There’s much debate about what time it’s okay to telephone someone at home. How late is too late in the evening? How early is too early? Are they friends, or family?
When I moved to Paris, a French friend told me, “Never call anyone before noon on Sunday.” I made that mistake when I was still new to the city and the groggy response on the other end of the line was all that it took to make me realize what good advice that was, especially when it happened to me, when my phone recently rang too early on a Sunday morning, too. (This was before the proliferation of cell phones, mind you.)
Since I was up, I decided to hit the Marché aux Puces, or flea market. By the time I finished my coffee and got there, I was sure most of the good stuff was gone, but it was worth getting up for that day because I managed to pick up something that I’ve been admiring for a long time.
Designed in 1958 by Raymond Loewy for Le Creuset (where I got to visit a few years later), I love its combination of modernity and French utilitarianism. Vintage examples in good condition are rarely found since most have been well-used by French cooks.
Raymond Loewy was born in Paris, but left his mark in America. He became one of the most influential designers of our time. During his era, the Industrial Revolution, people were fascinated by all that was new and liked products and designs that suggested a better, more modern, future. What he designed suggested speed and forward-thinking, an emerging machine-age where everything was sleek and streamlined, and this casserole for Le Creuset is no exception.
(Update: This piece of cookware is called La Coquelle and was recently reissued.)
In addition to this casserole, Loewy designed the Studebaker, as well as the Lucky Strike, Nabisco, Shell, and Exxon logos. One of my favorites, though, was for New Man, a French clothing company. Not many people realize this, but if you turn it over, it reads the same thing, “New Man”.
Go ahead, flip over your computer and see. I’ll wait. Ok, now that you’ve done that, join me in flipping over my new, vintage coquelle.