour heat retention, and it works great for quick cooking things. I've cooked chickpeas in it a few times, but you need to boil the chickpeas a little longer initially for it to work. It's a little finicky, where as my bigger, 24 hour thermos is foolproof.

Thermos porridge is amazing. Before bed I put whatever grain I want into the little thermos and fill it up with boiling water. In the morning I have hot, perfectly creamy porridge.  Tiny grains like amaranth, teff, kaniwa need to be mixed with bigger ones or they cook into a solid lump.  I cook 100g of dry grain at a time and found 15g of that can be one of the tiny ones I mentioned.

If you got the timing figured out, you could probably cook rice so it came out firm and fluffy rather than porridgey. I've not tried it yet as I already do mine very successfully in a pot that I take off the burner and wrap up in towels to finish cooking.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Leigh Tate wrote:How about a haybox cooker? There's a Permies thread on what it is and how to make one here - Haybox Cooking / Thermal Cooker / Wonder Box. They look pretty easy to make and would seem to be a good alternative to a slow cooker or crockpot.



This might be a great alternative for our friends in Denmark and the Netherlands who can't find crockpots or slow cookers. And it is energy friendly, to boot!


I do have a 'hay box'. That works well for keeping something hot, but not really boiling. And only in a closed / covered pot. So the thing with 'caramelizing onions' won't work in a hay box.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Anita Martin wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:I think they fit American style cooking better as well. I've seen lists of things people suggest cooking in them and we don't eat hardly anything of it. You can't even BUY stew meat here!


Now you got me curious. What would those dishes be? I only did a quick google search and yes, things like Taco soup or Chicken Alfredo are an American thing.
But I can't believe you don't get stew meat in Denmark. Certainly there are butcher shops, and they would sell all kinds of meat from a cow or a pig? Or are all "cheap" cuts going to dog food?

Regarding the role of a slow cooker:
I wouldn't want one, yet another piece that has to find a place in the kitchen. For meals that need long slow simmering I would do those either in a Dutch oven in the stove or speed things up with a normal pressure cooker.


Two things I want to reply in this quote. First: here in the Netherlands there is 'stew meat'. At least the kind of meat I'd use for a stew, which is beef with some fat in it. In supermarkets it's even sold in cubes, ready to prepare. It may be called 'soup meat'.
The other one: I don't know why a 'Dutch oven' is called 'Dutch', because it is not Dutch, meaning 'from the Netherlands'. Is it German (Deutsch)?
 
Tereza Okava
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:The other one: I don't know why a 'Dutch oven' is called 'Dutch', because it is not Dutch, meaning 'from the Netherlands'. Is it German (Deutsch)?


There are a lot of wild explanations but the best one I've seen so far (unfortunately) is that it was a pejorative term for an "oven alternative", in the spirit of "anything less nice or somewhat embarrassing must be from somewhere else" (French letters, Dutch widow, go Dutch, etc). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Dutch_oven
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I made a photo of the kind of pots (or what to call them? dishes maybe?) I use in the oven. They are all made out of a glass-like material. The white and blue one with the transparent lid is 'made in Holland', the one with my 'pear crumble' in it is Pyrex (that's French, isn't it?), the other two are of unknown brand. The 'pear crumble' I baked today, there are lots of pears to forage here. Pear trees growing along the road. But in the same pot I can make whatever oven dish I like. The glass is easy to clean, so the taste won't stay in the material. To make a 'gratin' use it without the lid.
I can use these also in the hay-box.


 
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Anita Martin wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:I think they fit American style cooking better as well. I've seen lists of things people suggest cooking in them and we don't eat hardly anything of it. You can't even BUY stew meat here!


Now you got me curious. What would those dishes be? I only did a quick google search and yes, things like Taco soup or Chicken Alfredo are an American thing.
But I can't believe you don't get stew meat in Denmark. Certainly there are butcher shops, and they would sell all kinds of meat from a cow or a pig? Or are all "cheap" cuts going to dog food?

