Thought for food

by Rummana Ferdous Fagun

FOOD HAS made a curious journey from being a basic biological need to becoming an art form. Now, every kind of art needs the perfect vessel to reach its full potential. ‘You eat with your eyes first’ is a saying because half the beauty of food is in the art of serving. The pot used to serve a dish expresses a person’s taste and panache. Eating a delicious meal on beautiful plates can change the experience for the better. Ceramics have provided the necessary tableware throughout the ages with a gradual change in quality and design.
Material design and simplistic patterns have gained popularity in the recent years. Even in the last decade, intricate designs, colourful floral patterns and gold trimmings were highly sought after. However, this has been replaced by solid colours, monochromes and lucid patterns now. Designs with dark colours like black and navy, inspired by Chinese ceramics, have elevated things from intricate to classy. Other than that, various types of material designs with simple lines, squares and circles draw everyone’s attention while crockery shopping at least once.
Sets of six plates, pots or cups, each in a different solid colour can be trendy. A pop of colour creates a new dimension in tableware. That is if you dare to be a little bold. The solid coloured crockeries are mostly made from stoneware, which is a type of ceramic that are more durable than earthenware. Glass components are often added for strength and the texture can be smooth or rough depending on the paint.
Colourful or white simplicity is always trendy. All white porcelain dishes have always been a constant favourite resembling elegant pieces of snowflakes made from both porcelain and bone china. Though always in fashion, plain white dishes were used mostly in restaurants, but nowadays they have made their way to homes as well. Various textures or shades of white are used to form designs on the ceramics.
Porcelain looks shiny and enticing but bone china is more durable. It is thicker and harder than porcelain. A word of caution here is that high quality bone china can be a bit expensive. Monno Ceramics and Shinepukur Ceramics are hands down two of the best options for quality ceramics in Bangladesh. Monno has been running a successful business in Bangladesh since 1984 and Shinepukur since 1999. Both the companies have their own plants in the country. Using raw materials from home and abroad, they have been producing quality products for decades. Both the companies have several shops throughout Dhaka, especially in Elephant road, to showcase a wide range of their products of various qualities. They have everyday use, occasional as well as premium lines of merchandise. Besides these two there are many brands in the market like Protik Ceramics, Sunrise Ceramics, RAK Ceramics and others.
Lifestyle stores like Aarong and Jatra have collections which are elegant as well as unique. Blue, earthen and white are the most common colour palate here while handmade and hand painted products are their specialty. An asymmetry in the structure, a splash of colour here, a stroke of the brush there make their dishes look unique as well as interesting.
Earthenware has always been under the radar in case of style statement, but if utilised properly they can change the aesthetics of the table. Now, classics are classics for a reason and in case of ceramics, the elegantly designed cups and saucers, dishes and mugs made of glossy porcelain and gold/silver trimmings with monochrome flowers, plants and birds painted on the surface are always classy and often prized as collectibles.
There are various genres of tableware like retro, classic, earthenware, etc. but making sure to present them all in harmony is the trick. A classic piece would not look good with earthenware and vice versa. Also, ceramic isn’t only limited to plates and cups now; there are different kinds of containers for different purposes. For example, French fry holders have become very popular nowadays. There are multi-tiered glass/ceramic stands to serve desserts like cakes and muffins. Plates of different shapes can be found for different types of dishes, like long flat trays to serve a whole barbecue fish or large round plates to serve a delicious pizza. There is also glass plates shaped like fish, leaves and flowers to serve appetisers.
Versatility brings about a vast array of choices. Choice has a twin brother named confusion. However, with time and a proper cultivation of taste one can certainly find just the right piece in their tableware puzzle.

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