Shopping For Foodies: Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3

Your foodie friend has All-Clad. He has a Le Creuset dutch oven. He’s got a cast-iron skillet, an enameled omelet pan, and an electric slow-cooker. Is there any kitchen cookware he doesn’t have?

Probably not a Chinese sand pot. But he should.

Cheap, easy to clean, and versatile, these ceramic vessels have a way of sneaking into regular stovetop rotation. Glazed on the inside and unglazed on the outside, they distribute heat evenly over the flame, and can go in the oven too. They’re great for soups and beans, dry-cooked potatoes and other root vegetables that can steam in their own moisture under the clay lid, and caramelizing onions without having too pay hardly any attention at all. I also use mine to reheat leftover soups and sauces that, for some reason, are a pain to do in the microwave.

And did I mention cheap? You can score a decent sized sand pot for about $15 at any of the Asian supermarkets on Washington Avenue (the ones at 11th and 16th streets are where I generally have the best luck).

Bonus gift: Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, by Paula Wolfert. This compendium of recipes for cazuelas, tagines, Romertopf bakers, and other clay cooking vessels is one of my favorite cookbooks of the last five years. I use it all the time. And it’ll have plenty of ideas for bringing that Chinese sand pot into play.

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2 [Foobooz]
Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1 [Foobooz]

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  • barryg

    Nice series, best content on Foobooz in a long time.

  • EPA + FDA

    @ Barryg the series would be nice if it was not peddling dangerous advice without disclaimers. The majority of sand pots coming out of China are made unscrupulously and are almost certainly glazed with Lead in addition to residual lead in the clay. The reason they are so cheap is because there is no standard for manufacturing or testing them in China. These pots are to be avoided especially if you are feeding children anything you cook in them. At the very least you need to get a lead testing kit before you cook anything at all in them. Not worth the risk. Don’t take my word for it.

  • boognish

    As your link shows, one can easily test the pot for lead in the store. Those lead tests come in packs of 8-10 for about $25. Very useful if you have small children.

    I might have to head down there tomorrow morning for some pho and shopping. All I need is a butane-fueled stove with the pot and it’s nabe time!