Artifact of the Week — May 4, 2023

Posted by on May 4, 2023

Dutch Oven Cooking this Saturday

Join Cindy Bunch as she discusses cooking your favorite treat prepared in a Dutch oven – cobbler! Cindy will also give everyone a chance to create junk journals and scrapbook pages as we wait for our cobbler to become perfectly cooked. Come with old pictures you want to include in your scrapbook.

In anticipation to Saturday’s 1:00 event, let’s dive into the depths of the Dutch oven and answer the burning question – what is so Dutch about this cookware?

Cooking with cast iron is far from new. Originating in China over 2500 years ago, the art of cooking from an iron vessel has a long history. However, it took a while for the idea to spread since cast iron cookware did not surface in Europe until 1300 years later.

In the 1600s, craftsmen in the Netherlands cast pots using sand and brass, creating more detailed pots at a lower cost than using other materials. Abraham Darby, an enterprising English industrialist, became enamored with these pots. Upon his return to his homeland, he determined to use cast iron rather than brass, thereby creating the first “modern” sand-molded cast iron pot in 1707, which he baptized the Dutch oven after the area where he discovered the talented tradesmen who created cookware.

You may be familiar with an enameled version of the Dutch oven, which first appeared in 1891 thanks to another Dutchman, Johannes Berk Van Kampen. At the time, this enameled cookware was immensely popular, especially in France where it gained the moniker cocotte. Highly prized, these colorful enamel Dutch ovens have been a mainstay in French cuisine.

OIRM’s Dutch oven, courtesy of Ms. Polly Livingston
OIRM’s Dutch oven, courtesy of Ms. Polly Livingston

OIRM’s Dutch oven comes to us courtesy of Ms. Polly Livingston, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Fred Livingston, Sr. used it during the 1930s and ‘40s. We showcase many examples of cast iron cookware in our covered wagon on display. Batesville’s pioneers valued the versatility of cast iron since it could be used over an open fire while traveling as well as back at the homestead.

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