My Le Creuset Casserole

i love my loewy casserole

There’s always much debate over when it’s okay to telephone someone at home. How late is too later? How early is okay to call? Are they friends, or family? When I moved to Paris, a friend told me, Never call anyone before noon on Sunday.” I made that mistake once, and that was all it took.

So I’m sound asleep at 8am this Saturday morning (after getting home from dinner last night at 2am), there I am tucked into my bed, so warm-and-cozy, nestled between my linen sheets and goose down duvet, by little head dreaming of….

Grrrr. So 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’m sure most of the good stuff was gone. But this week I managed to pick up something I’ve been admiring for a long time.

pot of chile beans chile bean pot

I’ve been eyeing this casserole whenever I’d come across one over the past few years. Designed in 1958 by Raymond Loewy for Le Creuset, 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. And recently it’s been re-issued, although in newer colors, not like the classic orange that you see.

Raymond Loewy was born in Paris, but made his mark in corporate America. He became the most influential designer of our time and designed so many things that we just take for granted. But 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.

(This piece of cookware is called La Coquelle and was reissued here in France in several colors, but they have since taken them out of production.)

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.

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  • January 21, 2006 5:54pm

    David, your COCOTTE COQUELLE “NEUVE” @ Raymond LOEWY is available on in the yucky new colors – mint, Naples yellow & aquamarine :P
    If it ain’t broke why fix it?! The old orange color will always be the color of Le Creust IMO.Gee NEWMAN..remember when they were new & Cacherel too…makes one feel a bit dated still…brings back fond memories. Tanks

  • January 21, 2006 6:59pm

    Lovely, David! Great find!!!

  • Alisa
    January 21, 2006 7:20pm

    So, I new about NewMan logo, but I flipped over my computer anyway….just for fun!

    I really love your new find – and have you noticed how well it matches your socks?

  • Kathy
    January 21, 2006 10:37pm

    Cool casserole dish!

  • Judith in Umbria
    January 22, 2006 4:42am

    Lucky dog!

  • January 22, 2006 6:46am

    Yes, yes, the pot is all very interesting, but who called and why at 8 a.m. Saturday morning???

  • AlliK
    January 22, 2006 10:44am

    Quite unrelated to the post… but I made my first dessert from a recipe of yours last night, the maple-walnut pear cake from Room for Dessert (thanks, Santa!). I knew it’d be great, but YUM! It’s a perfect winter dessert for me, not to mention great leftover with coffee for breakfast this morning. So, thank you!

  • January 22, 2006 12:22pm

    Sexy! And probably almost worth getting up that early for…

  • January 23, 2006 9:36am

    Since moving to Paris I have had real bouts of cookware-envy, particularly for heavy, bulky thinks like cocottes that we have no room for in the kitchen. On the other hand, I have to admit that the color burnt Orange brings to mind a number of unfortunate 50’s era design excesses, including shag carpets and 8-track tapes.

  • mko
    January 26, 2006 9:50pm

    I have my mother’s COCOTTE COQUELLE in grey which I believe she bought in London in the 60’s. I love it – the best for slow cooked pot roast in the oven. Sadly, the cover was dropped once too often and has a crack – but I use it still. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in loving it (although the orange is a little cooler than my grey!).

  • January 27, 2006 9:59pm

    The classic orange reminds me of when Derrick and I were buying some Le Creuset at E. Dehillerin’s, and we were told quite forcefully our choices were “black or orange! This is not (sneer) Williams-Sonoma!”. :-) We, too, enjoy the orange.

  • January 30, 2006 3:14pm

    I want one of those too! Looks great.