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Cooking with Clay: Castelnaudary, France

After India, but before Italy, my obsession was France. I would read the Paris Match on the bus in San Francisco and pretend I could understand most of it. "Any of it" would have been a victory. I just wanted to travel and be sophisticated more than just about anything. Funny how things change!

I'd read about Poterie Not on Kate Hill's wonderful blog years ago and hinted to the lovely Kate that it would be really nice for her to bring me back a proper cassoulet pot. I hinted that I would like one by screaming and crying and pleading with her as I howled at the moon, refusing to stop until this famous clay was mine. It didn't work.

Another friend told me about a mail order source and well, there you have it. I now have several pieces.


The classic Cassole.


Gratin dish


The dish in action!


Diable! It's the devil in clay form. It's really more like a chicken coffin.


You stuff a chicken and put it inside with vegetables and a glass of wine and all I can say is it's well worth it.

I've ordered twice through the mail from France. The first time things went off without a problem. The second time, I ordered two diable by mistake but it was a good thing as one broke and this was months ago and I'm still dealing with it. It looks like I will never be compensated. The French post only will pay a small part (and none of the shipping) and in order for that to happen, you have to have the US post help you and let's just say it's been a lesson in anger management. I can't recommend the company, the French post or the US postal service. But I'm happy with the French clay I have and I think I'll have to leave it at that.


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