Cooking vessels have evolved so much from when our ancestors are still making everything from clay or doing pottery but their shape doesn’t change much in comparison. As users are getting varied and language becomes more complicated, some of them are the same yet different such as French Oven Vs Dutch Oven. They are actually the same vessel in general but some might be different as well and to know more about these cookware, go check how they get the different terms below.
In this article, we are going to give you information about:
- When people start using Cooking Vessel
- What are French Oven and Dutch Oven
- What French Oven and Dutch Oven Look Like
- Why it is Called as Dutch Oven
- Why it is Called as French Oven
- What French Oven and Dutch Oven are used for
- French Oven Vs Dutch Oven
Cooking Vessel Evolution
Have you ever wondered why we have so many cooking tools today that sometimes a type of cookware just coming in your TV ads or on certain site ads especially those cooking websites? They used to be few of them in the past and thanks to our nature of always want to be convenient, we do have a lot of them today from those various cooking compartment or vessels to unique cutlery and cooking tools that will ease your job in the kitchen.
Going back to when our ancestors were still hunting to survive, the cooking activity itself was developed after they found fire which is around 300,000 to 400,000 years back while a cave in South Africa prove that our ancestors were using fire since 2 million years ago. The exact time when they start cooking food with fire however, is debatable but supposed to be not long after and the reason is because foods last longer when being cooked for it kills bacteria, but also because they taste better.
Before there is cooking vessels made from few single material back then, people are boiling water far after discovering fire and at the start they are not directly boiling them for the method being used is stone boiling. This method used hot stones from a pit in which they have created fire and then dumped the stone in certain vessel filled with water. Far after this method was found, people then start to be more creative and created earthenware vessels.
The next evolution is the discovery of pottery in which the oldest trusted source was found in China and spreading throughout the region while the knowledge traveled west. Some earliest evidence was found to date back between 25000-29000 BCE and beside China they are also found in Japan. The earliest pottery was very basic and they can’t be used with higher heat so when people discovered open firing, the vessels began to be used at higher temperatures as well as lead to discovery about ceramic and porcelain.
Moving to a more modernized era, metalware was first used around 9000 BCE and thought to be perfected by Mesopotamians about 4500 BCE. While we don’t know what metal being used earliest in history, copper is probably the current most accurate answer for they have been well documented by the Egyptians as well. The reason is because unlike steel, they are easy to work while cool and can be beaten into shape without being forged while hot but also being a great conductor of heat.
About French Oven and Dutch Oven
Today, cookware are made from various materials to both deliver the heat fast and evenly as well as last longer and also safe from any health risk because sometimes human inventions are carrying drawback. While the material and techniques are continuously being developed and refined, one thing seems not changing very much from the past is the vessel shapes for they seem to be the same no matter where you live and used to cook similar foods despite having different pronounces.
For many of us pronounce doesn’t matter as long as the unit is the same but it can be confusing when you are looking for a recipe online and they are calling for vessels such as French Oven or Dutch Oven because they are actually the same thing. These cooking vessels are often used and mostly present in lots of western households but as people are more open about culinary from other regions, some Asian countries are also loving these useful and convenient vessels.
These cooking vessels are the same round or oval pot we have been using since forever and they are mostly deep enough to make stew or even baking pie in it but most of the time we are cooking dishes with high water content and need a long time to cook. Then, what makes them have different names? It is actually French companies like Le Creuset that creates their pot based on Dutch Oven but add another amazing feature which is enameled coating and then called it French Pot.
We are not sure about the reason on why they are using a different name rather than calling it as another version of Dutch Oven but it is probably for people to easily differentiate them from one another and for marketing purposes. The problem is the name French Oven itself never really replace the original term to call this cooking vessel which is why we have two of the same pots. In addition, the country where we live may affect pronounce as well.
If you are living in the U.S., the most common way to call this pot is Dutch Oven so French Oven or Cocotte may not that familiar but as opposed, if you are living in Canada, the latter is more familiar to most people and used to call the same pot as Dutch Oven. Read also: Cocotte Vs Dutch Oven.
