Before launching in February 2023, our cypress drop lids were more than four years in the making. In fact, this accessory to our cast-iron cookware was born out of a conversation with Nashville chef Sean Brock about condensation and evaporation (nerd alert!).

Inspired by the Japanese otoshi buta and French cartouche, our food-safe, cypress-wood drop lids are on sale now, made right here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and available in three sizes to pair with the Heather, Homer, Joan, Lili, and Joe.

What do they do exactly? All sorts of things, from aiding your sauté, braise, steam, reduction, and strain to serving as a trivet. Just don’t put them in a live fire, because, you know, wood. This medium absorbs heat less readily than metal lids, instead transferring that energy back into the food, yielding more even, fast, and consistent cooking, with less evaporation and condensation of your cooking liquid.

So how do you use them? All you have to do is place them inside your pan. Yes, inside—on top of your food. Here, it helps hold your ingredients together, aid simmering and poaching, maintain moisture, keep your pot from boiling over, and avoid those skins from forming on top of your sauce. Importantly, they also help retain and concentrate flavor and aroma.

They might seem strange, but they’re multi-use,” says Brock. “If you walk through the kitchen at Audrey right now, you might see someone using them on smaller pots to create a seal for steaming, like we do with greens. They could be on top of pots, keeping something hot, and they could be flipped over and slipped underneath a dish as a trivet. It’s maximum efficiency for the way we both cook and plate.”

For our druthers, we use the drop lids to cook pots of beans, caramelize onions, griddle burgers, make glazes, pop popcorn, and so on.

Clean them like you would your wooden cutting boards or other kitchen utensils like spoons and spatulas—with soap and water, drying thoroughly before storage. 

February 15, 2023 — Dennis Powell