COOKING IN CLAY
Cooking in clay has been a staple of culinary traditions worldwide and remains an irreplaceable element of dishes in many cuisines. One of my goals as a potter is to reintroduce the magic of cooking in clay to modern kitchens. Micaceous clay cooking pots are durable, lightweight and excellent for both cooking and serving. The unique properties of mica offer excellent heat retention and allow these pots to withstand the thermal shock of direct heat. These earthenware vessels retain a memory for what they have held and will develop a rich patina with use. Micaceous cookware is safe for use in ovens, on gas or electric range tops and over open flames. For electric coil stoves, a heat diffuser is ideal, as it helps to regulate the temperature.
Each micaceous vessel is a unique handmade piece that will only improve with time if you treat them well. This clay is slightly porous and has memory for what it has held. Over time it will develop a beautiful patina and seasoning that adds depth to food and drink. Cooking in clay is best suited to dishes that are allowed a bit of time to develop. Soups, stews, sauces, braises, legumes, pulses, grains, meats, seafood and vegetables can all be prepared in these pots. Some shapes are more versatile than others. But a bean pot isn’t just for beans!
Cooking in these vessels reminds me daily of the generosity of the places that feed me and keeps me connected to a long tradition of reciprocity between humans and land. I see cooking in clay pots as another solution in the vein of the Slow Food movement, to help heal the deep disconnection between some people and their foods and culinary practices.
Food and Wine Magazine put out a wonderful article by Mary-Frances Heck about clay pot cooking that featured one of my bean pots. It is a great introduction to the wide world of clay pots of all kinds.