Le Creuset enameled cast iron is so pretty and more importantly, so easy to clean! You don't need to soak it, whatever was caked/burned on washes right off with a sponge instantaneously. They are hands down the most low-maintenance cookware and I love that they will allegedly last forever. (Here's hoping!)
My sister, who has been spoiling me since the day of my birth, gave us one as part of her wedding present to us. When it arrived, I squealed, jumped up and down, did a little jig, and ripped the box open.
Since falling in love with cooking, I had been toying with the idea of making Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, and would tell anyone who'd listen about how I was going to do it one day. Soon. Ish. When it came down to it, I was pretty daunted by the prospect. I think that one reason why so many people don't cook is a fear of failure. Nobody wants to have to eat something they have rendered inedible, or worse, have to throw it out after all their hard work. This dish does have an epic list of ingedients, after all, not to mention quite a bit of prep time, and the use of the stove top AND the oven. In other words, be prepared to use everything in your kitchen, and every surface you can spare. And be prepared to be in and around your kitchen for over 4 hours. (I'm already tired just from reading that)
One day, with a lot of goading from my cousin Chef Jeffrey, I made a list of everything I needed, -a whopping list of 17 ingredients, and went to the grocery store to bring as much of it home as I could. As it turned out, I could only carry half the ingredients, so I asked my obliging husband to pick the rest up for me on his way home from work. The next afternoon, I began! I set my iPod dock up in the kitchen, blasted my favourite music, and just did it. I had so much fun from beginning to end, this recipe really makes one feel like a "real" cook. And the smells that you have just created are guaranteed to send you into the land of bliss.
I wish I had some funny blunders to recount, but proudly, I don't! I do, however, have pictures of easily, one of the top 5 most delicious things I have ever tasted in my life. From Kraft dinners to Boeuf Bourguigon.
If you don't have Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child: