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Old 02-06-2005, 02:35 PM   #1
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Is the Descoware I found at a Flea Market safe to use?

Could anyone tell me if the Descoware Duch oven I just picked up at a flea market is safe to cook in? It's in good condition but has a crack in the paint on the inside. I don't think the cast iron is cracked. I know it's got some age to it and am worried about lead. It is stained. Any tips on cleaning it? thanks Layla

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Old 02-06-2005, 03:15 PM   #2
 
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Don't worry. It is safe, I have some Descoware myself.

Chips and cracks will make it harder to clean, but it is not toxic.
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Old 02-06-2005, 11:55 PM   #3
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layla76..........I'm so jealous of you. So what kind of deal did you get? I found one piece in awesome condition last fall at a little antique shop in the town I grew up in. The lady obviously didn't know what it was as I got it for 9.99. Its a beautiful yellow oblong dutch oven.......at least thats what I call it . I love cooking in it. Its a piece that I leave out on my stove all the time for decoration also. I can't wait to find more.
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Old 02-07-2005, 02:52 AM   #4
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Re: Is the Descoware I found at a Flea Market safe to use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by layla76
Could anyone tell me if the Descoware Duch oven I just picked up at a flea market is safe to cook in? It's in good condition but has a crack in the paint on the inside. I don't think the cast iron is cracked. I know it's got some age to it and am worried about lead. It is stained. Any tips on cleaning it? thanks Layla
Layla - cast iron doesn't contain lead.

The "paint" on the inside is actually "glass" (porcelin enamel) - it's not the same material but you can think about it as being a cast iron pot with a Corningware interior. If it's just cracks in the glaze ... chances are that when you preheat it the "glass" will expand and it will be a pretty good surface - not perfect, but good.

This stuff can stain. For cleaning, something like "Bar Keepers Friend", or "Bon Amie" would be a good choice. Sometimes, something like "Comet" or some other cleaner with bleach in it "might" help get rid of some of some of the staining. It's a tough surface so you don't have to worry about scrubbing it with a "Scotch-Brite" pad .... but don't use steel wool or anything like that because then you will scratch the surface.
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Old 01-06-2008, 07:58 PM   #5
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I've owned a single piece of Descoware for a long time. I think my mom gave it to me when I was in college. It's an oval shaped small dutch oven in yellow. I've used it regularly all these years. I especially like it for roasting chicken and cooking stews or braised meats. Just used it tonight for lamb shanks. It's always made cooking so easy and the food gets rave reviews.

Interestingly, we had a friend over yesterday for cooking and my wife told her the piece was from Belgium. I must have known that once, but I was surprised when she said it yesterday. So I Googled Descoware and a whole new world opened, including this website. I look forward to participating in the forums.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:29 PM   #6
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I love Descoware. I bought a 5qt dutch oven on eBay. I got it cheap because there was no lid. I have a glass lid that fits it perfectly. I am always on the lookout for a descoware lid. If I don't find one it's not big deal. It works perfectly for me.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:46 PM   #7
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There are some lids on eBay most of the time. Just know the size you need and ask the seller if it is not specified. Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:48 AM   #8
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Just for reference:

Most of these were made in the 50's and 60's and are out of business.

Descoware was Belgian
Dru was Dutch
Copco was Danish
Husqvarna made enameled cast iron at one time. Sweden
Le Creuset and Cousances are French and are still made.
The new stuff, like Mario Batali's line is probably made in China
Lodge is, I believe, still made in the US, but not enameled

I have examples of most of these in my collection, all bought on ebay.

My theory is that they were made after WW2 from cheap iron left from burned out tanks and such.
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:49 AM   #9
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Walt Bulander, expanding your list:

Cousances has been acquired by Le Creuset, the brand is still alive but is not longer an independant producer.
Lodge has an new enameled line that I believe is manufactured in China.
Chefmate (sold mostly by Target, has enameled and plain cast iron) is made in China.
IKEA has a cast iron cookware line called Senior (6 items) that is produced in France.
Tramontina sells enameled cast iron items, produced in Brazil and China.

I believe yout theory has validity, but relative to manufacturing processes. Tanks and most arms are made out of steel, not iron.
After both wars, foundries became extremely efficient and they needed to produce items to generate employment too. Some regions like Liege in Belgium and the Rhur in Germany were legendary for the amount of cast iron they used to produce.
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