I got a Le Creuset buffet casserole in Kiwi!!! I am so excited about it, too! I can’t wait to use it! But first I have to find the perfect inaugural recipe. And learn a little more about braising. I am reading the Le Creuset book, The Cast Iron Way to Cook, as well as All About Braising (which I’d picked up from the library a few weeks back, but also saw at the LC store). Let’s start at the beginning.

I got my braiser (because I don’t say buffet casserole and I want it specifically to braise, soooo . . .) at the LC outlet. So of course I have to educate myself on my purchase. Remind myself why I paid so much money for essentially a casserole dish. When I got to the store, there was an older couple there talking to the sales rep. Finally, the husband says to the wife, “You know it’s worth it, go ahead and spend the money.” She looked absolutely thrilled at being given the go ahead, and she started to decide on a color (which to me is a harder decision than deciding whether or not to buy). While she walked away with the sales rep, her husband says to me, “He asked us if we were familiar with Le Creuset. I told him we bought our first Le Creuset 30 years ago!” That was the first reminder of why I was even in the store to begin with: this is an investment for a lifetime. It definitely set me at ease. Because remember, I am frugal. VERY frugal. I’m probably the most frugal person I know. I went into that store knowing I wouldn’t spend more than $150 and not thinking they would have what I wanted for the price I wanted so I would ultimately spend nothing, which is always my goal. Free or as close to free as possible is what I like. But I have changed my mind, remember, and my kitchen is a priority because it is the gateway to my health and that of my son.

So after he has finished with them, the sales rep approaches me and we begin to discuss what brought me into LC. I explain that I’m learning just how much I like to cook, trying to re-do my kitchen, and wanted a piece of cookware that was versatile, economical, durable, and cute (what?): I wanted a braiser. So we walk over to the Flame-colored set and he shows me three different sizes of braisers: the 5 quart, the 3.5 quart, and the 2.5 quart. I already knew I wanted the 3.5 quart one. He gives me a little history on Le Creuset and then he tells me something that I didn’t know about the lid. He said that you can use it to hold the food (the lid retains heat as well, so the food will stay warm) while you deglaze the pan. How friggin’ convenient is that?! No need to mess up another dish! He was very knowledgeable, very personable, maintained eye contact (this is a big deal to me), and most importantly, did not pressure me. He had no idea that I was going to buy anything. Or maybe one doesn’t just walk into a LC store without already knowing they are going to buy something. Either way, I like that he wasn’t pushy. He wasn’t trying to convince me of why I should by a LC. He pretty much told me everything I’d already read online. I was an easy target, because I was already sold. I told him I wanted a 3.5 quart braiser. He holds out some coupons and tells me to pick one and scratch off to see my discount. As I’m looking for a penny or something, I tell him I want it in Kiwi. He then says that the Kiwi is always 30% off because they are only selling factory-something-or-another – you know, the stuff with flaws. So if my coupon has less than that, I get the better deal. Great! I scratch off the coupon and I save 35%, the highest discount you can get. AWESOME! So he goes to show me the flaw and I’m glad because I’m sure it’s not noticeable to the lay person. I was right. There is a speck of green paint on the inside of the pan. Literally, a SPECK. I said, “That’s not much of a flaw.” I thought there was going to be a small chip in the enamel or something like that. A speck of paint? Stop it. He said, “People who are paying full price want it FLAWLESS.” And I’m sure they do, but that SPECK (or lack thereof) is not worth $30 bucks. But I’m glad they want theirs FLAWLESS because that made it cheaper for me! Heeeeeeeyyyyyyyyy! *finger snap*

So how much did I spend? Well, the sale was absolutely AMAZING!!! But that was, of course, on the color that I didn’t want. The 3.5qt braiser is normally around $200 ($176 at the outlet store, but the sticker shows a list price of $280), but I got the braiser, the book, a silicone trivet, and a bottle of cleanser for $150.90. I do so love a bargain!!! Only 90 cents over budget! Saving money is the very definition of awesomeness. I love it.

So I get home and I still need reinforcement (because I am just that frugal and lightweight excited) so I log onto youtube and start watching videos. I really am in love. The first one I watched was of the CEO. It gave an interesting history of how the company started. But the second one I watched was how LC cast iron items are made. This one I loved! It gave me exactly what I needed. If I had watched that video sooner, I would not have waited so long to buy my LC. Of course I kept watching, and I enjoyed this one, too. She is mistaken, however. LC’s first color (as told to me by my very knowledgeable sales rep) was brown. Flame was actually the second color. What I learned from my Descoware research is that initially LC did not think the bright colors used by Descoware would sell. After they bought the company, they kept the color schemes and I bet they’re glad they did! At any rate, I’m guessing that’s when they branched out from the brown to include Flame etc etc.

So you already know I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. I am absolutely in love with it! But let me just say, carrying that mug to the car?! Torture! I am so glad he offered to hold it on the counter while I finished my shopping. He even placed the bag I was already carrying (from Kitchen Collection) into my LC bag to hold on the counter for me. I had two more bags when I went back. The only reason I didn’t carry those to the car first is because it was raining. So I had to lug this heavy cast iron dish and my other three bags to the car. My arms were SO SORE!!! But totally worth every single, painful step! I am the ecstatic owner of a Kiwi Le Creuset Buffet Casserole! YAY!