The italian crock pot

Italians do it slower. Yes, sometimes it’s true. Especially when clay pots comes into play. Clay pots have enormous disadvantages compared to normal pots. They’re fragile. And they break if in contact with direct fire, which means you need more tools to cook them with. They also require special treatment when cleaning, to avoid soap being absorbed. You can’t really fry on them, water requires a lot of time to evaporate.
But they also have an enormous advantage over other pots. They absorbs and release flavors between a cook and another. They have a special taste themselves which I’d call rustic. And food almost never burn of them. They keep warmth longer, and when you cook on them, most of the house smells of something… ancient.

They were most used in the past, when many poor people had the kitchen range with the wood oven, and the kitchen was also the warmest room in winter. Most of our dishes are now cooked using normal pots, but i feel like something has been left behind in the transition.

Someone says, if you hate someone, give him a clay pot as a gift.

I reserve clay pots for special dishes, like ragu, or caciucco. Beans and sausages. And i love to cook on them in winter, even if it requires twice the cooking time of a normal pot. I like to invite friends for dinner, and being able to talk with them while meal is cooking because it’ll almost never burn even if i forget to stir it. And I do love the smell and the taste they give to our dishes and to the whole house.

To cook on a clay pot, you just need something to avoid it to be in direct contact with a flame, in italian called frangifiamma. I’m gonna cook with them from time to time, and if you find one, and it’s not that expensive, you should buy it and try. It’s worth it.

An italian food critic once said “if you hate someone, give him a clay pot as a gift”. That’s one of the few times i really want to have more enemies than friends!!!

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