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Old 03-20-2016, 10:29 AM   #1
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Le Creuset - Really?

I have to ask - to those of you who tout the wonders of Le Creuset cookware - How do you justify the expense? I got an email this morning from Amazon for several Le Creuset pots "on sale" for around $300.

I don't mean to insult anyone, but that is just nuts for a cooking pot. I can get this lovely Lodge Dutch oven for about $65. I can buy 3 and still save over the French pot.

What can possibly make Le Creuset $240 better?
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:05 AM   #2
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One of the reasons I like our Le Creuset pieces, dutch ovens in particular, is that the lids seem to fit almost surgically tight. With other makers of these ovens, I often have to place a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil between the pot and the lid to make sure there is a good closure.

Another advantage of the enamel-coated Le Creuset is that I can cook anything in it. High acid foods or foods that would damage the seasoning on traditional cast iron vessels. I treasure my cast iron and have close to 50 different pieces, some nearly 100-years-old.

As for the price of Le Creuset, yes, it can be costly. However, all the pieces I've purchased I've either found on eBay or scored a good deal from vendors on the Internet. I have never paid full price for any piece. My best purchase on eBay was a 7-inch skillet for 99 cents, free shipping. What a deal!
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:10 AM   #3
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Absolutely love my Le Creusets. Rarely a day goes by where I don't use at least one of them for something. I've had all but one of mine for over 35 years, and the other one (an Indian Kadai style pan) I bought in London on sale for $80 in 2002. They are truly well made, and even the old ones still look like brand new.

Most of the others I received as gifts. That's how I justify the expense.

As far as the quality of knock-off pans go, the only other enamel glazed pan I've used is a Rachael Ray stew pot I bought a few years ago for $40 (as I recall). Within a year, it had chips in the enamel and the lid would leave rust spots on the stove whenever I took it off the pot and set it to the side. Looked very similar to Le Creuset, but didn't stand up. I gave it to my kid to use in her college rental house. It was a waste of money, in my opinion.I can't speak to the quality of the Lodge product, though.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:16 AM   #4
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Rick, to reverse the question, do you make all your purchases based on how low the price is?
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:26 AM   #5
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I've bought most of my Le Creuset at the outlet store in Williamsburg, VA, at a significant discount - more than half off. My 5.5-quart Dutch oven was a store display piece that had some discoloration on the bottom. I don't care about the bottom Other pieces, like the ceramic casserole and gratin dishes, I've found at TJ Maxx, also at a great discount. A few pieces were gifts. I've never paid full price for any of mine, either.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RPCookin View Post
I have to ask - to those of you who tout the wonders of Le Creuset cookware - How do you justify the expense? I got an email this morning from Amazon for several Le Creuset pots "on sale" for around $300.

I don't mean to insult anyone, but that is just nuts for a cooking pot. I can get this lovely Lodge Dutch oven for about $65. I can buy 3 and still save over the French pot.

What can possibly make Le Creuset $240 better?
Finally someone else shares my views on this! I couldn't agree more, Rick.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:31 AM   #7
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One of the reasons I like our Le Creuset pieces, dutch ovens in particular, is that the lids seem to fit almost surgically tight. With other makers of these ovens, I often have to place a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil between the pot and the lid to make sure there is a good closure.

Another advantage of the enamel-coated Le Creuset is that I can cook anything in it. High acid foods or foods that would damage the seasoning on traditional cast iron vessels. I treasure my cast iron and have close to 50 different pieces, some nearly 100-years-old.
I chose that Lodge DO for comparison because it is enameled too, yet I could buy three of them in different sizes or colors and still pay less than $200, which leaves a lot of money to buy foil, if needed. I guess that for me, the tight fit on the lid isn't worth that much more.

I only have a single All Clad fry pan too, and my wife even questioned paying $89 for that at the seconds sale. Most of my pans are from the heavy weight anodized aluminum nonstick Emerilware (5 pans with lids) that I bought right after our kitchen remodel at least 15 years ago for around $300. I have one small and two large (8", 12" and 14") nonstick fry pans, Bakers and Chefs' brand, none of which cost more than $35, and a stainless clad KA 10" fry pan that came as a free gift with my KA food processor. My 2 DO's, a 6 qt and a Mario Batali 9 qt oval together were less than $200.

