My mom recently gifted me with a donabe pot. It's a traditional Japanese clay pot used for cooking all sorts of things over a gas flame. It's known for gentle heat and even distribution. It's porous nature is said to add an extra ethereal element to the flavor of your food. You need to season your donabe by cooking a mixture or rice and water or flour and water in the pot before using it for cooking and then you're good to go. You must be gentle with your donabe. It encourages mindful cooking because although it looks sturdy it must be coddled a bit, due to the porous nature of the ceramic. You must be sure to dry it thoroughly before cooking with it, so it doesn't develop cracks, and you want to make sure there is always at a least a little liquid in the pot when it is set over a flame. Once you know these basic rules, you can cook almost anything from rice to stews, braises, and soups. It is both a cooking and serving vessel, so be sure to choose one you love. Of course I had to do a little research once I received my donabe, so I picked up two books. The first is Donabe: Classic and Modern Clay Pot Cooking by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton. The second is Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat. They are both very engaging books that make me appreciate my gift even more. I've seasoned my pot and now it's time to get cooking.