By Nancy McKeon
SO FEW NEEDS, so many wants. Such is the life of the pandemic browser. Here are the things decorative and digestive that have caught my eye recently.
A late-19th-century water jug by Makuzu Közan I (Miyagawa Toranosuke) in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was the source for this delightful assortment of tabletop offerings. The “Grasshopper Procession” series in porcelain (the original water jug was stoneware) includes a set of four 8-inch dessert plates ($65) and a 15-inch-long serving tray ($42), plus trinket trays and mugs. An 18-by-13-inch serving tray is made of wood and lacquer and is $105. At the Met gift shop.
A plastic watering can can be had for a few dollars, but how long do you want to look at it? A CB2 collaboration with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago resulted in this carafe/vase/watering can by student Mathew Devendorf. Made of stoneware with a matte white glaze, it’s a lot of look for $19.95.
Created in his Brooklyn studio, Andrej Urem’s handmade candles burn from the inside, giving them an almost ethereal glow while leaving their unique forms intact. Arjuna (top, left and right, $35) and Passiflora (bottom, left and right, $35) are 4 by 4 by 4 inches and promise about 70 hours of burning time. Small candles (about 2½ inches square) are $25; larger, more complex forms, some a foot tall, run up to $200. All at AU Collection.
Banish those plastic storage bags and the plastic wrap and try Bee’s Wrap, fabric infused with beeswax, which molds to the task by the warmth of your hands and is washable, reusable and compostable. Buy it by the 52-inch-long roll ($30) or the piece (three sheets, small, medium and large, $18). The stuff sounds expensive, and I guess it is, but the price we pay for depending on single-use plastic film may be greater in the long run.
While we’re in the kitchen, I will confess my love for Vietnamese barbecue. But I’m always missing something: limes, dark soy, the right fish sauce, the lemongrass. Enter Omsom, shelf-stable flavor packets by two first-generation Vietnamese Americans based in New York who have teamed with Asian chefs to provide the basics for a variety of classic Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Filipino and Japanese dishes. The packets come with recipes and variations to inspire, plus the sauce, aromatics and seasonings to make it all happen (I have to provide the meat/fish/protein and any veggies I want). For $12 I can buy a set of three starter packs for Lemongrass BBQ or Thai Larb, that fiery minced salad, or spicy Korean Bulgogi. Or for $55 I can get a full “fire bundle,” 12 East Asian and Southeast Asian starter packets, adding up to two weeks’ worth of meals. And no leftover lemongrass will go to waste.