Regarding the role of a slow cooker:
I wouldn't want one, yet another piece that has to find a place in the kitchen. For meals that need long slow simmering I would do those either in a Dutch oven in the stove or speed things up with a normal pressure cooker.



There is an enormous difference in heat produced by an oven on lowest setting, and a crockpot; it would be unbearably hot in my tinyhouse if I cooked anything for 8 hours in the oven, in any vaguely warm season, and would use a fair bit of propane; in summer two crockpots can happily simmer away all day on solar and I still have full batteries at the end of the day.

A pressure cooker would be less bad, but requires attention, I am out working on stuff... and an instant pot would probably solve that, but my crockpots were $5 each and I bet they will have a much longer life as they are stone simple!
 
Skandi Rogers
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Inge's photo's are exactly what I and my family in the UK use they are all Pyrex or equivalent off brands. interestingly some of the older 70's pieces with patterns and bright colours are now actually quite valuable. If you were posher (or just richer) then you had a le Creuset  an enameled cast iron pot, which has the advantage of being usable on the hob as well.




Anita Martin wrote:
But I can't believe you don't get stew meat in Denmark. Certainly there are butcher shops, and they would sell all kinds of meat from a cow or a pig? Or are all "cheap" cuts going to dog food?



It's not that you can't buy the "cheap" cuts, I can get cheeks and tails and trotters, but they cost more than tenderloin. The cheapest cut of meat other than chicken is pork loin. looking online at Bilka which is a huge chain of supermarkets and looking at their "in house" butchers the prices of various cuts are..

(50kr = $8 ish)

Pork bones 50kr/kg
Pork loin with skin without bone 52.97kr/kg
Pork heart 71kr/kg
Pork liver 71kr/kg
Pork tenderloin 73.7kr/kg
Pork shoulder 74,37kr/kg
Pork belly with skin and bone 77kr/kg
pork schnitzel 113kr/kg
Neck chops 113kr/kg
pork cheeks 147.5kr/kg

The tenderloin, loins and bellys come down on offer to around 30/kg pretty often (we never buy full price)

For beef there are a few tougher options online. picking one brand it varies from 100kr/kg for osso bucco 104kr/kg for what they call pot roast which looks to be shoulder from the bones  173kr/kg for silverside (what I would call pot roast) up to 258/kg for ribeye.

I couldn't believe the lack of cheap cuts either when I came here, and it still feels odd making stirfry or schnitzel from tenderloin. Beef is generally out of our price range. these prices I'm quoting are for conventional beef not organic and not good welfare. Even when the father in law had a steer slaughtered all that came back was steaks and mince. oh and the brisket which I had specifically asked for! That all goes into the mince here. There is virtually no tradition at all of slow cooking things other than "good bones" which is all the pork bones boiled for a couple of hours and then quick roasted, and even those are gone as the ribs get sold for a ton now.


 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:
It's not that you can't buy the "cheap" cuts, I can get cheeks and tails and trotters, but they cost more than tenderloin. The cheapest cut of meat other than chicken is pork loin.....
I couldn't believe the lack of cheap cuts either when I came here. ....all that came back was steaks and mince


Our situation is very similar here. It used to be I could get beef shin, which is great for stewing, but now the prices have gone berserk and basically, anyone who is going to spend that much is going to buy filet or a prime rib type cut. There is no "roast" type cut, no brisket, and I haven't seen shin in ages-- I think they're grinding it all, because people do use ground beef like crazy here. It is barbecue/steak or mince, and that's pretty much it. We occasionally throw caution to the wind for parties and will spend $$$ on steaks and any leftovers get frozen for us to use later. Other than that, it's pork (chops, ribs, butt, or if I go to the $$$pecialty Guy, belly) or chicken.
 
Anne Miller
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I used to collect glassware. When we sold our homestead, I sold most of my collection.

The dish in Inge's picture on the top right is Corningware.  I still have that same dish, if I remember correctly it is call "cornflower blue". I am not sure when that piece came out though it was in the 1960's.