I think that every pan I own would not add up to much more than the cost of 2 of those Le Creuset 5 quart DO's from Amazon. That's why the price on their "sale" is such a shock to me. I feel that I can prepare food to the best of my ability without paying such a premium for a name, and I have to believe that is a large part of the cost of Le Creuset.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:37 AM   #8
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Rick, to reverse the question, do you make all your purchases based on how low the price is?
Not entirely, but it is a significant factor. I buy items which will perform their intended function well, at the best price I can justify. As a retired journeyman machinist, I understand the importance of quality tools, but I also learned that quality is often available for much less than the price of premium brand names where the name is half the cost.

I do my research and buy the best quality that is within my budget.

I will add that every pan in my kitchen serves its purpose admirably.
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:46 AM   #9
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...I can get this lovely Lodge Dutch oven for about $65. I can buy 3 and still save over the French pot.

What can possibly make Le Creuset $240 better?
This statement from the Lodge website would make me pause: "Our enameled cast iron is made to our strict specifications by our partner foundry in China." Given the poor track record for Chinese produced durable goods, a higher priced and higher quality item may be a better choice.
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Old 03-20-2016, 12:26 PM   #10
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This statement from the Lodge website would make me pause: "Our enameled cast iron is made to our strict specifications by our partner foundry in China." Given the poor track record for Chinese produced durable goods, a higher priced and higher quality item may be a better choice.
Lodge has a reputation to maintain, so I seriously doubt that they are letting something slide under the radar. Made in China doesn't automatically lead to lead poisoning. I'd wager that Lodge has done the necessary testing to ensure the safety of their product.
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Old 03-20-2016, 01:26 PM   #11
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Lodge has a reputation to maintain, so I seriously doubt that they are letting something slide under the radar. Made in China doesn't automatically lead to lead poisoning. I'd wager that Lodge has done the necessary testing to ensure the safety of their product.
I don't think lead is the issue. I would wonder about the durability of the enamel. I've heard some people have had problems with chipping on newer Lodge enameled pans.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:17 PM   #12
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This questions reminds me of the war of the washing machines when I was first married.

I had just gone shopping for one and came home with a Whirlpool one. It had all the functions that I was looking for. The salesman tried his dangest to talk me into a Maytag. It was considered high end. The Maytag didn't give me the option of water level. It didn't give me the choice of speed of the agitator. And a lot of other things that I was looking for. He tried to tell me that all that was included in the five buttons that were on the face of it plus it had a white enameled tub. I pointed out to him that all tubs were enameled. I wasn't going to be staring at my laundry while it washed. Oh yes, one more advantage. The action stopped when the lid was raised. All washers did that. He was beginning to dislike me more and more. Plus it cost almost three times the price of my Whirlpool. I wasn't looking for pretty, but functional.

Every product has its favorable items of wants along with needs and its own level on the cost of the item. As with the Maytag vs. the Whirlpool, it had to do only with what I wanted and the cost. I got more for my money with the Whirlpool. That machine lasted me for more than 20 years before I had to have a very minor repair that I was able to make myself. So if a tight lid is not important to you, then follow you own wants and needs.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:52 PM   #13
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I don't think lead is the issue. I would wonder about the durability of the enamel. I've heard some people have had problems with chipping on newer Lodge enameled pans.
My 6 qt. isn't even a Lodge - bought for $40 at Sam's Club. It has "China" cast into the bottom, but no other markings. I've had it for 7 years and use it often (4 times in just the last week). No chips, no problems.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:58 PM   #14
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My 6 qt. isn't even a Lodge - bought for $40 at Sam's Club. It has "China" cast into the bottom, but no other markings. I've had it for 7 years and use it often (4 times in just the last week). No chips, no problems.
Unless your Lodge is not enameled, the minute amount of iron that manages to seep into the food is so minute, it isn't even something to show concern about. Think of that iron as a replacement for the vegetarian meal you ate one night.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:26 PM   #15
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I have to ask - to those of you who tout the wonders of Le Creuset cookware - How do you justify the expense? I got an email this morning from Amazon for several Le Creuset pots "on sale" for around $300.

