Thought to take its name from cookware brought to the New World by 17th-century pilgrims, a Dutch oven (or "DO" as called by collectors) generally describes any cast iron pot with three legs, a heavy bail handle, and a concave lid. The legs allowed the chef to place the oven on a bed of coals, while the lid and the rim encircling it was designed to hold even more coals on top, so the food inside the oven could be heated from above and below. As companies like skillet manufacturer Griswold and enameled cast iron maker Le Creuset adapted the design for oven and stovetop use in kitchens, the feet were eliminated, the lid was changed from concave to convex, and the single bail handle was removed since the pot could now be safely lifted by opposing, external handles.


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