Pyrex is a trademark of the Corning Company (the same Company that makes Corningware) and was introduced in 1915. Here is the wikipedia link for Pyrex:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrex

I hope you enjoy using your lovely glassware.

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Anne Miller wrote:I used to collect glassware. When we sold our homestead, I sold most of my collection.

The dish in Inge's picture on the top right is Corningware.  I still have that same dish, if I remember correctly it is call "cornflower blue". I am not sure when that piece came out though it was in the 1960's.

Pyrex is a trademark of the Corning Company (the same Company that makes Corningware) and was introduced in 1915. Here is the wikipedia link for Pyrex:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrex

I hope you enjoy using your lovely glassware.


Thank you for your information Anne. So the one with the blue flower must be a Dutch copy of Corningware. Do the Corningware dishes also have loose, attachable handgrips? This one has, it isn't in the photo.
Except for the Pyrex dish, all of those are second-hand. I think the thrift-store is not yet aware those are 'vintage' items, wanted by collectors (or there are no collectors here). If they knew the price would be much over 1 euro!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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D Nikolls wrote:...
There is an enormous difference in heat produced by an oven on lowest setting, and a crockpot; it would be unbearably hot in my tinyhouse if I cooked anything for 8 hours in the oven, in any vaguely warm season, and would use a fair bit of propane; in summer two crockpots can happily simmer away all day on solar and I still have full batteries at the end of the day.

A pressure cooker would be less bad, but requires attention, I am out working on stuff... and an instant pot would probably solve that, but my crockpots were $5 each and I bet they will have a much longer life as they are stone simple!


You are right. The oven heats the kitchen (or a tiny house). That's why those 'simmered dishes' are food for autumn and winter, not for summer.
My oven is not on gas, although it's part of the same stove which has gas burners on top. I live in a rented apartment and the housing corporation doesn't want to put solar panels on the roof. So when we use electric, it's coming from a power plant, which is using fossil fuels. The gas we have here is natural gas, also a fossil fuel ... So for 'simmering' the best solution for me is the hay box.
 
Anne Miller
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Inge, my corningware like the cornflower one came with the handle like you described.  It was to turn the casserole dish into a suacepan. I also had a metal "trivite" (a thing with handles and feet) so that a hot casserole dish could be set on the dinner table.

I did some snooping and found out that Corning Glass Works opened a factory in the early 1960's for the European market at Groningen, in the Netherlands.
It said that Pyroflam is an international brand name for Corning Ware glass-ceramic cookware.

You said your said "Made in Holland" does it also have a brand name maybe under the handles?  When I run my fingers under the handles of my newer version, I can feel an imprint under the handles. Mine said "Corningware" on one handle and "U.S.A." on the other.

This has been a fun thread. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as much as I have.
 
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OK - too confusing to get all the quotes right, so I'll apologize now!

1. I was given a second hand slow cooker. It has the advantage in the summer if I'm busy that I can plug it in outside to help with the "keep the house cool" issue. I always put my oven mitts on the lid for a little insulation on the glass lid. It's good when I'm busy as a "start and forget but dinner will be ready" alternative.

2. I've got an oval enameled cast-iron which I've found a bit big for most of my needs, so we just bought one like Skandi pictured. I'm not sure of the pro/cons of enameled vs plain cast iron - any opinions? In particular, I use mine for no-knead bread. I pre-heat the pot and lid in the oven, pour in the dough, put the lid on for 1/2 an hour and then remove the lid for 5-10 minutes just to crisp up the top.

3. I've got a good collection of the pyrex casseroles and use them with and without the lid for all sorts of things (recently lots of crumbles, like Inge!).

4. Almost a year ago we bought a OnePot to replace my dead pressure cooker (handle died - it was 30+ year old). It has the advantage of being able to use it outdoors, but it doesn't heat as high as my traditional pressure cooker so things seem to take much longer. Clearly there's a learning curve I haven't yet mastered on it. I'd go for a basic pressure cooker any day, and one of these days, I suspect I will replace mine.

