How Did You Get Started in Dutch Oven Cooking?

By Keith Fisher

What was the motivating factor?

Recently, I interviewed some of my friends, asking them how they got involved with International Dutch Oven Society, and Dutch oven cooking in general. There was a time, when cast iron pots were an oddity, and most outdoor cooking was done on the barbecue.

At sometime during our lives, every Dutch oven cook caught the bug, if you will. We crossed the line between active participation and being a spectator. I used cast iron pots on camping trips for years before I got serious and my blood began to run with cast iron.

Since then, I’ve met many like-minded people who are some of the best souls I’ve ever met. What was my motivation? For me, the madness came, on a Saturday, when I wanted to make dinner for my wife, but I needed to keep working in my garden.

I pulled a Dutch oven out of the camping stuff, thawed a venison roast, and stared some coals. As time went on I cut up potatoes, carrots, and onions from the garden. Toward the end of cooking, I added corn on the cob from that same garden. Before I knew it, there was too much food for only 2 people. I called my Dad and brother and invited them to dinner. They dropped everything and came up.

Up to that point, my wife and I, had enjoyed holding backyard parties and firing up the barbecue. I soon discovered that more people would come if I told them I was cooking Dutch oven.

We got caught up in competition after that, and now my barbecue gets used once a year, but the Dutch ovens go with us everywhere. Backyard parties are Dutch oven gatherings. Whenever I plan a menu for camping, I think of Dutch ovens. I use skillets and grills too, but my pots get used most frequently.

Carol Hill told me a great story about visiting her relatives in Wyoming, She experienced Dutch oven cooking from a pot buried in the ground, surrounded by coals. The Hills were sold from that point on.

Terry Lewis said his family had always been cooking in Dutch ovens. He grew up with a cast iron tradition.

Ranes Carter said it was a better way of cooking in camp than a Hobo Stove.

Dannie Phillips told me he saw Val Cowley teach a class at a military surplus and camping store.

Many folks have watched a cook off, thinking they might not be able to make fancy dishes, but they could make stew on the elk hunt. Many folks thought it would be good to have a Dutch oven in their emergency food storage. I hope they pulled it out of the box and used it.

What was your inspiration? I’d love to know. I’m putting together a Dutch oven cookbook and I’ll use your name in the essay. Leave a comment on this blog or send me an email to bloghole57 at yahoo dot com

Another note, I’m still hoping the man who sat next to me at the Friday night DOG during the convention will send me an email. Remind me of your name so I can enter you in the drawing. I’m sorry my senior memory has gone the way of the world.