I am not even kidding...I should pay someone to come up with titles for my posts.
If you saw this post on Coq Au Vin, you got a glimpse of one of the members of the family. The Dutch Oven. Her name is Betty. I'll save how some of the items in my kitchen get their name for another day. She was the only thing I asked for for my birthday. (I lead an extremely crazy life).
The reason I post this is because when most of us think of glorious enameled cast iron dutch ovens, we think of Le Crueset. And at least for me, the next thought is Holy Lots of Money for enamel coated cast iron. I still really really wanted one, but at $230.00 I debated on asking for it. The truth is, Jim probably would have bought it for me, but I would have thought about what we could have spent that money on EVERY time I used it.
That is where Cooks Illustrated magazine (the magazine I could not live without - again, I tell you - crazy life) once again saved the day. My birthday is in Feb, and in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue was a review on dutch ovens. Le Crueset was their favorite, but they also tested and recommended two much lower price models as an alternative to the Le Crueset. The brands tested and recommended were Tramontina (6.5quarts) and Lodge Logic (6 quarts). At 39.99 and 49.99 respectively, both were much more budget friendly. I would not question the quality of the Le Crueset and think its a beautiful (really, I do) and the Le Crueset is 7 1/4 quarts at $230.00, however, I do think there are times when high price doesn't always mean better. I went with the Lodge Logic, because the only place I could find Tramontina was Wal Mart and EVERY store I went to/called/searched online for was out of the 6.5 quart. I love my Lodge Logic and I have never had an issue with its size of 6 quarts.
So, if you have been wanting a dutch oven (if my brother or any other guy is reading this, GROW UP), but didn't want to shell out $200.00 give one of these two brands a try.