Breaking Le Creuset and Carving Boards


Last night was the penultimate in a series bereavement classes that I've been attending, run by Simon Kruger and Kate Capper of St Mary's church Reigate, and we were asked to bring along something that reminded us of our dead person. Sorry if the language "dead person" shocks, but there's an awful lot of euphemistic language around that succeeds in not using the word dead. This is not my reality, and not the reality of the others on this course. For all of us, that important person, Babette in my case, has not "Passed", or "Passed on" or "No longer with us" nor is she "Deceased"(well she is of course, but why use a long word when a short one will do), or "Departed", or "No more". She is dead! And the use of the words that avoid "Dead", are all the more sad, because I know that people either use them out of habit, or because they feel that it will lessen the blow. If you think about it, you soon realise the futility of such an aim.

The answer is, you can’t lessen the blow. And so what if the person, that you are trying to be kind to, bursts into tears at the thought of their loved one being dead, I’d like to suggest that you be brave enough to "just be" with them, and listen to them. And I can almost guarantee* that that will be healing for them. It may have embarrassed you, but they are likely to have benefitted from being given an opportunity to talk to about their loss. What I have experienced, in these last 14months, is that talking about Babette is just great...not always comfortable, but great none the less. And for great, read healing.

* Perhaps there are no guarantees, as some find it very difficult talking about their grief, but better to have tried than just left the grieving person on their own, grieving.

Babette’s wisdom
Ok, so rant over....almost. Therefore, you can probably guess what I'm going to talk about next. Yup it’s Babette. Why? Well, it’s because I am very proud of her and in this example, for the way her mind worked, and the wisdom that, from time to time, could just pour out of her. This story is a regurgitation of one I sent out in an email in late March 2020, so, if you’ve been on the books for a long time and have a good memory, you might want to skip the next paragraph or so.

To remind you, and to set the scene, the pandemic was now being taken very seriously and I was wondering what was going to happen and how we were going to survive? So, at that time I wrote this ….

Jeanne arrived home from Banstead (shop now closed June 2022) and she was clearly worried by the fact that sales were already being affected by the virus.

After listening to her concerns for a while, Babette said “We will adapt, whatever happens mankind has a huge capacity to adapt and we will. What is difficult is change, and the fear of what we might lose, and at this moment we cannot see yet what we will gain. As a consequence, we tend to want to hang on to what we know and what we have”.

She continued, “When babies are about to be born, I always imagine how difficult it must be for them to have to leave a warm cosy place, where food is on tap. Suddenly finding themselves on the outside, vulnerable, and dependent on others for all their needs, might seem like a pretty bad deal really.

So don’t worry Jeanne, we will pull through, one day at a time, and in the meantime let’s keep our energies peaceful and calm.”

The change on Jeanne’s face was really quite profound.

It didn’t do me any harm either!

So, this is what I read out on Wednesday night, a memory that typifies Babette for me and one that I will carry forward with me, until I, in turn, die…

However, you haven’t got rid of me yet, so to product:

A bit of a mish-mash this week. I’ve got another Le Creuset set that, once again, I’ve “over bought”, so we are now reducing the prices even further, plus a couple of nice carving boards and an exciting ice cube tray, which will be eye opening to you because it’s likely you didn’t know ice cube trays could be exciting.

Le Creuset TNS 3 Pc Set £265.00 now £195.00
Some months ago, we bought in a Le Creuset 3 Piece TNS set that, I must admit, hasn’t gone down a storm, and this I find a bit puzzling because every piece is highly usable. A 20cm Frying pan, a 26cm Frying Pan, and a 26cm shallow casserole, which doubles as a 26cm deep frying pan or chef’s pan (albeit with two short handles). So, the sort of pans very much in everyday use, in every kitchen in the land, I’d have thought. Well, either the mix is wrong or I’m wrong, because we’ve still got loads of them left.

So, my offer this week is that now you can either buy the set (RRP £265.00) for £195.00

Or you can buy individual pieces, as follows:

  • 20cm Frying pan (RRP £105) for £69.00
  • 26cm Frying pan (RRP £99 Special Purchase) for £79.00
  • 26cm Shallow Casserole (RRP £165.00) for £95.00

These prices are the lowest I think you’ll find anywhere, and whilst still not exactly being given away, plastic based non sticks don’t come any better than Le Creuset’s TNS. Tough old birds they are, but remember not to use too much heat with any non-stick, even TNS, and they will last for many years. And whilst they are dishwasher safe, avoid the dishwasher, and you’ll add a few more years to the pan’s life!

Grunwerg Bamboo Carving Boards. Two sizes: £39.50 and £59.00
These Carving Boards have just arrived in stock and are nicely made and finished. They are made of Bamboo, which, in fact, is a very fast-growing grass, so pretty ecological. It’s hard, so is very durable, but soft enough to not blunt knife blades. I felt that the grooves for collecting juices, that are machined on the top surface, are perhaps unnecessarily deep, but maybe that’s just me? It has a useful, removable, central spiked ring for holding the meat in one place as you carve. This you can store securely in place underneath, when not using it, or not using it as a carving board. A word about Bamboo. Sometimes, there are issues with it absorbing too much water and splitting results. This is easily avoided by not leaving it in the washing up bowl to soak, and of course don’t put it in the dishwasher. They come in two sizes 40cm x 28cm (16”x 11”) and 48cm x 36cm (19”x14”).

Super Cube Ice Tray: £8.95
Lastly, there is the Super Cube Ice Tray: I think I may have exaggerated when I said it was exciting, BUT, it is unusual in that it produces very large ice cubes, which consequently take much longer to melt. If I’d paid attention at school, I’d be able to substantiate this claim with some form of maths, trigonometry, algebra and complicated long division sums, but sadly I didn’t, These things either flew completely over my head, or I was thinking about model railways, or latterly girls. So just trust me when I say they take longer to melt, so keeping your drink cooler for longer….although… and now a worried furrow has crossed my brow, some form of logic also tells me that if that’s the case they probably take longer to cool the drink….but that I’m not sure about that. Must try harder!

I thought that this would be a simple product to talk about, but it’s turned into a mathematical nightmare. And, you know, I’ve a feeling that I’ve discussed this before with my Mancunian typesetter, ( he is an educated and well read man) and he didn’t have the answer to this either.

So anyway, if I haven’t completely put you off, it says on the packet, “Slow Melting Super Cube Ice Tray”, until proven otherwise let’s take it as read. £8.95.

That’s it for this week. I’ll leave Simon Sinek with last word from his book “Leaders Eat Last” At this point I’ve not read the book, but only seen him interviewed about it, so I’m unsure of the context, but my gut feeling is that it’s worthy of some thought.

“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards



Andrew Bluett-Duncan




  • Andrew Bluett-Duncan

    That’s very kind of you to say so Angela. Thank you very much.
    Kind regards

  • Angela

    I just wanted to say – I love these emails and this blog. It is the one ‘pitch’ I read unfailingly.
    Strength to you Andrew and to your wonderful shops. Keep on, keeping on.

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