And we loved it. I cook everything that I can in it, from oatmeal to ratatouille:
Since then, we've acquired a couple new pieces including a blue cast iron and stainless steel sauce pans. I can't even fully explain how much I love my Creuset cookware. It feels durable (hello? cast iron), it looks pretty, and the food cooks fast and evenly.
If you've ever priced out Creuset, you know it's pretty expensive...which is why we've only got a few pieces. We actually scored all the cast-iron enamel pieces (undoubtedly the most expensive) for about 40% off each during various sales at their outlet (seriously, their outlet is the way to go - Williams-Sonoma, on the other hand is the way to go into debt - sorry W-S, but your deals just aren't as good.) The stainless steel sauce pan we got for 25% which was fine because their stainless steel isn't nearly as expensive per piece. I think we've only got a couple more pieces to get and we're covered like a tight fitting lid (bud-um-psshhh) as far as our cookware is concerned (and if you're curious, that would be a skillet and stock pot.) I never thought that I would ever spend so much on cookware, but when you consider that cast iron is considered "generation cookware" because of how long it lasts, I feel much better about it. I've heard from a lot of people who still have their grandmother's cast iron pans and they swear by them.
Onto the weight - they're heavy, plain and simple. While we're still young and agile, the though of lugging a bunch of cast iron around is not my idea of a good time. We used to keep our old cookware in a cabinet next to our oven, but even while it held every piece of our 12-set pots and pans, it wasn't convenient. Because we had no more room in said cabinet, I had been keeping my beautiful Creuset pieces out on the stove or counter so I could look at them and stop by to say hello periodically throughout the day. When I went on my cleaning rampage last week, I threw out our countertop convection oven that we hadn't used in for.ev.er. Now that we had this nice big space on the counter between our stove and sink, I thought, Hey! Why don't I build a shelf for my Creuset pots? So I did.
I used scrap wood that I had laying around, however I did have to pick up some new dark walnut stain because the stuff I had was OLD (and I need it for another project as well) and some Safecoat Acrylacq to seal it. The building itself wasn't too bad, and I finally got to break out the Kreg Jig:
Sorry for the grain, took it with my phone =)
While I don't have any pictures of the subsequent steps, I used a nailer to attach the top, finished sanding, then did two thin and even coats of both stain and sealer with a light sanding in between the layers of sealer.
This was my first time staining/sealing anything, so I was scurred. Almost to the point where I considered not finishing it at all, but if it was going in the kitchen with all the steam and grease, it had to be. After staring it down for a few hours, I jumped in and it went fairly well. I let the stain dry for a good 48+ hours (even though the can only says 24 hours if finishing with a waterborne finish) but because we've had lower temps it needed the extra dry time. The sealer dried fast, and went on smooth since I used thin coats and did my best NOT to go over previously applied sealer as it was drying.
Here's what it looks like in it's new home:
Isn't it lovely? There won't be any modesty here folks, it looks (and feels) awesome! I seriously can't even believe I didn't completely screw it up. Now when I stop by to say hello to my pots I also cop a feel of my new smooth and shiny shelf. I'm also giving it bonus points for taking up even less space than that used-less-than-once-per-year toaster oven. Booyah.
I love combining beauty and functionality, all while doing something I love. So now it's your turn. Have you built anything lately that has made your daily life significantly better? Tell me about it!