Participants learned the basics of using these versatile iron pots to prepare a menu that included yeast rolls, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, garlic chicken with new potatoes and green beans, purple hull peas and country style pork ribs. Guided by the instructors, the group divided into breads, main dishes and vegetables to prepare the meal. Some preferred to simply observe the process which was also encouraged. When the dinner bell rang, seventeen folks eagerly sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
The use of these versatile iron pots dates back centuries and the term “dutch ovens” today is widely used to describe any pot with a lid, whether it is cast iron or aluminum. But the classic dutch oven is cast iron with a flat, fitted lid, bale (wire handle) and three legs which allows for the use of coals under and on top of the pot for cooking.
While the actual origin of the Dutch oven is lost to history, there is documented use of the iron pots in Holland in the early 1700’s. How and when it came to the U.S. is unknown, but probably with the immigration of the Dutch to Pennsylvania (hence the name “Dutch” ovens) but it has been said that Paul Revere created the flanged lid and the basic design of the oven in use today. It has evolved over time as casting methods improved and was widely used during the westward expansion of the United States. As pioneers, homesteaders, miners, and ranchers headed west, the Dutch oven was one of their most prized possessions since entire meals could be cooked in one pot. It was also a valuable trading commodity with trappers and Native Americans. Lewis and Clark, cattle drive cooks, miners and even Civil War soldiers used dutch ovens for cooking.
In 1896 Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee and its best known product was and still is the dutch oven.
The Cherokee Rose Cookers invite anyone interested in dutch oven cooking to join them at their next cooking event. For more information contact Nancy Hudgins, 903.843.2914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.