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Sanpete County Fair features Dutch Oven Cook-Off

By Staff | Aug 17, 2022

Dutch Oven Cook-Off, Saturday, Aug. 20, Enter by 2 p.m.; judging at 4:30 p.m., Fairgrounds Pavilion

Dutch Oven Cook-Off

Saturday, Aug. 20

Enter by 2 p.m.; judging at 4:30 p.m.

Fairgrounds Pavilion

Prepare now to create that favorite Dutch oven dish using that wonderful secret family recipe. Be it with a cobbler, casserole, brisket, beans, potatoes or a sinful dessert, contestants will be going for top prizes in the annual Sanpete County Fair’s Dutch Oven Cook-Off on Saturday, Aug. 20, during the Sanpete County Fair.

Don’t worry about a lack of expertise; come join in the Dutch oven food and fun for the afternoon. The cook-off will be held next to the pavilion at the fairgrounds in Manti. Dutch Oven Cook-Off competitors need to bring their completed entry form(s) to the Fairgrounds Pavilion and must be entered by 2 p.m. that day. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Food will be available to purchase after the judging at $5 per plate with the proceeds going to the Sanpete County Fair. An entry form in included in the back of this magazine or extra entry forms will be available the day of the cook-off at the pavilion.

Dutch oven history

The origins of the Dutch oven come from the Netherlands (as you might expect from something with the word “Dutch” in its name) during the 17th century. At the time, the most valued cookware was being made of expensive materials such as copper and brass. The Dutch were some of the finest craftsmen of the day, supplying much of the world’s finest cookware.

An English craftsman, however, thought that he could do better. He believed that there was a market for less expensive cookware. The key to this was using cheaper materials such as cast iron. But this posed a challenge. The Dutch method of casting used sand molds to achieve a fine sheen to the finished material. The English methods at the time used molds made primarily of clay. Darby and his right-hand man, James Thomas, set out to find a way to cast iron using sand molds.

Their first attempts were failures as working with molten iron differed from the brass that they were used to using. But eventually, they succeeded in creating a method for casting iron in sand molds. This made the process cheaper and more efficient. And it allowed them to bring cheaper, more durable cookware to the market rapidly.

The Dutch oven has always been a simple concept. At its simplest, the Dutch oven is a covered pot. But it’s really much more than that. Its earliest uses called for cooking directly in open flames. This is why the pot needed to be so rugged and why the pot needed a well-fitted lid.

Even today, variants of the Dutch oven are a staple for campfire cooking. Referred to as a camping or cowboy Dutch oven, the cast iron construction makes it ideal to withstand the rigors of cooking in an open-flame environment.

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