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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Plate Debate

One does not divide a household through mitosis. It just doesn’t work that way. In my case, dividing our “stuff” has not been all that complicated. I’ll keep my music (I might even listen to it someday) and my personal belongings; my ex will keep everything else. That suits me just fine. I want her to be comfortable. I want her life to continue with minimal disruption. There’s been turmoil enough. I simply want to disappear.

The time has come for hearts to heal.

* * *

A digression: The only remotely comic moment in my divorce proceedings came when I told my attorney what I was willing to accept in the property settlement. She blinked in absolute amazement: “You’re entitled to so much more!” she exclaimed. She didn’t/couldn't understand. I don’t want it. I don’t want any of it. I don’t want my former bride to fret about starting anew, her future, or her financial well-being. She was once the world to me.

I wish to leave her in peace. There's nothing else left to be done.

I’ll confess I enjoyed the look of astonishment on my attorney’s face. Too often, lawyers deal in greed. It gave me a small measure of quiet satisfaction to rock her world a bit. (Other than that, the whole process has really sucked so far).

* * *

Well, anyway…back to the matter at hand. I’ve taken to flipping through catalogs to note what I need. I’m particularly fond of the Williams & Sonoma catalogs. It’s a veritable wish book for aspiring Martha Stewarts such as I. I’ve dog-eared a number of pages…cutlery, cookware and kitchen aids, mostly. One simply must have good cutlery and trusted pots and pans, lest cooking devolve to a painful exercise. I’ll spend what I must to buy high quality essentials (not the "best" quality, mind you, but fine quality nonetheless).

I stumbled across dinnerware that caught my fancy. The dishes were meticulously crafted in a Provençale-style. They were exactly what I had envisioned for my table (my yet-to-be-bought table). I blanched when I saw the price: $100 per plate! Oh my!

Granted, it was the cost that made me stop and think, but then it hit me…I don’t want these plates. No doubt they’ve been manufactured using the highest quality materials, relying on fine Asian artisans to paint the intricate patterns and filigrees. No, I’ll pass on all that.

I do want dishes from Provence, and Tuscany and Chile, and Africa and Eastern Europe. I want to seek out each plate and bowl and cup. I want to touch them first, with my fingers, in some open-air Sunday market or dusty “antique shop” in their country of origin. I want the genuine article, even if it’s chipped and scratched; even if it’s a hand-me-down set from some anonymous upwardly mobile family. I want my dishes to come with stories.

I’ll order the cutlery and the cookware. They are, after all, craft tools. The tableware, though, won’t come from a catalog or mall. It’ll come from villages and markets and shops I find along the way as I venture forth into the world again.

The very idea charms me. The exercise will fill a need.

I must go and find my plates, my bowls, my cups and saucers. I wish to set a fanciful table, someday…invite a few friends over for dinner. I want to ply them with fine wine and have them feast on victuals I’ve prepared with my own two hands (minus a fingertip, perhaps), presented on dishes that traveled the world, each unique, each with its own tale. I don’t want to wait too long to have that dinner…(I don't have much time to waste).

I must get going.

* * *

(Which brings me to another matter…)


Blogger Amaris said...

I've learned how to serve people dinner recently... it seems I cook for people weekly, in fact. I have one dish I made myself (I can remember the blob of clay that it once was), and it's quite special to me, so I can understand your desire for dinnerware with a story.

I've lost a fingertip only once, grating cheese for a pasta dish. It's not an altogether unhappy experience--you really feel like you poured your heart into the meal, and if your guests bring the wine (like I make mine do), then I would say the dinner is successful no matter how much blood you lose (within reason, of course).

Wed Sep 20, 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger ever_trying said...

I like the idea of mismatched dinnerware holding memories from all over. Even Martha Stewart herself couldn't disapprove of that :)

Wed Sep 20, 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I cannot grate anything without bloodying a knuckle or two. Simply can't. But then, if I'm going to bleed, I prefer to bleed for the people I love.

Cooking is WAY underrated as an act of love (Like Water for Chocolate, excepted). I think we, as a society, don't cook enough.

I'm trending more and more towards Central American, Middle-Eastern, Asian and Indian cuisines. I love the spices and the scents. In general, native cuisines are simpler, healthier, and delightfully creative in blending simple ingredients and spices.

Martha Stewart has nothing to fear from me. I'll never be anally retentive enough to set a better table than she.

I want everything in my life to whisper stories. In the end, that's all we've got...our stories.

Thu Sep 21, 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger roadsofstone said...

I love those Provençales plates and table settings, too.

Actually, I love most things about Provence.

I'm not sure if they do have 'Appellation d'origine controllée' for plates yet, but maybe they should have.

Fri Sep 22, 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

c’est ça!

Sun Sep 24, 11:56:00 PM  

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