This sweet little dutch oven and I go way back. It all began roughly 6 or so years ago. There was a museum\antiques store in a neighbouring village that I loved to stroll through from time to time. That's when I first saw her. She was sitting in a corner covered in dust, and rusty as the day is long! She wasn't much to look at, but it was love at first sight!
Now I had been looking for the perfect dutch oven for a long time! I had one monster sized one, and I could find tiny ones, but I could never find the perfect pot. It had to be big enough to feed my family of 5, but not so big as to be better suited for feeding an army! It had to have a bale handle, and no lip around the lid. It had to be just like the one Ma Ingalls used. I didn't ask for much, just perfection, and there, hidden under all that rust and grime, it was.
It was also more money than I had to spend.
So, I gazed longingly at it for a while and walked away. For months I thought about her, that perfect pot that was so close yet so far away. Every time I thought we might have a little extra money and I had hope that I might persuade my dear husband how very much I wanted -nay- NEEDED that dutch oven, something more important would come up and shatter my dreams of ever owning that darling little gem.
Dh said he knew I was still pining for that "junky old pot" so he was going to get it for me! I was ecstatic! We drove to the little village where my precious was and pulled up to the building to find...
The shop had gone out of business!
I was crushed under the weight of crippling disappointment. Time went on, we ended up moving away, but I never forgot that beautiful piece of cast iron perfection that fate had so heartlessly denied me.
Several years passed. Things didn't work out well for us where we had moved to so we moved back. Occasionally passing through the little hamlet where the antique store had been.
We drove past and it was open!!! I made hubby stop the car and I literally leaped from the car, making a bee line to the door. Everything was as it had been years back and I practically flew to where she had been before...but she wasn't there. Oh I nearly cried in bitter disappointment! But as I was about to leave in anguished defeat, what did I find in a box by the door? My long coveted dutch oven! Dustier and rustier than ever but it was definitely her!
I wouldn't even let dh haggle with the owner, which he is often given to do, I was not going to risk letting this beauty out of my sight again! Once I got her home and de-grimed, I could see just how abused and neglected she'd been. I had to pry off her lid and you couldn't see the bottom for the deep rust. It took days of sanding and soaking in vinegar, and more sanding, and soaking in lye to get back down to metal. By then I had no more time to devote to her rehabilitation as we were preparing to move again (we tend to be rather nomadic). So she got stored away, eventually accumulating a new layer of dust and surface rust.
As I was cleaning some things in the basement the other day, I saw her sitting there forlorn and covered in cobwebs, and I felt like a heel! Here I had rescued her from untold years of neglect, promised to love and cherish her, then ended up abandoning her myself, leaving her alone and forgotten! I had to make this right!
So I took her upstairs and polished all the surface rust off with salt and a raw potato. Then I dried her off in a warm oven and proceeded to give her a thorough reseasoning with 6 layers of flax oil polymerized at 500°! Now here she is, almost as good as new!
She's as perfect as I knew she'd be the second I first laid eyes on her! Just the right size to stew a chicken, or make a pot roast! In fact, I think her maiden voyage will be a pot roast this week! I just know it's going to be magic between us!