The Dutch oven, an important part of the way west
Camp fire cooking has been around since humans discovered fire but Americans managed to add a number of flourishes on the trek west.
One of the important icons of frontier cooking was the Dutch oven even though it wasn’t an American invention. Englishman Abraham Darby adapted a Dutch method of casting and patented the process in 1704. His durable pots were widely used in the 13 colonies and simply traveled west with settlement. They proved indispensible during the building of the transcontinental railroad and the cattle drives of the 1870s and 80s.
The term Dutch oven gets applied to a variety of shapes of cast iron utensils but the classic Dutch oven includes several unique characteristics; a flat bottom, short legs to hold it above the coals, a bail handle for hanging. and a rimmed, concave lid that prevents coals placed on it from falling into the food.