French Oven and Dutch Oven Characteristic
As you can see on the sample picture above, they are the exact same cooking vessel because depending on the manufacturer in which we are using the one from Le Creuset today, they will have the same shape and the same material. Most of them are coming in a round or oval shape with a deep width but there are also those with shallower depth as well to cook different types of dishes. They will have a thick and heavy wall as well as lid.
This lid is tight fit to make sure the moisture from your foods are not escaping the pots while being cooked. They will have the same fashion or color to the body and to ease the cook moving them, there are handles on each side of the pot. The outer and internal part of French Oven and Dutch Oven are enameled to make them last longer, more attractive, as well as convenient to cook with.
Originally, Dutch Oven are not attractive because they are black from the cast iron natural color, heavy, and looks like a cookware from the past if you present them today; overall they are looking like the pot version of cast iron skillet. Some of them even have feet and a round handle on top to place directly above the fire while some also have deep lid to allow the cook to put charcoal or hot stones for more even cooking.
Dutch Oven History
Now let’s see where Dutch Oven is getting their name from and this is dating back to England in the 17th century where brass was the preferred metal to be used as cookware at that time and while the Dutch have been making them at low cost, they are still too expensive for most people. A partner of a brass company named Abraham Darby visit Netherlands in 1704 to study the bass working methods including the brass pots.
In his journey he learnt about brass casting done by the Dutch was mold made of sand and this method is creating finer finish on the brassware. He then come back and open his own brass mill but realize that in an effort to sell more products, he must offer a lower cost and from here he replace the brass with cheaper metal that we called cast iron. The initial experiment was unsuccessful but with the help from one of his workers, they succeed in casting iron cookware.
He then received a patent for the process of casting iron in sand and since this method was derived from the Dutch process hence it is called Dutch Oven. This cookware then travel across Europe and as they are being used in various different countries each one of them may have their slight difference or characteristic.
French Oven History
As for the French Oven, this term is not only used by Le Creuset but this brand is the one who popularized the term and probably the first in using such method to Dutch Oven. The Belgian founders Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq invented the modern, enamel covered style in 1925 which we can enjoy today in various different vibrant colors and is made from high-quality porcelain enamel. It is also evolve the design of the original vessel to now have no feet but instead have two wide handle and flat bottom.
The French Oven as its naming itself is probably meant to differentiate the product away from the original cookware and this is why we have two different names for one vessel yet, this is actually the same Dutch Oven but with modernization or the high-end version of it. Le Creuset still call this product as French Oven but since people in the U.S. is more familiar with the original term, they have been using it instead here.
French Oven and Dutch Oven Usage
As for the usage, French Oven and Dutch Oven are used to cook the same dishes and overall very similar to stockpot in general while they are equally convenient to be used both in stovetop and in the oven. Some dishes we often use them for are soups and stews for they can cook for long to create a thick and rich liquid. We can also roast with them because they are good heat conductor as well as to be used as a frying vessel to heat oils.
French Oven vs Dutch Oven
|French Oven||Dutch Oven|
|- Also called as Cocotte||- Also called as French Oven|
|- Made by few companies like Le Creuset||- Available from many different manufacturers|
|- A version of Dutch Oven||- Based on Dutch casting method|
|- Enamel casted||- Some are not enamel-casted|
|- Come in a similar modern design||- Originally have feet and deep lid with round handle|
Both of French Oven and Dutch Oven are used to call the same cooking vessel but sometimes can be different because the original cookware is black and have no enamel casting which is why they required to be properly seasoned and some models are looking unlike the modern Dutch Oven for they may have feet, a round, looping handle, and different lid with a deeper depth to put charcoal or hot coals to evenly cook the foods.
All in all, we can use any term to call them and rather than the pronunciation, it is best to make sure the vessel is ideal for the type of dish we are making but, if there is a price difference, as long as the material is correct we can just pick the one benefits us better.