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After being fully vaccinated and getting my booster shot, I felt safe enough to spend the holidays with my family sans guilt. Because the adult-millennial-hyper-awareness-of-mortality thing has kicked in recently, I’ve decided to practice gratitude by recognizing all the blessings I have in my life. Of these blessings, my grandmother’s cooking is by far the largest.
Growing up in a large family, I got away with not spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Between both of my grandmeres and many aunties overseeing meals, the trope where the immigrant daughter learns about gender and her culture completely passed over me. Needless to say, as I get older and realize all of my elders are also getting older, the desire to learn from them has increased quite a bit.
Until now, most of my pots and pans have been a mismatched assortment of things inherited from living with many different roommates over the years. One thing I underestimated in my quest to be better acquainted with my cooking roots is just how expensive quality kitchen essentials can be. Thankfully, I found Misen, a direct-to-consumer cookware brand offering higher quality materials without the hefty price tag often associated with better products.
Misen’s argument is simple: no matter your skill level, quality kitchen tools will help you cook better. The brand, founded by Omar Rada, has a deep focus on rigorous product development. Misen is intentional about consumer input, so much so that its origin story began on Kickstarter, a sign of mutual agreeableness between creator and consumer.
The brand offers an expansive selection of goods for you or a loved one’s kitchen. To get you started, Misen offers a Starter Chef Bundle, a set that comes with a Nonstick Pan, a Carbon Steel Pan, and a Chef’s Knife (priced at $172). Another good option is Misen’s Complete Nonstick Starter Set, a package that offers three nonstick pans of varying sizes (priced at $213). What caught my eye, however, is the brand’s $165 Dutch Oven.
When I think about my journey in the kitchen, the dutch oven is an essential kitchen product for me. The Misen’s versatile and durable dutch oven is made with four layers of premium enamel on a cast iron core. It comes in two sizes (7qt or 9qt), five different colors, and has two different kinds of lids: a traditional lid as well as a grill pan lid. Bonus points for the dutch oven: wide handles, stovetop compatibility, oven-safe capabilities, and dishwasher-safe cleaning.
Making Meals, Meeting Culture
Although most of my reviews involve doing a project on my own, for this particular review, I had to bring in some reinforcements. On a chilly Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, I invited my mother and grandmother over to my apartment to teach me how to make a traditional Haitian staple, Soup Joumou, in my Misen dutch oven.
Soup Joumou is a cultural dish most Haitians prepare to eat on January 1, Haitian Independence Day. Haiti is known as the first country in the western world to abolish slavery. The end of the French territory, Saint-Domingue, led to the establishment of Haiti, or Ayiti, the Taino-Arawak name given by the people of the land. In addition to the name change to Haiti as an act of freedom, Soup Joumou is heavily associated with Haitian liberation because at that time, slaves were forbidden from eating joumou, or pumpkins.
Making Soup Joumou with my mother and grandmother in my Misen dutch oven is a bit of old school meeting new school. As much as I want to share my family’s recipe for making Soup Joumou, I was forbidden, per my elder’s instructions, but here is a recipe that someone else’s grandma allowed them to share. Whereas I prefer to cook with exactness, following a recipe with acute measurements and steps, my grandmother and my mom are both people who cook with a bit more experience and ease. Coupled with translating my grandmother’s instructions into English, my time in the kitchen was hazy, but I did a good job, if I do say so myself.
Heavy, Heavy, Heavy
One of the most frustrating aspects of being disabled in a world that is substantially ableist is not realizing how many mundane things are impacted by disability. In my adult life, I am finding this to be the biggest case with everyday household needs and appliances. This likely will come with no surprise, but because dutch ovens are so heavy, I’m unable to use them on my own. Luckily, my roommate is able to assist, but if you are disabled and predominantly cook alone, you might have some difficulty.
Two Out of Three Women in My Kitchen Like Misen
When it came to making Soup Joumou, the Misen dutch oven was great for me. The heat distribution in the oven is great and food is cooked pretty evenly throughout the pot. More importantly, the dutch oven was super easy to clean. I, overall, am a fan.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was not that impressed. The average Haitian family is not making their New Year's Day Soup Joumou in a cerulean blue dutch oven. My grandmother is someone who is traditional and used to cooking with a large number of people in mind. Unsurprisingly, she did not like the dutch oven. My mom, who wouldn’t think to buy herself a dutch oven, did conveniently try to go home with mine, so something tells me a dutch oven might be in the cards for her when Mother’s Day rolls around.
All of the reasons my grandmother didn’t like the Dutch oven in a way are some of the key features that make the Dutch oven that much more appealing to me. The 7-quart dutch oven is honestly too big for me unless I plan on preparing more food with my roommate, a friend, or friends. Luckily, I do.
Five Reasons to Try Misen
- Quality Materials. Misen’s Dutch oven is made with high-quality, premium enamel coating a classic cast iron.
- Lifetime Guarantee. Misen offers to replace your Dutch oven should anything happen to it.
- Created With Intention And Both Input From Customers. Many products launched by Misen have been crowdfunded on Kickstarter.
- Free Returns. Seriously. Misen will cover the cost of your return if you don’t love your product.
- Refer and Earn. Send your friends a 20% off discount and for every three friends, Misen will give you $60 to spend in the new year.ﾠ