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Housekeeper Crockery Offers Old World Locally Made Kitchenware

Apr. 4, 2017
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Any dedicated home cook can appreciate good quality kitchen gear. The types of pots and pans used can make a difference in recipe prep time, ease of tasks and even the outcome of a meal. As today’s palates return to the pure, minimally processed foods of yesterday, Port Washington-based Housekeeper Crockery has assembled an offering of Old World artisan kitchenware hand forged by American craftspeople and free from toxic coatings and fillers.

Housekeeper Crockery founder and writer Sara Dahmen came up with the idea for the company while she was researching her historical fiction novel, Dr. Kinney’s Housekeeper. Many of the book’s scenes are set in the kitchen, which piqued her interest in the cookware of yesteryear. She sought out artisans in Wisconsin that forged handmade pure cast-iron and copper, but that proved more challenging than anticipated; most of those arts had faded with time.

“It took over a year of research and prototypes, questions, traveling and phone calls just to get products made here in the United States,” Dahmen said. She eventually found Texas-based House Copper to hand-forge her copper pots and bowls.

During her endeavor, Dahmen has become knowledgeable in metallurgy and can quickly explain the difference between real copper cookware and the legions of imitators sold at big-box stores. “Those products are actually not copper. Most are essentially just stainless steel pots coated with a thin gauge of copper that will eventually wear or pop off the stainless steel, since those two metals conduct heat differently. I use pure copper, and not an alloy. Other places doctor up their copper with boron and zinc and other metals to keep the copper from popping away from stainless steel, but it still won’t bond. You cannot bond a ferrous to a non-ferrous metal,” she said firmly.

Housekeeper Crockery’s three-quart and two-quart pure copper pots are lined with tin, because like copper, tin transfers heat fast and it bonds molecularly with copper. Dahmen notes there’s a learning curve with cooking with tin-lined pure copper, since it heats faster than metals most people are accustomed to cooking with. Dahmen recently added a durable five-quart copper bowl to the Housekeeper Crockery copper line.

Dahmen found a Kaukauna, Wis.-based company to hand-pour her eight-inch cast iron skillets. Customers can get their cast iron skillets already seasoned with organic flax seed oil, but Dahmen also offers raw oiled skillets for people who want to season their cast iron themselves. The raw oiled skillets are fired and coated with just enough oil to keep out any moisture so the skillet won’t rust before arriving to the customer.

Housekeeper Crockery also offers handmade mixing bowls created by Rowe Pottery, a women-owned business in Cambridge, Wis. There are also wooden spoons whittled by a husband-and-wife team in Indiana. The spoons are not treated with any substances. Since no kitchen is complete without a few good dish towels, rounding out the Housekeeper Crockery line are 100% cotton towels embroidered by a craftswoman in New York.

Dahmen expresses optimism that mindsets are slowly changing and more people will see the value of investing in a couple of good quality, safe kitchenware pieces made to last. “Everybody’s time is worth something, and everybody’s life is worth something. When you create a product that helps people make a living with their talents, that really means something and makes a big difference,” she said.

For more information, visit housekeepercrockery.com.

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