November 28, 2015

From Handcrafted Dinnerware to Clay Pot Cooking

With the increase in interest in handcrafted dinnerware items, many people are becoming even more adventurous in their quest to return to more traditional dining techniques. Now, you might be wondering how they could do that. After all, once you’ve cast aside those machine-made dishes and replaced them with fine handmade artisan dishes like those found in our Gaia Collection, what left is there to do? Well, it turns out that there are quite a few more things you can put on that “to-do list.” And you can start with clay pots!


If you’re any sort of cook at all, chances are that you’ve seen or heard about clay pot cooking at some point in your life. Even if all you’re ever used are steel skillets, pots, and pans, you’ve almost certainly seen ceramic casserole dishes or similar items in other people’s homes. Have you ever wondered why people would want to cook with those seemingly old-fashioned instruments when there are so many more options available to them? Here’s a hint: they do it for the same reason that you have your handmade dishes! There’s a world of difference between cooking in a metal sauce pan and using a clay pot.


Let’s start with the most important feature: the cooking process itself. As you might know already, clay has a porous quality. That’s one of the reasons why so many people are so intent on ensuring that their dishes are properly glazed: you don’t want that moisture seeping into the pores of the dish where it could allow bacteria to thrive. With pots, that porous quality enables moisture to move around through the pot’s structure during the cooking process. At the same time, that same porous quality permits heat to better circulate as well.


Here’s why that matters. When heat is allowed to circulate like that, the food cooks more evenly, and can thus cook more slowly as well. That enables you to achieve the results you want without subjecting your ingredients to conditions that can sometimes strip them of nutrition and taste.


And then there is the fact that clay pots tend to neutralize some of the acidic qualities inherent in certain foods. That permits you to use really strong ingredients that would normally be too acidic for many dishes, and end up with a final culinary creation that has a far more enticing taste than it might otherwise have if cooked in a steep pot. Also, many cooks prefer the earthenware variety, and also tend to choose pots that are left unglazed. The glazing process can diminish these effects somewhat, so try to find pots without that finishing touch.


You can also find many other clay cooking pots, pans, and skillets, and that means that you can finally do away with those metal instruments forever. You’ve already made the choice to utilize more natural products when you dine, so why not take it a step further and start cooking with handcrafted pots and pans as well?