Flood Damaged LC Question

triciaeNovember 15, 2012

Would you cook with LC that was submerged in Sandy's floodwaters for several days?

Trying to decide whether to add them to the list. The adjuster was out a few days ago and we're expecting an advance on our claim next week to get started with the rebuild. FEMA has been a huge help.

On the LC, since they were in the floodwaters I'm sure there's no insurance issue - just wondering if the exposed CI along with rim would absorb icky stuff? Probably, huh? :(

/tricia (who will not be cooking T-Day dinner this year)

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Tricia, good to hear from you and to know that the rebuild will soon be under way. What a huge pain in the patoot.

What's LC? Sorry to be dense.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:58PM
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LC = Le Creuset?
CI = cast iron?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:10PM
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My sympathies with your flood damage. I hope you get back up soon.

You can always sand down cast iron with an electric sander. I've rescued cast iron which was quite rusty and managed to salvage it. Also, the edges of your LC may not be badly damaged at all. It depends on how long it was in contact with water.

BTW rusty iron may taste icky but I don't think it's toxic in small amounts. It's not nearly as bad as some nasties.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:17PM
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another who is glad to see you alive, kicking and WITH POWER!!
I wouldn't worry about it....
Put it into the oven at 500 for a while....as you would do if you were making that NY Times no knead bread.
anything in there should steam out and anything that didn't steam out would be sterile.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I'm sorry. LC = Le Creuset & CI = Cast Iron

The saltwater obviously contains ultra-mini critters (micro-organisms) that fresh water does not. We also live by 3 marinas so lots of boats around including ours - thinking oil. Just wondering if the water was too contaminated to be safe for food useage?


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I would call Le Creuset and ask them.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Why not run it through the DW and re-season. Seal the edges with oil after you are done. The detergent should remove any oil. You can also soak it in alcohol to kill any mini-critters before you wash it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:15PM
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Send it to me!!!....I'll bake it at 500 degrees and use it in a heart beat!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:17PM
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I don't think the cast iron is so absorbent that mini-critters if any would have penetrated very far into the non-seasoned edge. People rescue cast iron that has been stored in dubious conditions for years all the time and it's fine. I'd do as Linda C suggests and use it without batting an eyelid. Give it a good scrub and re-season.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:29PM
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However, I would not use Lean Cuisine that had been submerged for several days! :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:13PM
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I'd wash the LC and use it, no worries. Swish some bleach around in it if you are concerned.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:28PM
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First, Saltwater has fewer microbes than freshwater. That's why mostly saltwater fishes are used for sushi.

Before you subject the LC to heat, which can accelerate chemical interaction with iron and other substances:

I would first wash the LC with detergent to dissolve oily substance.

Then wash with vinegar (acid treatment to neutralize alkaline chemicals)

Then wash with baking soda (alkaline treatment to neutralize acidic chemicals)

Good luck with everything.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:38PM
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I would scrub and reseason it - I don't think it is that porous. I happily pick up CI and LC in flea markets and such when I can find them.

I am so sorry you suffered damage in the storm though it sounds like you are on the long road back. I used to live in central NJ - it is very sad to see all the familiar places so damaged.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:39PM
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If it's enamel coated, you shouldn't sand it or season it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Rust (iron oxide) is not toxic, it is actually an FDA approved additive. Eating rust does not help with iron deficiency, though - the iron is not very bio available.

The seafood we eat is exposed to all the same stuff that your pots have been exposed to, for way longer, and are a lot more absorbent. I wouldn't be worried about the cookware.

Just wash and use. It'll be a nice story about how "these pots survived Sandy".

I'm glad FEMA is helping you.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:19AM
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Thanks for the help. Obviously, we no longer have a stove or a dishwasher. Or even a sink to wash the LC. But, someday we will so I'll just package it up and into the POD it goes.

A couple days ago, FEMA helped us get a mini-fridge and a small microwave for our room. Thay will help our living conditions and we feel guilty because so many would love to have same.

Thanks for the help. I've got quite a bit of LC and would not want to lose it.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:40AM
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((((trica)))) I'm just glad to see you back and kicking! I'm thankful for you and yours who get to start rebuilding. That will help so much.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Does the hotel you're staying at have a restaurant? Maybe they'd be so kind as to let you wash the pans in their kitchen before you pack it away. It might be worth asking.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:30AM
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tricia - glad to hear you are okay. Also glad FEMA is there for you. Things are things and can be replaced.

On another (yet related) note: I am getting ready to refinish my kitchen cabinets. While starting to empty the cabinets I am photographing equipment and looking up replacement prices. I had not updated my insurance rider for a while. It's amazing what replacement costs really add up to.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:35AM
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Thanks for all the best wishes. It's comforting to read them.

