Love in the Time of Coriander

Thoughts on food & more.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dishin' It Out

It makes me absurdly giggly. All I want to do is plate food onto them in order to display their magnificence. Where, you ask, did I get these dishes? Three differences circumstances converged in our acquisition of our new dishware.

1. As a birthday gift from his best friend, E took a class at Heath Ceramics in Sausalito last year. Heath specializes in making ceramic dishware and tiles. E took a class about phototransfering onto tiles, in which he learned to make the cutest tile of sock monkeys in the jungle, a mainstay of our kitchen decor.

2. When it came time to register for wedding gifts, we had a breakdown at Macy's, wondering what on earth we'd possibly want there besides underwear or jeans (which, incidentally, you are not allowed to register for). After two hours of wandering about the store, we left having put only two small suitcases on the registry.

3. I have been "over" my dishes since the day my mother bought them for me. I mistakenly mentioned to her once that I needed dishes after a roommate of mine (and her dishes) had moved out. My mother, who is a Costco shopper, bought two 4-place setting sets of Mikasa china in an ivory color and rimmed with gold. Eek! Aesthetically, they are totally not my style, especially the gold rim. From the start it drove me nuts because it makes the plates unable to be microwaved.

These three variables, put together in an equation, yielded: Heath. Started in the 1940s by Edith Heath, an artist and designer, the company gained and maintained its reputation for simple but elegant ceramics. Shortly after the company started, Gump's began to carry them, which was the main way they became distributed. (They are no longer carried by Gump's but can be found at Barney's.) Several restaurants in the area, such as Slanted Door, use Heath to show off their creations. The plates aren't cheap, but they'll also, according to everyone we know, last forever. Not just because of their quality but also because they are timeless pieces.

Yesterday, we drove to the Heath headquarters in Sausalito to pick up our "loot" as E called it--things that our friends and family had purchased for us off the registry. We supplemented with a gift certificate we had gotten, too. The experience of browsing in the store is a wonderfully fun thing, but we also arrived on time to take a tour of the factory. We witnessed the way the clay is processed and made usable, saw the molds used for the teapots, watched an employee throw a pot, and even got to spy the kilns. Heath is small enough that all the pieces have been touched by people either in the process of throwing or glazing. All the dishes come out with slight differences, making them like endearing big-eared or gap-toothed friends.

At the end of the tour, we carefully packed up our loot and headed for home. We washed them immediately and ousted the gold-rimmed Mikasa. Suddenly, unperturbed by the idea of more dishes to do, I've started to plate pasta I've made in bowls rather than leaving it in the sauce pan.


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