Falling in Love…With a Plate

Well, food blogging has brought about many firsts. I look at food differently, often thinking about how to plate it and how to capture the light just perfectly in a photo. I read recipes differently, always pausing to think about adapting them to my own interests and taste. And last but not least, I look at dishes and linens much, much differently.

Even if I’m eating alone and in a rush, I still always set a place for myself. There’s something depressing about standing in front of the TV or perching on the edge of a chair at the counter. I always put out a nice place mat and silverware, and there are usually flowers on the table. The aesthetics of a room, table, and a place setting is important if you think about eating as a sensory experience and not just a habit or necessity. Now I’m not talking fine china and stemware with each meal. I’m just saying the presentation of food matters.

So I’ve been very aware of dishes, napkins, linens, and antique silverware lately. And during the past week, Heath Ceramics has come into my radar. I was having coffee and a macaron at Cibo in Sausalito and noticed their beautiful dishware. After a little investigation, I realized it was Heath, and I’d just read how Chez Panisse uses Heath Ceramics for their dishes and serving ware. I promptly hopped online and discovered they’ve been around since 1948 and, low and behold, the U.S. factory is in my backyard. I knew what I had to do: the next morning I woke up and headed over to investigate. And that’s when I found the plate.

Now when I talk about just one lonely plate, don’t get me wrong: I would love to own eight. In fact, I’d love to own the matching mugs and bowls, the wooden salad tongs, the lovely red espresso cups, and the rustic cutting board. But this non-working girl’s got to save her pennies (Dear Santa…) so I settled for just one. What I love about my little plate and about all of the tableware at Heath is the aesthetic, the weight, and the muted colors. Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still functioning today, and they use much of the original design and technique they did a half-century ago. In addition, the store stocks sweet letter-press cards, vintage-inspired linens, and textiles. I could’ve spent days in there.

Above when I was talking about food blogging firsts, I failed to mention that I actually selected a dish to make this afternoon solely for this plate. Yep, that’d be a first. Tonight, my mom’s cooking a pot roast and cheesy potato dish, so I thought we needed something light and crisp–inspired by my new plate. There’s a recipe in the new Martha Stewart Living (which is a little odd and uninspiring) for an Apple and Celery Root Salad, and I figured the light crunch and the stark wintry colors would be perfect compliment to tonight’s dinner…and, it’d look great on that plate. I was right.

Celery Root and Apple Slaw

From: Martha Stewart Living Magazine
Note: You’ll notice my preparation is much more a “salad” than a “slaw.” I think a mandolin would come in handy to get smaller matchstick pieces-I was going for a little heartier look.

1 small celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks (2 cups)
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. apple cider
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Serves: 4


  1. Chez Danisse

    Nice slaw and nice plate. I've been a Heath fan for a long time. Did you tour the facility? If not, they do offer tours and they are pretty cool. Bon appetit!

  2. A Day That is Dessert

    It looks PERFECT on your new plate! And it's inspiring to me that you're taking the time to eat mindfully even when eating alone.

  3. El

    I agree with you completely about the importance of making the meal a sensory experience. The plates you chose are beautiful - clean, simple - a perfect backdrop to that refreshing salad!

  4. Amelia PS

    I think of the food styling and photography almost as much as the food...completely agree that food blogging can change your perspective. In a great way!!! Love the recipe AND plate / setting.

  5. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    Simply yet elegant - I love the plate. I also love how you have talked about some of the things food blogging makes us think about. It certainly does make you look at food and plates and everything to do with eating and drinking in a very different light. I love the look of this slaw - in fact the whole meal sounds amazing!

  6. {kiss my spatula}

    i miss popping over to sausalito at a moment's notice while living in sf. the plate is elegant, simple and lovely...as is that amazing salad that i could eat every night of the week.

  7. Megan Gordon

    Thanks for all your comments, ladies!

    Denise, I was with my mom and she was a little antsy do I didn't do the tour but am dying to when I return (soon).

  8. Shannalee

    SO beautiful! I love the way you're looking at tables/tableware/etc. It's so true that food blogging does that to people. Here's to many more beautiful plates in your future.

  9. Quelle

    I'd had this bookmarked forever, finally made it, and thought something was missing. It was...2 teaspoons of sugar. Glad I checked the source because without the sugar, this is pretty dull.

    The plate's pretty though.

    1. megang

      Hi Quelle! So glad you tried the recipe. I actually left the sugar out deliberately because I felt that the recipe stood alone fine without it and I try and cut sugar where I can :) So it was deliberate...but I'm glad to hear it turned out great adhering to the original, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Join the Discussion

Healthy Comfort Food

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

Read More
Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

I just finished washing out Oliver's lunchbox and laying it out to dry for the weekend. My favorite time of day is (finally) here: the quiet of the evening when I can actually talk to Sam about our day or sit and reflect on my own thoughts after the inevitable dance party or band practice that precedes the bedtime routine lately. Before becoming pregnant for the second time, I'd have had a glass of wine with the back door propped open right about now -- these days though, I have sparkling water or occasionally take a sip from one of Sam's hard ciders. Except now the back door's closed and we even turned on the heat for the first time yesterday. The racing to water the lawn and clean the grill have been replaced by cozier dinners at home and longer baths in the evening. You blink and it's the first day of fall. 

Read More
Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

I'd heard from many friends that buying a house wasn't for the faint of heart. But I always shrugged it off, figuring I probably kept better files or was more organized and, really, how hard could it be? Well, I've started (and stopped) writing this post a good fifteen times which may indicate something. BUT! First thing's first: we bought a house! I think! I'm pretty sure! We're still waiting for some tax transcripts to come through and barring any hiccough with that, we'll be moving out of our beloved craftsman in a few weeks and down the block to a great, brick Tudor house that we wanted the second we laid eyes on it. The only problem: it seemed everyone else in Seattle had also laid eyes on it, and wanted it equally as much. I'm not really sure why the homeowner chose us in the end. Our offer actually wasn't the highest, but apparently there were some issues with a few of them. We wrote a letter introducing ourselves and describing why we'd be the best candidates and why we were so drawn to the house; we have a really wonderful broker who pulled out all the stops, and after sifting through 10 offers and spending a number of hours deliberating, they ended up going with ours. We were at a friend's book event at the time when Sam showed me the text from our broker and I kind of just collapsed into his arms. We were both in ecstatic denial (wait, is this real?! Did we just buy a house?) and celebrated by getting chicken salad and potato salad from the neighborhood grocery store and eating it, dazed, on our living room floor. Potato salad never tasted so good. 

Read More
Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.

Read More
To Talk Porridge

To Talk Porridge

Porridge is not the sexiest of breakfasts, it's true. It doesn't have a stylish name like strata or shakshuka, and it doesn't have perfectly domed tops like your favorite fruity muffin. It doesn't crumble into delightful bits like a good scone nor does it fall into buttery shards like a well-made croissant. But when you wake up and it's 17 degrees outside (as it has been, give or take a few, for the last week), there's nothing that satisfies like a bowl of porridge or oatmeal. It's warm and hearty and can be made sweet or savory with any number of toppings. The problem? Over the years, it's gotten a bad rap as gluey or gummy or just downright boring or dutiful -- and it's because not everyone knows the secrets to making a great pot of warm morning cereal. So let's talk porridge (also: my cookbook comes out this month! So let's take a peek inside, shall we?)

Read More