Chick Yellow Coquelle


[Chick Yellow Coquelle]

Please join me in welcoming this yellow addition to my cocotte collection! Coquelle is a line of Le Creuset cast-iron pots designed by Raymond Loewy in 1958. They come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, but all of them share the same old-fashioned futuristic look, as if they were just about to take off from your stove and fly away to some distant planet where unattended stews do not scorch enamel and milk does not boil over.

I had spotted a re-edition at a Parisian department store earlier this year, and it looked glossy and seductive, but what I really wanted was one from the original production, in good enough a shape that I could use it, but with enough signs of wear to show it had been previously loved.

I first turned to a small store in my neighborhood called Et Puis C’est Tout! that specializes in objects and furniture from the 50’s to the 70’s — Ricard pitchers, plates with disco flower patterns, and bright orange plastic lamps. The owner knew what I was talking about, he didn’t have any in stock, but he explained that he did come across these cocottes from time to time, and that I should check back. And check back I did, every week or so, until I didn’t even need to ask anything anymore. I would pop in, wearing my most hopeful smile, but he would invariably shake his head with sympathy, “Sorry, no luck so far.”

Meanwhile, being a girl of my time, I was also keeping an eye on a certain popular auction website, the French version of which occasionally offered what I was looking for. On a handful of occasions I had the naivety to believe I was very close to winning the ticket, but it turns out I am not very good at what they call “sniping” — not such a bad thing when you think about it, but I still mourn for a medium cocotte in the elusive pale violet shade. Whoever got it, I hope he’s treating it kindly.

And then last week, this yellow specimen appeared on the website, with a reasonable price tag and the “Buy it now!” logo that promises an easy, heartbreak-free purchase. And a few days later, just in time for my birthday, my very own Coquelle landed on my doormat (remind me to buy flowers for my building’s superintendant, who must be getting a little tired of lugging packages up the stairs for me).

My new/old Coquelle is just what I hoped it would be. It is one size smaller than my Staub cocotte so they are quite complementary, it has a few token scratches around the lid and handles, and the inside is nicely seasoned from years of use: the French word for that is culotté (which also means “cheeky” if applied to a person), and as popular wisdom tells us, c’est dans les vieux pots qu’on fait les meilleures soupes — old pots make the best soups. I shall make it my duty to check the accuracy of that saying.

Et Puis C’est Tout!
72 rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris

  • rainey

    I just LOVE the concept of the “old-fashioned futuristic look”. What a hoot! And what happiness to celebrate your birthday! Félicitations!

  • gingerpale

    I love your phrase “..the same old-fashioned futuristic look” Descriptive!

  • BG

    Raymond Loewy was such a design genius … I really enjoyed reading the Wikipedia article about him, and it reminded of the work of his I know best, the GG1 electric locomotive used on the Pennsylvania Railroad. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, which is on the busy New York-Washington line, and when my father’s business took him north or south, we always met him at the station, watching a GG1 bringing the train in. This was in the 1950s, when the Pennsylvania Railroad was still in reasonably good condition. Alas, the modern locomotives of Amtrak can’t compare to the sleek style of the GG1 with the “cat-whisker” front-end design. Thanks for the memories!

  • I love those design things from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when cooking was a symbol of what women could do when their men spent their time working in new buildings ;-) That looks like “l’Expo des Arts décoratifs” (not the same period): Rationalisation of work, creation of the “perfect kitchen model”… Anyway, I hope the old wisdom is right, and I wait for a great recipe of traditional (or not) coquelle dish ;-)

  • joan

    joyously weathered!

  • gisele

    oooOOOooo….very pretty!

    I love finding pre-loved kitchen paraphernalia :)

    I had been dreaming of owning my own Le Creuset French Oven, but after finding out that they cost NZ$460 (For the one I wanted) brand new, my dreams were placed in the distant future. Not long after, I walked into a second hand shop…and right in front of me there was a gorgeous Le Creuset french oven for only $20! Needless to say I quickly snaffled it up, purchased it and lugged it all the way home in glee!

    I hope you get plenty of use out of this gorgeous coquelle!!!!

  • chzplz

    My best Le Creuset find was literally a find. A small grey saucepan, abandoned in a city park. It looked like it had been used over a fire and was sooty and dirty, but… it cleaned up like a charm. It is now well loved in my kitchen.

  • Kim

    I love cocottes. Felicitations on your purchase & your birthday!

  • kudzu

    It will be quite a while before you discover whether it is true, personally, that old pots make good soup. I have always been proud of the browned insides of my Creuset pots while non-hip friends complained about how terrible it was that they couldn’t keep theirs “clean”!

    A belated happy birthday, Clotilde, and many more happy returns of the day.