5. I'm in a shady spot which cools off rapidly at night except for maybe 2 weeks in August and our electricity is pretty cheap, so I admit I haven't tried a hay-box cooker, but I've heard lots of good things about them, and have done the "on the fly"version of wrapping a pot up in towels while camping. How well does the typical haybox cope with different sized pots?

I agree with Anne - fun thread to read! It's particularly fun to get opinions from a wide geographical area!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Anne Miller wrote:Inge, my corningware like the cornflower one came with the handle like you described.  It was to turn the casserole dish into a suacepan. I also had a metal "trivite" (a thing with handles and feet) so that a hot casserole dish could be set on the dinner table.

I did some snooping and found out that Corning Glass Works opened a factory in the early 1960's for the European market at Groningen, in the Netherlands.
It said that Pyroflam is an international brand name for Corning Ware glass-ceramic cookware.

You said your said "Made in Holland" does it also have a brand name maybe under the handles?  When I run my fingers under the handles of my newer version, I can feel an imprint under the handles. Mine said "Corningware" on one handle and "U.S.A." on the other.

This has been a fun thread. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as much as I have.


Anne, this becomes really interesting! Now I made a photo of the underside of that dish. Yes, it says Pyroflam. And 'Made in the Netherlands', which is seldom seen and makes clear this wasn't made in Holland (the west), but in the other part of the Netherlands, which can be Groningen. Often even on products from the not-Holland-parts of the country it says 'Made in Holland'.
And, as you can see, on the handle it says it's Corning!


And then I had a better look at the underside of another one. It's only visible with the right light, because it's in relief, but it's an English brand, probably named JAJ.
That's the small one, with the colourful vegetable pattern on it.


 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Jay, photos and more answers for you will come later.
 
Anne Miller
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I found your colorful JAJ.  It is also from the 1960's and the name of the pattern is "Harvest"

Also the type of pyrex is called "milk glass".

I found this on Pinterest, just so everyone who is interested can see the pattern better:



https://www.pinterest.com/pin/605452743629903172/


The top one is called "Lobster"

The one with the chicken and duck is called "Fowl Play".



 
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Yes, agreed, what a fun thread. I really enjoy my cookware variety. The history, the collectabilty, the use, and the decor. Every piece I have except for a couple stoneware pieces have been freebies or inexpensive thrift finds. Treasures to me. Especially the Pyrex since I had been enjoying even before it's posh vintage demand. Included in the pictures is my one piece of French Pyrex, the white bowl with leaves and bird decor.

Yes, the crockpot is so much better to slow cook unless you do want to heat the house with using the oven. So those are my summer vs winter options. Any conclusions as to why it is not available in NZ?

Bread in a "dutch" oven, I will need to try that. Althpugh my Pampered Chef four loaf pan works great. That four loaf pan also works great for making various spicy or flavored meatloaves at once  too. The thermos idea for rice sounds interesting. I am still looking for a perfected method of cooking rice without a rice maker. I figure with all my cookware I just need to learn more. I will not be hopping on the instant pot wagon. I know it is wonderful for many and I am not knocking that, I just like to use what I have to the fullest. I have a friend that cooks a lot of wonderful tasty meals in theirs though. Something about "instant" looses my interest.

The orange pot is an extremely heavy enameled cast iron piece from Food network. A freebie for me and comparable to Le Cruiset. This is my favorite to cook homemade soups and to carmelize onions. Sweet potato soup!

I do use all of my Pyrex. Yet to make a crumble, I don't know why though. Lol. Like someone else said, sometimes with or without lids. I am the only vegetarian in my home. So the various sizes of Pyrex dishes are great for cooking my smaller portions at the same time as the "regular" portion dish for the meat eaters. They also serve as covered servers for food when doing a buffet or family style meal. I also use thrifted handmade pottery for food servers as well. Makes for a lovely natural looking table setting.

Small enamel, made in Poland, sauce pot is great for melting and pouring or heating syrups. Have a wonderful Dansk one as well.

