And we’re back! The fires are out and the kilns have been cooling.
Despite the fire being out for over a week, the kiln and the items from it were still hot. Some of the items had an uncomfortable level of heat to the touch. I never imagined it would take that long for stuff to cool down. Anyway, let’s see how the bowls turned out.
Not bad, if I do say so myself. Do you recall the dull, almost concrete like grey that the bowls were before? That’s all gone now, with the bowls sporting soothing, earthy colours. Greenish browns with a red tint spread throughout. The colours of each are slightly different. Each bowl is also speckled with its own unique pattern.
Now they’re ready to be used for real. So, why don’t we plate up some different things and see how they look?
Being of a more traditional design, we thought some traditional stuff from this area would be the most fitting thing to start off with.
First up are some sweets from Matsubadō Matsumura. Matsubadō Matsumura is a sweets shop that has been in operation since the Meiji period, well over 100 years ago. The recipes for the sweets haven’t changed since the shop first opened, so they’re as traditional as it gets.
We picked out Matsubadō Matsumura’s three main sweets: Hoshiume, Komise Monaka and Momoyama.
The name “hoshiume” might stand out to those who have some familiarity with Japanese cuisine. It’s similar to “umeboshi”, which are Japanese preserved plums, ume meaning plum. Hoshiume doesn’t contain plums. It’s gyūhi (similar to mochi but much softer) and white bean paste wrapped in a red shiso leaf. Red shiso are often leaves used to make the preserved plums, and there are red shiso leaf wrapped plums (another Aomori specialty) that bear a striking resemblance to hoshiume, hence the connection.
Monaka is a dessert where sweet bean paste is smooshed between two crisp mochi wafers. The Komise part of the name refers to Komise Street, which is designated as one of Japan’s 100 greatest streets, and where Matsubadō Matsumura is located.
Momoyama is a baked sweet made out of bean paste and egg yolk. The ones pictured are the small ones without any filling. The shop also offers larger ones filled with red bean paste.
No matter what you put in the bowl, it’s like its natural qualities just help enhance the appeal of the food. Even less colourful foods seem to stand out quite well. I don’t know about you, but these pictures are making me hungry.
Given that these bowls are the perfect size for rice, this article would feel a little incomplete without seeing them with some rice in them. Not just any rice, however. Astute readers may have picked up on it, but this is in fact Kuroishi’s “Mutsunishiki” rice. (Be sure to check out our articles covering Mutsunishiki) *LINK*.
What do you think? When you see it by itself, rice just looks like, well, rice. That being said though the bowl’s appearance, especially the patterns of the glazing help highlight the natural qualities of each grain.
Appearance plays a big part of how things taste – there’s actually a lot of research that has been done in regards to this. The simplicity and natural colours of the bowls really help highlight the foods and enhance its overall appeal. I think that makes the bowls almost magical, in a sense. Priceless. I may be a little biased though. I did make them with my own hands, after all. If you come on by, you can also try your hand at making some yourself.