  • Objects of desire aren’t they? I spent a considerable amount of time looking at them longingly when in France some months ago.It was just the weight which prevented me from picking up the grilling skillet to match my ancient french oven.
    Next time I refuse to be so sensible!

  • Vinciane

    Ca m’a fait rigoler quand je l’ai vue cette cocotte! Ma mère vient d’acheter la même ce samedi mais elle est orange la sienne!

  • I love the yellow color and the modern design of the pot. I have to get one just like it. enjoy using it!

  • Oh I’m so jealous! Looks beautiful! Happy cooking!

  • You’ve given me another kitchen gadget to lust after! (especially one in violet, would go nicely with my grape Kitchen Aid!)

    BTW, My Mom took an Industrial Design course with Raymond Loewy in college (at Pratt Institute in NYC), and she recently gave me her vintage Loewy designed Singer sewing machine!
    Another great industrial designer to check out is Eva Zeisel… she’s still designing – she’s 99 or 100!
    Enjoy your cocotte!

  • Jenny

    I have two of these – one 4.5L and one 2.5 L – And I TOO dream of the elusive mauve 3.5 liter version! What I love about these is that they go from gas top to oven and back with no problems – barbecue ribs or roasted rabbit, it all works in one pot. And sig-fig (also chief dish washer) is thrilled about the reduction in the number of pots! I as well found them on that auction site – you can get it to send you alerts via email for this kind of stuff if you set it up right…

  • Je la trouve super jolie moi aussi!


    I read your blog every few days–I have just discovered my own love of cooking and I like reading about what you’re cooking up.

    This comment is actually in response to your post a few days ago about your US road trip. I don’t think I could have possibly been more surprised when I see that of all the places in Alabama you visited, you visited two places just down the road from where I grew up! I live in Birmingham now, but my parents live just off Old Shell Rd in Mobile, which is where the Brick Pit BBQ and Satori Sound is. I actually haven’t been to Satori for coffee-I used to buy music there though. But the Brick Pit–that IS good barbeque! Hope you liked Mobile!


  • adorable!

  • I love your little yellow coquelle. I am quite envious. My favorites are Le Cruset in modern 1970’s brown. They have served me well for 30 years. But seeing your adorable pot makes me think I might have to go scrounging around on ebay now.

  • cath

    I was so surprised to pull up your page and see my Coquelle, as I have exactly the same one, given to me by my belle-mere. Although I must say, I avoid putting it into a hot oven as I’m afraid to melt the black handle. It has a few “bubbles” on it which I fear were heat-induced over the years. I always use it stove-top. What do you think?

  • flo

    That’s a very good deal you got here. Last summer at a street sale on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle, I did find the pale violet one, but it was quite damaged and still 60 €. So I left it, but if I manage to put my hands on one of those for 20€, I won’t give it a minute!

  • Lucky me, my grand mother (who never cooks…) let me one… Finally 30 years after the buying, this cocotte is used (my one was brand new, of course) !

  • Antoinette

    My sister has bought me the exact same coquelle in a street sale in Rotterdam for € 5. I enjoy looking at it everyday. Good luck with your coquelle.

  • yazmena

    Hi Clotilde,

    I started reading your blog months ago and this entry piqued my curiosity about cocottes. Thanks to you I am the proud owner of a 2.5 quart cocotte and I tried a small version of le poulet de Muriel, it was delicious!

  • Vickie

    Does anyone know where the Coquelle can be purchase online in US?

  • john monks

    they tend to be quite expensive. you might try calling a store in san francisco called “cookin” on divisadero. tell her i sent you

  • JTurner

    I’m an American living in Britain for the last 30 (nearly) years and it is very difficult to find non-enamelled cast-iron cookware here. I’ve managed to collect 4 cast-iron frying pans in various sizes over the years and am always on the lookout for deep cast-iron pots but so far no such luck. I use mine for frying, braising, baking etc. The most important care item is making sure they are completely dry so they won’t rust. Fortunately I have an Aga and keep them hung on hooks at the back which keeps them nice and warm and rust-free. I absolutely love your monthly column and find so many recipes that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use them all. Thank you for your inspiration.

  • ntomaz

    I just came across this post from the newletter. To my delight, the same cocotte was handed down to me from my grandma. She obviously used it a lot, but at the same time kept it in great condition. It is one of my favourites.

  • Dublin

    I’ve just discovered your recipe. Was really hoping I could cook a chicken in a coquelle…roll on Sunday dinner tomorrow…thanks a mill… ;-)

  • Mishidy

    Do you find that the lid ( handle ) is oven safe? I just got one of these and was wondering if I can put it in the oven. Thanks!

    • It is, at least on the one that I have.

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