Clay pigeon

While on a plane this week, I finished up my November issue of Vanity Fair. Having read all the good stuff, I swept back through my less favorite features, including one called “My Stuff.” Each month this feature asks a celebrity to list his or her favorite clothing items, household furnishings and gadgets.

November’s celeb is Amy Sedaris, author, actress and comedian. In case you were dying to know, her favorite dessert is angel food cake stuffed with ice cream. Another item on her list caught my eye.

Favorite Discovery: Romertopf Clay Pot.

This evoked tremors in me, going back decades, when my parents made their foray into the realm of health food, 10 years before anyone else did. While everyone else was eating Charles Chips and Twinkies, we were eating alfalfa sprouts and carob. Our family swore off salt, refined sugar, bleached flour and any grain that wasn’t in its whole form.

For me, the most dismal piece of this lifestyle was the dreaded Romertopf. Any role this godforsaken pot played in dinner guaranteed a nearly inedible meal—one I thought (but did not dare say) should immediately be Fed Ex’ed to the starving children in Bangladesh.

The Romertopf remains immensely popular to this day, though I can’t imagine why. The pot is designed scientifically to eliminate the need to cook one’s chicken or vegetables in fat, salt or any seasoning for that matter. Purportedly, the clay cooking method brings out the natural flavor of the food. The meal gets its moisture not from butter or olive oil, but by immersing the pot in water before cooking, so that it releases steam while in the oven. Basically, your meal tastes like chicken and/or vegetables and water. Mmmm.

According to the Romertopf’s official website, “If you intend baking bread or sponges, then lining the base with foil or parchment paper will aid easy removal.”

I thought that eggplant tasted like something out of the sink.


Filed under Family and Friends, Food, Health

6 responses to “Clay pigeon

  1. Pat Abrams

    I think your Mother got me hooked on sprouts and I still like them to this day. Of course watching the sprouts sprout told me I needed to get a life.

  2. Matt

    Because of the parents’ foray into health food, I still have nightmares about Liqua Lea!

  3. Alyson

    Never saw one of those pots, but it reminded me of the time when a man in New Zealand told me how to cook porcupine/hedgehog. (I kid you not.) One rolls the (deceased) animal in clay and mud until there’s a thick layer of goo on it, then chucks the bundle into a bed of red hot coals. After a while, when the outer shell is hardened, simply crack open the casing and eat.

    Sorry I can’t provide more specific cooking instructions, but I was crying and didn’t take notes.

  4. Anita Lawson

    I got one as a wedding present (marriage #1, 1974.) Loved it, and cooked many tasty meals in it- seasoning is the key. Now my daughter from that marriage (Nicole, turning 31 in a week) has the heritage cooking utensil and enjoys preparing her own creations. You really can make some good stuff in it- just be sure to add plenty of spices!

  5. Oh god, anything cooked in one of those things is revolting!

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