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Is my dutch oven starting to get ruined?

Dangaard | Feb 8, 201508:02 AM

Some years ago, my gf at the time purchased a Fontignac 5qt dutch oven for some unknown reason and never used it. When we separated, I ended up with it. A little over a year ago I started cooking quite a bit and starting using it. By now it's one of my favourite things in my kitchen be it for pasta sauces, mac and cheese, braises after searing, searing in general (on account of all my other cookware being non stick coated until I figure out if I want to buy a 12" stainless steel or cast iron skillet) etc.

Lately though I've noticed what appears to be damage and scratching to the bottom of it. I don't own metal cooking utensils and basically only use wooden spoons and plastic tipped tongs in it. Maybe I scrubbed it too vigorously with something too harsh? I don't own metal scrubbers though. I've attached a couple pictures. They really look like scratches to me although the surface still feels smooth. The areas that are scratched get food stuck/cooked on to it much more easily and are more difficult to clean off. In addition to the scratches, if you look closely, there seem to be striations of some sort moving from the edges inwards to the center all along the sides.

Am I ruining my dutch oven somehow? I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong or if it's just the slightly lower quality of Fontignac (although from what I've read it's considered perfectly good even if it's not Le Creuset/Staub), or if it's not actually scratches and it might come off if I used Barkeepers Friend or something.

Any thoughts or tips on what might be going on? Is this normal gently loved dutch oven behaviour? Have I been desecrating it somehow and am on the path to destroying it? Should I just eventually shell out for a higher quality dutch oven that could potentially run me over 300 dollars? (I would love a larger 6.7L dutch oven anyways since I find mine is slightly small sometimes). Should I just stick with cheap ones if I'm going to ruin it anyways? Send help! I'm loathe to think I'm ruining a $100+ piece of cookware after such a short period of time!

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