My thrifted Hull pottery bean pot has yet to be used but will be soon.

The McCoy pottery, mini handled crock, inherited, is used to reheat soups in the oven or for the French onion soup to melt the cheese and croutons.

The two tone brown bowls with acorn and leaf decor, I believe they can go in the oven but not certain and have not tried. They are used for servers and even without a lid, keep food warm enough. Made by a name I am not familiar with. Health Economy Cookin -Ware Cook-Rite.

The three little Holly Hobbie crocks can be used in the oven and I have.

My Pampered Chef stoneware gets used almost daily. Work horses for sure.

Does anyone have any input on the large crock pictured? Amana Radarange by Cardinal Stoneware. It is a heavy piece. I do not have a Radarange, nor do I know anything about them past what a brief Google search states. I have read that it could be used in the oven. Any one have experience with these pieces?

The pebble has rippled a bit from the original post topic. 😜 I am always interested in the how's and why's of food prep and storage culturally. Seems a peek into people's kitchens is a peek into their personhood.

Happy cooking all with whatever brings you joy in your kitchen.





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French Pyrex
French Pyrex
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Pyrex
Pyrex
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Pyrex
Pyrex
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Poland enamel pot
Poland enamel pot
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Holly Hobbie crocks
Holly Hobbie crocks
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McCoy crock
McCoy crock
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Hull bean pot
Hull bean pot
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Enameled cast iron
Enameled cast iron
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Pampered Chef stoneware
Pampered Chef stoneware
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Health Economy crocks
Health Economy crocks
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Amana Radarange crock
Amana Radarange crock
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Amana Radarange crock
Amana Radarange crock
 
Anita Martin
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It is interesting to learn about the different cooking utensils you use and the different names!

In my kitchen, I sometimes use a glass pyrex with lid, but at least two times a week a rather cheapish "Bräter" (for making bread), that is a metal roast pot with lid like one of these:
https://www.braetertest.com/braeter-vergleichstabelle/
Edited to add, Mine looks like this:
https://www.welt.de/lifestyle/article2864613/Mit-diesen-Toepfen-wird-Ihr-Braten-zum-Fest.html#cs-braeter-1-manufactum-BM-Lifestyle-Hamburg-jpg.jpg

Germans like to have high-quality cooking gear so quite a lot have an original Le Creuset (or one of the copies).
My neighbour has one of those plus a Duch Oven. Here in Germany a Dutch Oven is more for Outdoor cooking and yes, you can put coals on the lid.
They would look like this:
https://www.gartentotal.de/dutch-oven-feuertopf-gusseisen-topf-25cm-5448?sPartner=BingDE

I often read about US Americans who try to avoid cooking in the hot months. No problem here as we don't get very high temperatures and the oven (of the stove) is well-insulated and we don't have gas knobs but ceramic fields and the heating effect is minimal.
That might also explain the different strategy in cooking methods?
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
I often read about US Americans who try to avoid cooking in the hot months. No problem here as we don't get very high temperatures and the oven (of the stove) is well-insulated and we don't have gas knobs but ceramic fields and the heating effect is minimal.
That might also explain the different strategy in cooking methods?



I think this might be one reason yes, for 8 months of the year I want the extra heat (though electric/gas heat is more expensive than the furnace) for 3 months I don't care either way and maybe 4 weeks I leave a window open! I scored a lovely steam juicer from a relative who was moving into care because everyone else in the family has induction hobs and this cooker is an expensive one with a copper base so it won't work for any of them! Saying that the glass plate on my hob broke last week I was canning and heard a CRACK I thought a jar had broken but couldn't fine a problem, it was only after when cleaning the cooker I found the entire plate has cracked all the way across... sigh time to find a "new" cooker.
 
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When I see those beautiful stoneware crock pots, I wish we had them here too! Shipping from the USA will be much too expensive, of course.
The stoneware pots (or jars) we know here are as shown here: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keulse_pot "Keulse pot' means they are from Köln (Cologne) in Germany. They were used for making Sauerkraut a.a.

