We have to thank people in the past for making cooking vessels because with them we are able to have so many different dishes and not only the huge variety of menus based on each region, they are also helpful to give distinct result on the finished products such as the popular Cocotte Vs Dutch Oven. These two are used interchangeably today but there might be some differences back then and if you wonder what they are, go check our article below.
In this article, we are going to give you information about:
- What is the First Cooking Vessel
- What are Cocotte and Dutch Oven
- What Cocotte and Dutch Oven Look Like
- When Dutch Oven Started Being Used
- When Cocotte Started Being Used
- What Cocotte and Dutch Oven are Used For
- Cocotte Vs Dutch Oven
History of Cooking Vessels
Who doesn’t love delicious foods because chances we all adore them and even sometimes can go the extra miles just to enjoy a special menu that only offered at certain times or travel to different countries just to try an exotic dishes we saw on the internet. The process of making food or cooking itself is also considered an art to many of us because not only knowledge on the ingredients and cooking process, we often have to pay attention to the appearance as well.
We can’t imagine how modern cooking will look like without our ancestors invention back then and besides stove which is very helpful in the cooking process as well as convenient, we also have to thank them for the huge variants of cookware or bakeware because while the stove help the cooking process, the vessels are doing its job in creating the dish. In the past they were probably made from one or two materials but today, they are varying widely; sometimes each material give a different result to a dish.
The first cooking vessels are unknown and we are talking about the pre-pottery era because the limited archeological evidence found to support the theory but if we are using pottery as the first documented cooking vessel then it was first used in 19,600 +/- 400 BP which evidence as discovered in Jiangxi, China. It was made by hunter-gatherers and it was probably used for roasting their food or basic roasting because people from stone age besides exposing food directly to fire, they also cover them with clay or large leaves to preserve the moisture.
These types of pots are also useful for people who were living far from a natural hot spring because they don’t have a direct access to natural heated water sources. Besides cooking on top of fire, it seems some of them also use heated stones to cover the clay vessels and heat the water inside. In which clay pot is not used, some people in certain region especially those living near the sea shore use the shell of large mollusk to provide a vessel for their water.
About Cocotte and Dutch Oven
As civilization is developing people start to use different materials to make their cooking vessels and since we are using them everyday, a heavy duty materials like steel was so popular back then and even now. They used to be heavy and inconvenient for the cook to move around but they are indeed very durable while today’s manufacturers incorporate a lot of elements to make cookware as light and as easy to take care of but still durable such as by building them from different material in each layer.
Cookware or vessels can be very similar to each other and depending on where you live, they will have different names as well while some region may still have their traditional cookware that we can’t find in other parts of the earth. Some of them also resembles each other which can be confusing sometimes, especially if you are in the market for a new cookware but among others, two of the most popularly interchangeable vessels are Cocotte and Dutch Oven.
Both of them are very similar to each other and while it is hard to differentiate which one is which, they are not necessarily need to be set apart from each other because the fact is today these names are used interchangeably to call the same cooking vessels and there is not enough information regarding how people determine the difference between the two. According to Wikipedia, the word Dutch Oven itself already being used since at least 1710 yet there is no information about when Cocotte is started being used.
In general Cocotte and Dutch Oven are the same cookware with round or oval in shape that are heavy and often used to cook dishes with high moisture such as stew or baking pie because they heavy lid which is designed to keep the moisture inside from steaming out of the vessel. They can be interchangeably today but some companies such as Le Creuset are offering both of these types of vessels so depending on the manufacturers, there might be some differences whether on the design or on the material being used.
In addition, besides how reliable and convenient Cocotte and Dutch Oven are, they are also mostly made from cast-iron and this is the reason why users are fond of the vessels because since to for example copper, aluminum, or non-stick cookware, cast iron not only have no potential health risk but also because it is easy to maintain and last very long; sometimes even to next generations. Read also: Cuckoo Vs Tiger Ricecooker.
Cocotte and Dutch Oven Design
As you can see on the sample picture above, both of them are coming from the same manufacturer or brand which is Le Creuset and we are going to use the products from this brand as a comparison here to make things simpler. Cocotte and Dutch Oven are more often than not come in a round shape with a thick walls and a heavy lids as well as a handle on both sides which are made from the same material as the vessels.
They are heavy depending on the size and what’s unique is a company like Le Creuset is offering two types of Cocotte in their catalogue; the one made from stoneware and the other is made from cast-iron or the same to Dutch Oven. The difference is they seem to also have Cocotte in various shapes such as heart shape, pumpkin, or even flower while Dutch Oven only available in either round or oval shape.
Dutch Oven History and Term
Comparing these two vessels, the first term being used to call the cookware is Dutch Oven and it is dating back to the 17th century where brass was the preferred metal for English cookware and domestic utensils but they were so expensive at that time despite the Dutch has been manufacturing them at the lowest cost. A man named Abraham Darby who was a partner in the Brass Works Company in Bristol visit the Netherlands in 1704 and learned the Dutch method of working brass including casting of brass pots.
He returned with the new technique and started a new brass mill in the Baptist Mills section of Bristol but he realized that he can sell more kitchen wares if the cost was reduced and to achieve lower cost he replaced brass with cheaper metal, hence we have cast iron. The initial trial was unsuccessful but with the help from one of his workers, James Thomas the cookware cast in iron method was completed. Since this method was derived from the Dutch process, we then called it as Dutch Oven.
In the American cookery itself, Dutch Oven refers to two different vessels; the first one being the big kettle with a tight lid we can hang over a cooking fire and the second is also called as bake kettle that can be set directly on top of a bed of hot coals with a tight lid and a deep lip to put more hot stones or coals to allow more heat seeping into the vessels and more even cooking process.
Cocotte History and Term
As for Cocotte which also known as French Cocotte, there is no information on when it started being used to refer the same cookware but as French cuisine is getting more popular here in the U.S., the term is also being used to call the dishes made within the pot that resembles casserole. The term itself seems to emerged as the cookware called Dutch Oven was spreading across Europe then somehow creates new shapes and names by different regions like Cocotte, Doefeu, and Cassadou.
Cocotte and Dutch Oven Application
In practice, both Cocotte and Dutch Oven are used in a similar situation or similar cooking method that makes them an interchangeable both in names and in application. For example, they are great for cooking pasta in their sauce as well as convenient to serve so the cook doesn’t have to boil in one pot and cook the sauce on the other. They are also ideal for slow cooking in which ingredients have to be simmered for hours so dishes like stews are best when cooked with one.
Cocotte vs Dutch Oven
|- Appears after Dutch Oven||- Started being used at least since 1710|
|- Some may be made from stoneware||- Made from cast iron|
|- Some have various shapes/design||- Shape are either round or oval|
|- Can refer to the dish (casserole) as well||- Used only for the cookware|
These cookware are very similar to each other and while the term may vary depending on where you live or from which brand they comes from, as long as they are made from cast iron and have thick walls, tight heavy lid and handle on both sides, then they are actually the same cookware we knew as Dutch Oven. However, it seems there are some models made from stoneware as well so rather than then terms, we should pay attention to the material being used or overall quality of the vessel.
All in all at the end of the day terms don’t play an important role in deciding whether a product is ideal for your application or not but we have to decide from the material or shape especially based on what we need them for. Cocotte and Dutch Oven may sound different but most of the time they are the same cookware.