See that little black spot?! That is a dime-sized chip in the bottom of our enamel-coated dutch oven. We've definitely put this pot through its paces, so it's not a huge surprise that it finally chipped. Still, we're loath to just replace a whole pan because of a little nick. What would you do?
The standard advice from most cookware companies is that pots and pans with chipped enamel are unsafe and shouldn't be used. We imagine that the danger is not so much the exposed cast-iron as it is that the enamel could chip further and you'll wind up with bits of enamel in your food. Not a pleasant prospect.
We wonder how big of a danger this really is. Comments on several public boards (like this thread on Chowhound) dismiss this fear and recommend simply treating the nick like any other cast-iron by rubbing it with oil to prevent it from rusting.
We'd really love to just repair it, but we're having trouble finding any definitive information on how to do this. Food-grade enamel coating seems to exist, but we'll need to do more research to find a source.
If one of your pots has developed a chip, it's also worth looking into the warranty information. Many companies like Lodge and Le Creuset have good coverage for damaged cookware. Ours is a Tramontina, and unfortunately, doesn't look like it's covered with a warranty.
Do you have any advice?
Originally published June 9, 2009.
(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)