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WABI SABI IN
The wabi sabi approach
to choosing crockery and kitchen equipment requires
a change of attitude to one that embraces Zen
ideology. Here you would not look for a sterile,
pristine, shiny kitchen with everything in the
right place but something that is more earthy,
organic and tactile.
research indicates that eating food that is
too clean and drinking water that is too pure
may make us more susceptible to food poisoning
and allergies as our intestines and immune system
loose the ability to regularly work with a range
of bacteria and viruses.
The kitchen would
ideally be a place you would feel tranquil and
calm and most importantly a room you would want
to spend time in. In an age of pre-packed meals
and processed foods it helps to get biologically
closer to nature by preparing your own meals
using whole living ingredients.
The wabi sabi mentality
does not recognise the need for matching sets.
Using your intuition and creativity you can
mix styles and materials at a table setting.
Different sizes, textures and designs all add
to the interest and atmosphere of the eating
area. In a family you can let each member choose
his or her favourite dishes. When inviting guests
you can intuitively choose the crockery you
think best suits each friend. This will be more
interesting for each person than everyone having
the same matching set of plate, bowl and cutlery.
Chips and cracks
Try to re-orientate
your mind to accept chips and cracks as part
of the aging process of your crockery. The obvious
exception to this is anything that results in
a sharp dangerous edge, for example a chipped
glass, and these should be discarded or ground
down to make safe.
Glazes can craze
with age adding an attractive patina to a plate
or bowl, whites will yellow and colours fade.
In addition to reflecting the passing of time
these items take on a special appearance that
can only come through age.
Resist the temptation
to 'lay' the table. Look for ways to intuitively
place items in a way that is functional and
yet does not follow an obvious pattern.
Wabi sabi objects
would generally be hand made and demonstrate
an easy uncontrived appearance. Ideally each
piece would be recognisably individual and even
better might show something of the maker's identity,
a small flaw or certain mark. Looking at the
object you would hope to gain some insight into
The classic wabi
sabi tea pot would be of a simple design and
made leaving a rough, textured surface. Look
for tea pots with a functional shape but made
of a material that feels interesting and perhaps
has a texture that holds your gaze, something
There is no need
to have a matching set and here you can mix
mugs with cups and saucers. Indeed the saucers
do not need to match the cups. Typical wabi
sabi styles would be simple, earthy and hand
cooking employs an iron pot with a handle and
wooden lid. This simple pot is ideal for soups,
stews and grain or bean dishes. Season the inside
with oil to resist rust. The heaviness and course
finish of the pot helps give your food that
rural, simple but satisfying feel.
Cast iron frying
pans will bring more of a wabi sabi feel to
your kitchen. They tarnish and age well and
give a more rustic feel to your cooking. Try
to get a pan that is uncoated and season it
yourself with oil.
Wooden plates and
bowls carry a more textured, mat, porous finish
than glazed crockery and make for a simple surface
to eat your food from. Also consider wooden
utensils and chopsticks. Simple designs would
best represent wabi sabi thinking. Rough clay
bowls, dishes and plates Look out for interesting
plates, bowls and serving dishes. These do not
have to be round. You may find an attractive
square plate or hexagonal bowl. Seek out designs
that are asymmetrical and look out of balance.
Simple, elegant dishes may help you feel in
the mood for more healthy, natural foods. More
modest, humble designs will let the food provide
the colour and forms on your table.
Contact Simon for help applying wabi sabi to your own life.
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