Then about enamel. Pots with enamel are used here in the Netherlands. Most of them are not cast iron, but steel (thinner and lighter than cast iron and not as breakable).
Here are three pots I use:


One is cast iron (the black with white inside, at the left). Even if you don't lift it to feel the weight, you can see it at the rim of the pot.
The heavy cast iron enamel pots are used for 'hachée', which in Dutch means a beef dish with onions that has simmered for some hours. The thinner enamel pots are for cooking in general, like soups, stews, rice. In the past (until about 1950) for simmering a paraffin stove (in Dutch: petroleumstel) was used. Like this one:

Nowadays theyr aren't in use anymore, but real collectors items!

I like to see the difference in such ordinary things, like cooking, in different countries (different cultures).
Even two European countries, Denmark and the Netherlands, are different. So probably the cultures in different states of the USA are different too!
 
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All the different baking dishes reminds me of my grandma's Schlemmertopf. It's an oblong, unglazed clay vessel.

You're supposed to soak it in water before using it to keep the food inside moist while cooking. I don't know how long my grandma had hers before she died and my dad took it over, but it's now so seasoned it no longer absorbs water. Almost black.

Roast dinners at my grandma's when I was a kid were always made in this, and that's what my dad uses it for. My mum will sometimes bake no knead bread in it.

I know they were sold in North America, but no one I knew had ever seen one. I saw one in a thrift store one time, but it looked newer than my grandma's.
 
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Jan White wrote:All the different baking dishes reminds me of my grandma's Schlemmertopf. It's an oblong, unglazed clay vessel.

You're supposed to soak it in water before using it to keep the food inside moist while cooking. I don't know how long my grandma had hers before she died and my dad took it over, but it's now so seasoned it no longer absorbs water. Almost black.

Roast dinners at my grandma's when I was a kid were always made in this, and that's what my dad uses it for. My mum will sometimes bake no knead bread in it.

I know they were sold in North America, but no one I knew had ever seen one. I saw one in a thrift store one time, but it looked newer than my grandma's.


That one I know too. We call it Römertopf (which is German for Roman pot, it doesn't have a Dutch name). In the 1970s and '80s it was 'in'. That was the time (as a young adult) I used it. Especially with a combination of chicken, herbs and vegetables in it.
Later I saw them in thrift stores, but I'll never buy such an unglazed pot second hand, because it gets the taste of what was in it. Because myself I use pots in which I don't cook anymore as pots for houseplants ... you never know what someone else did with a pot ... But I do buy enamel, glass or stainless steel pots second hand. They don't hold the taste of what was in it before.
 
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I used the hay box but a lot of what I cooked had meat or fish which needs a higher temperature for safe cooking.  I learned this method from a little old lady.  I dug a squarrish hole which I used for the summer and fall.  I filled a large metal pot with a tight lid and heated up the contents on the fire.  I put some hot coals and ashes in the hole.  I put in the pot and put more coals and ash around the pot and covered the pot as well.  I then put some grass with roots in soil over the hole.  You leave it there for a few hours and then have a good warm meal.  The house stays cool, just one pot to wash, and it took no electricity.  I made the fire with branches from pruning or winter storm damage.  I don't use coal, but the coal produced by the fire.  I made stews, baked beans, soups, etc.
  We also had a mobile crock pot.  In the military you travel with large transport trucks.  You weren't traveling in areas that had restaurants. You put you raw food in tin foil.  You put potato slices around the outside of the meat you were cooking.  The potatoes might get scorched but your meat wouldn't.  You wrap it well in tin foil and place it on the truck's motor.  You can hold it in place with wire or metal mesh bags.  When you got there you had a hot meal and no dishes.
 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
Later I saw them in thrift stores, but I'll never buy such an unglazed pot second hand, because it gets the taste of what was in it. Because myself I use pots in which I don't cook anymore as pots for houseplants ... you never know what someone else did with a pot ... But I do buy enamel, glass or stainless steel pots second hand. They don't hold the taste of what was in it before.



