An Invention That Changed The West

The Dutch were manufacturing and using cast metal cooking vessels for hundreds of years. The English called them casserole dishes.


In 1704 Abraham Darby saw a huge opportunity. He had foresight enough to travel to the Netherlands to learn the technique the Dutch were using to manufacture these casseroles.


I have to give it to this guy. When he got back four years later to England he patented a casting procedure similar to the Dutch. Then Darby started producing these cooking vessels for Britain and the new American Colonies. And the Dutch Oven was born.  The “Dutch Oven” name has stuck for over 300 years.

The cast iron cookware was loved by colonists and settlers alike. This cookware was so versatile you practical had a whole kitchen with you when you traveled. Baking a 10 pound roast, making soup, baking biscuits, cooking steaks, boiling potatoes, or making your favorite cobbler.

These ovens were so valuable they were added in persons will as part of the legacy passed down from generation to generation.
Mary Ball Washington had in her will, dated 20 May 1788 that her” iron kitchen furniture” should go to her grandson and the other half to her granddaughter.  Of course you well know this Grand Lady.  George Washington’s Grand Mother.

Lewis and Clark

The expedition of Lewis and Clark of the great American Northwest in 1804-1806 included in its gear a dutch oven.  Along with the pioneers venturing west carried their Cast Iron Ovens with them. These ovens are so versatile and loved by the pioneers and settlers that they have become a necessity throughout the migration westward.


Charles Goodnight invented the Chuck wagon and he supplied it with Dutch Ovens and cast iron cookware. Now Goodnight and his partner, Oliver Loving, made ready a massive cattle drive in 1866. These two guys knew where the money was. Goodnight got together 20 or 30

Goodnight's invention of the Chuckwagon

Goodnight’s invention of the Chuck wagon

cowboys to help him and Loving drive some of the meanest, ornery, Ferrell Longhorns Texas had from fort Belknap to Denver Colorado. Goodnight new driving 2000 head of mean feral Longhorn for 3 or 4 months that he was going to have to put together a way to feed these men. And the Chuck Wagon was born.


I couldn’t imagine trying to feed 30 people 3 meals a day without refrigeration for 4 months out of the back of a horse-drawn wagon? These guys were TOUGH. But hey They Tamed The West. Can you just imagine trying to cook up some biscuit, corn dodgers, roast, or black pudding, or frying up some of the Cowboy Caviar on an open fire out on the prairie with nothing but a Chuck wagon? Not me brother! I like to cook, but I like homely comforts as well.


The Dutch Oven helped tame the west.  They are cast iron and hardy, can’t hardly damage um, and will last forever.  Keep um clean of rust and wipe um down with a little bacon fat and these pots are ready to go.  These Dutch Ovens are still the favorite out-door cooking gear.  I use my Dutch Oven here at the house.  I have butane gas and all my cooking pots and frying pans are cast iron.  You just can’t beat um for even heating all around.  Once you get this pot to the temp you want, cut the fire down.  The whole pot or fry pan heats up, no hot spots like aluminum or copper.  Use um in the oven or on top of the stove.  Makes the best corm bread around, and cooks pot roast in half the time.  The Dutch Oven will give you the best tasting Peach Cobbler around.

I can’t say enough about my cast iron cook ware.  I love um and wouldn’t do with out um. You just can not beat the quality and durability of good cast iron cook ware.

Hope you enjoy my blog and I would love any comments you would like to add to The Dutch Oven story.

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