KATHMANDU: You are famished, your favourite dish is being cooked and guests have already arrived, but not so fast! You have to wait for lunch to be served and the hunger is killing you. Finally after many mood swings and popping of the veins, you hold your plate for the first helping only to get embarrassed. There are yellow stains on the plate, you can see marks of steel wool on it, even the serving dish looks worn out and above all the guests make that disgusted face noticing all this. At that moment you wish somebody would nudge you making you realise it was just a nightmare. Suddenly a distant voice calls out your name and to your relief you wake up sighing... Yes, it was indeed a nightmare, but if you purchase bad quality crockery, soon it can morph into reality and obviously you don’t want that.
Now that you want to avoid this nightmare, you rush to the department stores as these are easy access to buy crockery. There are varieties available with different price ranges and perhaps even the quality is guaranteed. However, there is one problem — almost every household will have the same sets. So where will you go? There is hardly any exclusive showroom for crockery in the Capital. This statement is partially right as it is difficult to find such stores, but it’s not impossible, you just need to know where to go.
While buying any crockery or set, the only option usually are the fancy ones. But have you given any thought to traditional crockery? If you haven’t and don’t know whether it is good, then take some time and read further. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Everybody is familiar with the store called Mahaguthi at Lazimpat. Crockery here are made of local clay “and we also get it from a district called Dang,” says Ramesh Maharjan, shop in-charge at Mahaguthi. He assures that the clay used is refined that doesn’t have sand. All the crockery here are baked at 1050°C, which also includes biscuit firing of 800°C.
A few years ago, crockery available were of simple glaze, but now colourful glaze has overshadowed the former type. It is important to note that despite the colourful glaze “the ceramic products are lead oxide-free, which makes it suitable to cook and eat in it”.
However, while cooking you have to make sure that the place is insulated; if it is open life gas, then the dish will crack. So the ideal is cooking in a microwave.
As far as the designs are concerned “our traditional designs are used and we have a designer especially for crockery”. Every six months the designs are changed so that customers can have plenty choices. So you can find dinner plates, soup bowls, tea pots, cups and saucers, salad bowls, coffee mugs, glasses, oil pots, water jugs, et cetera here. Among all “cups and saucers and coffee mugs are the popular choices,” adds Maharjan.
For customers: Regarding designs you don’t have to stick to what is offered. “You can also place your orders with your designs, but in summers we need three weeks prior notice and in winters, a month,” informs Maharjan.
The store also caters to personalisation of mugs with office logo, self portrait, zodiac signs, et cetera. “We do entertain single orders, but we prefer bulk orders,” says Maharjan.
Keep in mind: Ceramic products are breakable so you have to be careful. First and foremost advice from Maharjan is —
• If the dish cracks or chips, do not use it!
• Never submerge the dish in water.
• Always dry the
crockery and store.
Despite all this, if there is damage (not due to carelessness) “then we will exchange the product. If they don’t want that, then we will keep the cash as deposit and later the customer can opt for anything else. Even after this, if the customer wants the money back, then we do not disappoint them”.
The modern touch
Advertisements are usually a marketing gimmick, but what if the product lives up to the ad? Referring to this you must have seen an ad of Corelle products. A few models walk on the ramp holding the Corelle plates and one trips, the plate slides from her hand to the floor. But not even a scratch. Now visit a store called Demasa at City Centre. This store is the authorised dealer of the US brand Corelle. So on questioning the owner Rishi Agrawal about the unbreakable factor, he replies, “It is not unbreakable, rather it’s break resistant glass products.”
He finishes the statement and bangs the Corelle plate on the wall, literally! Yes, not even a scratch.
Corelle dinnerware is made through lamination process where core glass is in the middle, with top and bottom layers of clear skin or glaze glass. “This process makes it lightweight, durable and the unique enamel used makes the design long
You can also use these products to cook as well as serve. Designs available here are bliss, cool pansies, country rose, dancing floral, kobe, pastel touch, sakura, shadow iris, among others where Agrawal adds “there are 15 to 20 designs”. There are also numerous shapes to choose from like dinner plate, luncheon plate, 25 cm serving platter, 21 cm divided dish, 17 cm soup plate and the list goes on.
Other brands available here are CorningWare, which is a versatile cookware, which means “you can cook and serve in the same dish” and Superware “which is Thailand melamine”. You can find varied materials such as porcelain, fine china, Miyako melamine and plastic. All their products are updated every three to four months.
Basically the varieties and designs are so many that it is impossible to describe everything. This is just the tip of the iceberg and to crack it, a visit to the store is not a bad idea.