Hello! Sorry for the long absence (I know I know Mom… I am mostly apologizing to you). I have been sick. You know one of those congested want to do nothing but sleep colds. I feel better, but I still have that lingering cough that makes your ribs hurt from coughing. I sound much worse than I feel. I had all of these ideas of what to post and then being sick in bed most nights the last week, I really do not remember most of what I wanted to talk about.
Alright, on to Japanese dishes. How’s that for a segue? If you know me, you know that I love to cook. One thing you maybe didn’t know is that when I was younger and my grandmother asked me what I wanted to inherit of her belongings, I told her that I wanted all of her Japanese dishes. How’s that for a request?
Taiwan was colonized for a time up until WWII by Japan, so there is a lot of Japanese influence here in food, custom, and design. Don’t get me wrong there are many very Taiwanese aspects about living here, but the Japanese influence is comforting because in many ways it is familiar to D and I.
When we moved, we embraced the idea of simplifying and one of my favorite pre-move memories is after the movers came and boxed up our 20 boxes to ship to Taiwan. We had already given away our furniture, so we were kind-of camping in our Seattle apartment, but we ordered pizza and had our friends come over and go “shopping” through what was left in the apartment for anything that they wanted/needed.
Almost all of the dishes I had collected over the last 14 years were distributed to friends or donated. When we arrived in Taiwan our apartment had 3 bowls, 5 plates, and a few pieces random pieces of silverware. Nice to have something, but white round plates. If you know me well, you know I would never purchase white round plates…NEVER. With close proximity to Japan I am finding that Japanese dishes are easy to come by and much cheaper than the ones you want to buy at Uwajimaya, but refuse to pay $15.00 dollars for. You know the ones I am talking about 😁
I have some beautiful stone ramen bowls and Saturday got these plates that remind me of pasta bowls, slight edges so the pasta and sauce sit in them nicely with a leaf pattern. The best part is they are not expensive and relatively easy to find. Some of them like the plates I just bought were at the local grocery store near the check stand!
We also went on a dish excursion to a neighborhood closer to New Taipei city (north of us) to Yingge. The Yingge district is famous for the production of ceramics and porcelain. We came home with a few rectangular plates that have a really interesting texture and a couple of rice bowls. It is not quite the matching set, but it makes for an interesting dinner table and it is more fun. We had friends over for dinner last night and our youngest guest got to have the blue leafs in her plate since that was her favorite color. It is more fun to have an eclectic collection than a matching one. But, this is an opinion coming from a girl who did not see the need to register for china or plates when she got married, so take it as it is, my opinion.
Maybe my favorite purchase so far is the weekend market Loganberry wood cutting board. I have always wanted a nice thick chopping block and this husband and wife team make these amazing wood products. Loganberry wood is native to Taiwan and a very tough wood. Not only is it a great cutting board it is a great presentation piece for the dinner table.
The last item to address is that now I think I will never be able to go back to an electric burner. My good friend Ann told me that having gas would revolutionize life in the kitchen and she was not joking. For someone who likes to cook having a gas flame seems so much more efficient and I have to admit even now after 5 months in I still feel pretty fancy when I am cooking. I guess this is turning into less of a cultural post and more of a things I like in Taiwan post.
In Seattle, it was easy to part with my plates that I found at Marshalls because J-love and I were great about finding plates at Marshalls. I always knew there were more to be found. These new additions to my Taiwanese kitchen I may eventually be able to part with, but right now I like them so much I am already planning to ship them home when the time comes.