I don't mean to insult anyone, but that is just nuts for a cooking pot. I can get this lovely Lodge Dutch oven for about $65. I can buy 3 and still save over the French pot.

What can possibly make Le Creuset $240 better?
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Finally someone else shares my views on this! I couldn't agree more, Rick.
I'm with you guys.

I could not bring myself to pay $300.00 for a pan, even a French pan with a fancy name! I think they are a good product and I would buy them if I found them at an estate sale or auction etc... at a much lower price. I enjoy the game of doing more with less.

I also understand Andy's comment, sometimes it is not about the price or the pan. If having them gives you pleasure or makes you feel more confident in the kitchen then by all means buy them and enjoy them.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:43 PM   #16
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I also understand Andy's comment, sometimes it is not about the price or the pan. If having them gives you pleasure or makes you feel more confident in the kitchen then by all means buy them and enjoy them.
I think this is the justification for buying Le Creuset.

Personally, I can't justify the multiple in pricing for LC. It's just a pot. I have a 6 qt. Lodge that I bought for $60. A Le Creuset is $300. I have a cute little Food Network brand 3 qt. that I bought specifically for bread for $35 at Kohl's Black Friday sale. The Le Creuset is $230 - $280 at Amazon, depending on color. I could replace both of them several times over for the price of LC. I don't see any performance shortcomings with either, so there is no desire for anything better.

The claim is that Le Creuset will last a lifetime, but at my age a lifetime isn't what it used to be, so the Lodge should work just fine for the duration.
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Old 03-20-2016, 04:01 PM   #17
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We can draw similar comparisons with any other kitchen cookware, gadgets, or appliances. For instance......a $3,000 fridge vs a $9,000 fridge, a no-name $30 rice cooker vs a name brand $200 rice cooker..... Similar performances for the most part, just different brands....
Thing is, buy and use what makes you happy in the kitchen....
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Old 03-20-2016, 04:39 PM   #18
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I bought my cosmetically defective LeC from a factory outlet store. Paid about half price. I'm really happy with it. Back when I bought it, there wasn't the variety of options available today. You were pretty much limited to LeC. In recent years, enameled cast-iron cookware has become available under numerous brand names. Many celebrity chefs have their own brands, as does Lodge. Staub, another old line company, wasn't a big deal in the USA back then either.

I recently bought a smaller sized Staub for under $100.
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Old 03-20-2016, 04:44 PM   #19
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We can draw similar comparisons with any other kitchen cookware, gadgets, or appliances. For instance......a $3,000 fridge vs a $9,000 fridge, a no-name $30 rice cooker vs a name brand $200 rice cooker..... Similar performances for the most part, just different brands....
Thing is, buy and use what makes you happy in the kitchen....
I think there are differences, it's just a question of what people are willing to pay for them. I don't think that anyone will say that Lodge is the equivalent of Le Creuset, but for a lot of people Lodge is good enough. A microprocessor controlled rice cooker does a better job on brown rice and other grains, and it can cook oatmeal in whole milk (which an on/off cooker can't), but for a lot of people that capability isn't worth the extra expense. You'll find this is true with many things we buy. However, there are usually diminishing returns once you cross a certain threshold.
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Old 03-20-2016, 05:51 PM   #20
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I think this is the justification for buying Le Creuset.

Personally, I can't justify the multiple in pricing for LC. It's just a pot. I have a 6 qt. Lodge that I bought for $60. A Le Creuset is $300. I have a cute little Food Network brand 3 qt. that I bought specifically for bread for $35 at Kohl's Black Friday sale. The Le Creuset is $230 - $280 at Amazon, depending on color. I could replace both of them several times over for the price of LC. I don't see any performance shortcomings with either, so there is no desire for anything better.
Again - I have never paid anywhere near full price for any of my Le Creuset pieces. They are available in outlet stores and places like TJ Maxx and Home Goods at a significant discount.

And I like pretty things They make me happy.
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