French Game Cooking Pot
This charming piece of handmade pottery is an example of a 19th-century French cooking pot. Its crimped top is adorned with a deep mustard yellow glaze, also featured in the interior, while the lower portion remains unglazed, as was common with French provincial earthenware of the period. Before the advent of refrigeration, various styles of pots and clay vessels were stored partially buried in the dirt in stone larders to better preserve food and store oils, jams, milk, cheeses, wine etc., leaving only the glazed top visible. This particular pot consisting of an ovular container standing on four short, splayed legs and a lid with a shallow handle would likely have been crafted for the purpose of cooking meals like soups or stews – a standard part of the rural diet which relied heavily upon one’s own produce. Meat, along with small game such as hares, eggs, and dairy were limited but available if a family owned land and/or livestock. The most popular type of French cooking pot was a confit pot, used to cook meat such as duck in its own fat, allowing it to survive and sustain a family through the cold winter months. These would have been used in the simple country kitchen, the royal kitchens of palaces like Versailles, and everywhere in between. This attractive example of antique French cookware brings the sunny charm of provincial France to any room. Its drips, chips, and imperfections draw attention to its creation and use, and its place in human history as both a functional and beautiful object.