Sally, no the hotel does not have a restaurant. They have a complimentary breakfast (4 oz. Yoplait yogurts, stale bagels, coffee/tea). We've not had a home cooked meal since the storm other than those our wonderful neighbors have brought to us at the hotel in the evening.

Teresa, YES, replacement costs are astronomical! Yesterday, I was pricing a replacement for our Tempur-Pedic mattress and about gagged. This morning, DH had his gag moment when he saw the price for the new atrium door and it's various parts on our contractor's bid sheet. I'm glad to read you're updating your policy. With FEMA Flood insurance there are fairly low limits for contents.

One of our neighbors told us yesterday that she's added us to the T-Day dinner delivery list that a local church provides. Some of you may remember that DH & I have volunteered for several years delivering many meals through this program during better times. It's sorta silly but we don't even have clothes to go out for T-Day except, maybe, McD's. DH only brought muck boots thinking only of what he needed for after the storm. Both of us got out with the clothes on our backs and one change of torn, paint blotched work jeans, sweatshirt & underwear. Mandatory evacuation is not fun. :( We used the room in our van for things like family pictures, Dad's accordion, etc. rather than personal attire. But, life will get better. We at least have a house to rebuild and we do have clothes - they are just Gawd knows where since the mitigation crew stuffed everything unlabeled into boxes and into the POD to get them quickly out of the house without our presence. Nevertheless, I'm forever grateful for their fast and exceptionally thorough response. I'm sure they saved us thousands in both structural and personal property damage.

/tricia (who has a year of food but can't get at enough to make a snack before bed!)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Hi Tricia! Good to see you are moving forward and getting help--you are too experienced with flooding :~(.

I love my LC - cook almost exclusively with it--you've asked a tough question--my first instinct is to ask you if you would be comfortable licking the bottom of your boat????
I would not cook with the LC after being submerged for days in the floodwaters, but mostly the Marina toxins and ground toxins that all became part of and contaminated the floodwaters - and the sewage - and too much other yukky stuff to think about. Given your health issues, the very last thing you need is to take any chances of cooking with utensils that are unsanitary. Take the Insurance money and buy new LC all in pretty colors!!!!!!

I would recommend buying a Breville Smart Oven now - you will be able to cook complete homecooked meals everyday in it. You will love it!

My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Tricia - After a thorough cleaning, I'd have no problem using LC even if it had been used as a bed pan.

More importantly, so glad to see you posting. Sounds like you've got a long road ahead of you, but at least you're taken care of, one way or another.

I hope your insurance makes life easy for you. I'm hearing both good and bad stories. For me - so far - I can say it seems like mine is living up their claim of being "on my side." Beyond expectations, honestly. Of course I'm just a drop in their bucket and they probably just want to make me happy to get me out of their hair as they move on to deal with more serious issues.

Best to you and DH.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:46PM
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FOAS, how are you doing? Has the skylight been repaired? What's going on? Good that the insurance company is coming through for you. They are all going to be broke was this mess is resolved.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Glad to hear you and your family are OK. Things can be replaced. I would call LC and ask them what to do. Maybe they will send you a replacement. Good PR for them. I know it will seem like forever before your life is back to normal but this too will pass. Good luck in the months ahead and wish you the best.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:36PM
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Bit of an overreaction IMO magothyrivergirl! As FOAS says, if it had a thorough cleaning, I'd cook in the LC even after it had been used as a bedpan. It's not soaking in any toxins. And after a thorough cleaning, I'd lick the bottom of a boat as well. Your analogy is flawed.
If triciae's insurance isn't paying out much on contents, IMO she'd be better off using what she gets replacing the stuff that truly does need replacing, like the mattress, and cleaning and reusing what she can.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:46PM
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Tricia, I'm glad you were put on the Thanksgiving Day dinner list. You guys deserve to just relax and enjoy the food that day. Try to relax at least and put the problems on hold for a bit.

I agree with those who have no problem using it. The exposed surfaces are minimal and easily cleaned. Pack them up and clean them when you're ready to use them once again. A good scrubbing with soap, bit of disinfecting by heat after it's clean and dried out for a couple days and you'll be good to go. If the exposed edges get a bit of rust that's easily dealt with too.

One of my oldest cast iron pans, my favorite 16" x 3" deep fryer is well over a hundred years old. I've had it for about 3 years but sure have no idea what it had in it for the hundred years before that. And, that's all cast iron, not enameled. I cleaned it, heated it, seasoned it and have been using it ever since. Your LC will be fine.

Take care of yourselves and let me know if there is anything I can do from down here.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:12AM
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I doubt anyone would be concerned with how you are dressed for Thanksgiving dinner.

I wish I could bring you a good breakfast, or lunch, but I live a bit too far. It would be cold before I could get it to you.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:40AM
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