A friend of mine bought a tagine in Morocco (which she carried in her lap on the flight home). She noticed the inside of the tagine is glazed so she bought a test kit and determined that the glaze contains lead. Can she still use it? If not, is there something she can do to make it safe for cooking, or is it just a decoration?

  • Posted by: drbabs
  • October 26, 2010
  • 4802 views
  • 15 Comments

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allie
allie October 26, 2010

It's just a decoration -- anything you can do to de-lead (short of calling in an EPA certified agency) would likely spread lead dust all over her home. Good that she knows. Take it from this NYC-apt dweller - don't mess with lead.

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calendargirl
calendargirl October 26, 2010

As a potter's daughter, I grew up learning that food and lead glazes do not mix. Lead is often used in glazes in pottery that is fired at low temperatures in Mexico and throughout the Middle East. It can provide lovely colors, but can be easily leached out when it comes in contact with acidic foods. It's really not safe for cooking or storage.

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Mr_Vittles
Mr_Vittles October 26, 2010

Lead is not a safe ingredient for any recipe! Once fired into a glaze, lead will not be able to removed unless sanded out of the material it was glazed onto. And even then it would be risky to cook anything in it. Nice find, but tell her to keep it as decoration, not a cooking utensil.

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anyone
anyone October 26, 2010

I know people will most likely say that pottery is the material for a tagine, but I like heavy long lasting cookware and I have to say that my le creuset tagine is great! A little pricey but to me well worth it. I highly recommend.

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drbabs
drbabs October 27, 2010

Thanks to you all--this is great. I had a feeling that she wouldn't be able to use it, and I appreciate your quick response and expertise.

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aargersi
aargersi October 27, 2010

I have the same one as DonnyG - in yellow (cheerful!) and i LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!

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pierino
pierino October 27, 2010

I use glazed earthenware all the time, but most of mine comes from Spain. My understanding is that to be legally imported the glaze cannot contain lead. I usually buy this stuff from places like Sur le Table, William Sonoma or the Spanish Table. The Spanish stuff is fired at very high temperatures and needs to be "seasoned" before use.

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pierino
pierino October 27, 2010

BTW Emile-Henry just introduced a tagine to its "Flame" line of earthenware. I don't own that piece (yet) but I swear by this stuff. I'll choose it over Le Creuset any day.

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anyone
anyone October 27, 2010

@pierino, I probably would too if given a choice now that I have a EH Flame dutch oven. But I can't replace my tagine with one that was a gift from my wonderful wife. I am stuck for life with that thing. But I do like it. As for the EH Flame Dutch oven. Works great and it my be that more earthenware is in my future.

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pierino
pierino October 27, 2010

I understand DG. In fact "the Big Zombie" which appears here from time to time is an All Clad tagine. And it is Big! Glad to hear you are enjoying the Flame. Pretty nifty, yeah?

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anyone
anyone October 27, 2010

@pierino-It's kinda funny I did a briased lamb shank in my new EH dutch oven and the funny thing is that the thickend liquid turned out a little darker than it would normally in cast Iron like it had been in the oven with the lid off for hours yet It wasn't reduced which leads me to believe these thig really do breath a little.

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anyone
anyone October 27, 2010

drbabs have your friend check out this site if she wants a cooking tagine that probably looks like the one she brought home.

http://www.tagines.com/cat_moroccan_cooking_tagine.cfm

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drbabs
drbabs October 27, 2010

@Donny--thanks--I sent her the link!

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pierino
pierino October 28, 2010

Donny my man, I told ya! I think you will notice subtle differences in flavor as well, compared to enameled cast iron, especially as it "seasons" with use. I'm a total convert. Continue to enjoy it. Love to hear what else ou come up with.

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anyone
anyone October 28, 2010

@pierino-Yah thanks. The flavor is different. Nuttier, Browner flavor in addition to the darker color. I'll have some new additions from the emile henry line. I ordered by dutch in blue (azure) And my wife like the color so much she purchased a roaster and a lasgana dish and a couple of platters. So, I guess EH owes you a commission! LOL! If they had a 4qt tagine I might be able to work that in too.

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