Some Serious Pot
This year I finally got a Le Crueset pot of my own. Actually, three. Now I'll admit, even I was skeptical about the price tag. Sure, it's French, but $250 for a pot? Seriously?
I'm here to tell you, dear reader, it made a true believer out of me. They're made in France, not an oppressed third world nation, and each mold is destroyed after the pot is cast.
But the proof is in the pot, my friends. I made a beautiful four-hour bolognese sauce on a fateful night this summer, and though ultimately credit must go to the cook(!), I tell you it would not have turned out as perfectly without the awesome pot. Because it's cast iron underneath the enamel it heats perfectly evenly, and the enamel ensures nothing sticks. It's like teflon minus the cancer. And you'll have it until you're dead.
So if you have the coin and you truly love the cook in your life, make his/her year. I've had a horrible year, but these pots have truly been a bright spot. And at least they'll last and provide years of great cooking.
Start with the Le Creuset 5 1/2-quart Dutch Oven, you can find it on sale for about $185 in myriad colors.