Back in early July, my beloved Le Creuset Dutch oven suddenly came down with a horrible chip in the bottom of the enameled coating. Suddenly, you could see the cast iron at the bottom. It looked like this.
There isn’t a lot of danger from the cast iron, people cook with cast iron all of the time. But if the enameled coating is chipped, it could continue chipping, and you don’t really want to bite into that. So I did what any 21st Century person would do, and I complained on Facebook. A FB friend (a friend I knew in real life, back in college) mentioned that her Martha Stewert Dutch oven did the same thing, and she returned it to Macy*s, no questions asked.
I liked that solution, but Martha Stewart Dutch ovens are sold exclusively at Macy*s, so it’s not hard for them to take a return. Much as I might rack my brain, I could not remember where I bought my Le Creuset. Macy*s, Williams Sonoma, or Sur La Table. Why can’t I remember? Generally, I do remember such things. Clearly, I had no receipt, as I’ve had it for several years now.
So I looked online, and they have a lifetime guarantee. So you pay to send it back to their returns department, in South Carolina, and they will review it and determine whether it is a defect or not. If it’s a defect, they will replace it, in between 2 – 4 weeks. If it’s not a defect, they’ll send you a coupon to buy a new one at a steep discount. The Le Creuset website doesn’t say how much the discount it, but another website said 75%. That’s pretty awesome.
So I packed my Dutch oven into a Priority mail box (if it fits, it ships, for one price) and mailed it off. I didn’t hear anything for awhile, so I called them. They said they had determined that it was in fact a defect, so they would replace it, but that she didn’t know WHEN yet. They had to send the order over to the warehouse.
I’m getting a little bit bored of telling this story, so I will fast forward. 4 phone calls, 2 emails, and 14 weeks after I mailed my Duth oven, I finally received my replacement. Isn’t it pretty?
My lessons from this are, no matter what the instructions say, heat is not your friend. At least, not direct heat. I’ve been doing some ‘research’ online (I kind of think online research should often be in quotation marks), and it seems like high heat on the stove is bad for enameled cast iron, as well as non-stick. The oven is different, because it is indirect heat. But I kind of think that you don’t want to use high heat on the stove unless you are using regular cast iron, or maybe aluminum. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and I’m in my 50s already. Shouldn’t I know this stuff by now?