My romertopf is a thrift store purchase and I've used it to cook roast chicken & duck, stews, bake bread and just last night we had a slow cooked leg of goat that had been marinated in yoghurt, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, chili and garam marsala. I gave it a good sniff this morning and cannot smell the spices at all. I haven't noticed any taint in the taste of the bread nor any other dishes that have been cooked in it previously. We have a wide selection of unglazed terracotta and clay pots in our household and I've not noticed the smell of food that has been cooked in them previously lingering. The pots are soaked in plain hot water after we finish cooking, scrubbed with a stiff brush and allowed to dry with the lid off before putting them away.

I would love to have a larger romertopf and would not be concerned about purchasing another second hand one so long as i can give it a good sniff before buying!
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our thrift shop romertopf
our thrift shop romertopf
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Romertopf
Romertopf
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roast wild duck cooked in the romertopf
roast wild duck cooked in the romertopf
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Rice cooked in a clay pot
Rice cooked in a clay pot
 
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This thread keeps getting more interesting with all those contributions!

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
The stoneware pots (or jars) we know here are as shown here: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keulse_pot "Keulse pot' means they are from Köln (Cologne) in Germany. They were used for making Sauerkraut a.a.


I have never thought about the origin of those salt-glazed pots, I just took them for typical German. In most households will you find some of those in different sizes. They are not only used for fermenting but there are smaller ones that hold Schmalz (either goose or pig's lard) and little jugs called Bembel for the typical Hessian Apple Cider.

I always thought they are quite old-fashioned and don't really like the style, but it seems they are quite useful - you can even use them in the stove, microwave and put them in the dishwasher!

I also grew up with dishes from the Römertopf. My mum used it in the 70ies. I believe all women of that era used a Römertopf and went to yoga classes!
As far as I remember, it is still in my parents' house.
Römertopf is a branded name so the competition came up with "Schlemmertopf". You can find brands and no-name types at any flea market.

Johanna, the method you describe is (or was) used in many cultures.
I know that in Chile there is a traditional dish with beef still prepared in a coal-covered hole in the ground (curanto).
In Mexico they use a piglet, in Morocco it is sheep.



 
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They still sell Römertopf!  I went mad a few months ago and bought 3 on Amazon DE, after finding a ton of cookbooks while clearing out my mom's attic.  (She probably has a dozen Römertöpfe in the attic, too, but I haven't gotten that far AND they're more difficult to cart home in luggage.)

I have a regular one, one that's square in the shorter dimension of the regular one, and a "brick" which is apparently to be filled with veggies and tucked into a barbeque.

I also have a big metal roaster, yes, from the Rewe WMF promotions.    It fits a Thanksgiving turkey nicely, and BTW the regular Römertopf fits perfectly inside for storage!
 
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Morfydd St. Clair wrote:They still sell Römertopf!  I went mad a few months ago and bought 3 on Amazon DE, after finding a ton of cookbooks while clearing out my mom's attic.  (She probably has a dozen Römertöpfe in the attic, too, but I haven't gotten that far AND they're more difficult to cart home in luggage.)


Congrats!
A tip for all owners of a well-used Römertopf/Schlemmertopf:
I have just read that you can get rid of the inner coating (patina) that builds up after multiple uses with boiling vinegar solution.
This is advisable as the coating prevents the ceramic from soaking up enough water before cooking.

After reading the pros on this wikipedia site I might even consider getting the Römertopf of my mum which isn't used now!
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B6mertopf
Some of the pros:
Stove will keep clean
Minimal smells
Food is unlikely to overcook and dry out
No fat and hardly any liquid is necessary and still the food will be juicy

I can imagine using it for veggie roasting.

(edited to add links in English)
https://www.foodandwine.com/meat-poultry/chicken/how-to-cook-best-roast-chicken-romertopf
https://restonlloyd.com/pages/romertopf-first-time-use
 
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