“Sara Dahmen's beautifully photographed book is the most useful resource on copper cookware I've come across. An accomplished coppersmith, Sara not only shows us how copper cookware is made, but how to cook with it (along with a myriad of recipes), and care for it, too. The mysteries and mystique of cast-iron and clay cookware are explored in depth as well. Copper, Iron, and Clay is an indispensable cookware reference that every cook should have in their library. I learned so much from it . . . and you will too!”
—David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French
A gorgeous, full-color illustrated love letter to our most revered cookware—copper pots, cast-iron skillets, and classic stoneware—and the artistry and workmanship behind them, written by an expert craftsperson, perhaps the only woman coppersmith in America.
Today, most people are concerned about eating seasonal, organic, and local food. But we don’t think about how the choices we make about our pots, pans, and bowls can also enhance our meals and our lives. Sara Dahmen believes understanding the origins of the cookware we use to make our food is just as essential. Copper, Iron, and Clay, is a beautiful photographic history of our cooking tools and their fundamental uses in the modern kitchen, accompanied by recipes that showcase the best features of various cooking materials.
Interested in history and traditional pioneer kitchens, early cooking methods, and original metals used in pots during the early years of America, Sara became obsessed with the crafts of copper- and tin-smithing for kitchenware—specialty trades that are nearly extinct in the United States today. She embarked on a journey to locate artisans nationwide familiar with the old ways who could teach and inspire her. She began making her own cookware not only to connect with the artisanal traditions of our nation’s past, but to adopt the pioneer kitchen to cook and eat healthier today. Why cook fantastic, healthful food in a cheap pan coated with toxic chemicals and inorganic elements? she asks. If you buy one high-quality item made from natural materials, it can serve your family for generations.
Richly illustrated with dozens of stunning color photographs, Copper, Iron, and Clay showcases each material, exploring its fascinating history, fundamental science—including which elements work best for various cooking methods—and its practical uses today. It also features fascinating interviews with industry insiders, including cookware artisans, chefs, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers from around the world. In addition, Sara provides recipes from her own kitchen and some of her famous chef friends, as well as a few historical favorites—all which are optimized for particular kinds of cookware.
About the Author
Sara Dahmen is the founder of House Copper & Cookware, a line of American-made cookware created with pure, natural materials and the help from local family-owned companies. Her cookware has been featured in national and international publications such as Cooking Light, Food and Wine, Veranda, Beekman 1802, Root+Bone, Midwest Living, and many more.
One of the only female coppersmiths in America (if not the only), Sara has had a varied career, from her first job in marketing to building an award-winning wedding planning business to writing historical fiction. Her love of deep historical research led to her current work as a metalsmith of vintage and modern cookware.
Sara has been published as a contributing editor for trade magazines and recently spoke at TEDx Rapid City. Sara is also the co-founder of the American Pure Metals Guild and is an apprentice to a master tinsmith in Wisconsin, where she works with tools from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to rebuild vintage cookware and design custom work from scratch. When not working in her garage, she can be found writing historical fiction, sewing authentic clothing for reenactments of frontier days, and hosting epic historical-themed dinner parties. She lives in Port Washington, Wisconsin, with her husband and three young children.
Sara Dahmen's beautifully photographed book is the most useful resource on copper cookware I've come across. . . . Copper, Iron, and Clay is an indispensable cookware reference that every cook should have in their library. I learned so much from it . . . and you will too!
— David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and Drinking French
Dahmen, a cookware coppersmith, explains the enduring benefits of copper, iron, and clay in this illuminating how-to and recipe manual. . . . This terrific volume is sure to result in a greater respect for kitchen gear among amateur cooks and professionals alike.
— Publishers Weekly
Author, coppersmith, and occasional chef Dahmen takes readers on a very personal journey in her discovery of and fascination with copper, iron, and clay. . . . It’s a well-photographed learning adventure peppered with a dozen-plus interviews of artisans, chefs, and manufacturers (e.g., Valerie Gilbert of Mauviel, Giulia Ruffoni of Ruffoni Copper).
[Dahmen] describes how she became a coppersmith and started her line of handcrafted products. . . . Along with her passion for historical recreation and her determination to master the physical and technical challenges of the craft. . . . [Her] new book is her way of keeping the practical wisdom she learned from older smiths alive.
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel