TABLEWARE, TREASURES and food


Getting harmony in your kitchen is quite a task. I mean style wise, not cooking wise, thats for an other day ;) I started with blues to compliment the red brick tiles which I dug up myself two years ago in my garden. They are from around 1625.

The area where I live, Amsterdam Jordaan quarter, was build on a swamp around 1600. Because of the flowering trade with Asia and other continents, Amsterdam was run over by merchants, sea folk and of course its own inhabitants. On top of that, thanks to the Spanish King Phillip and his warfare, merchants, and well to-do Jews fled to safe haven Amsterdam. So, they drain the swamp area and start building. From then on, this area, called " het Werck" ( the work) later called the Jordaan, is home to all kind of craftsmen. Even today the streets and canals bear these names. It's a buzzy time in a crowded area. Amsterdam stays buzzy and more people come to Amsterdam. This goes on for decades. Always in need for more housing. So new houses get build on top of the old ones. During the 1960's they want to tear down the whole Jordan area because of it's poor sanitation, manny slums and want to build a new modern area. Thanks to all the protest the city of Amsterdam changes it's plans and start renovating. Builders and contractors, afraid to be confronted with building stops, do not report any artefacts they discover or uncover. The rubble they dig up gets thrown into the basements of new houses or covered over up by new earth and sand. So, no surprise that one summer, when I start digging in my garden in order to remove a dead tree, I discover all kinds of traces of a time gone past. My biggest find are piles and piles neatly stacked unused tiles, waiting to be used. It seems I did discovered a corner of the storage cellar, lucky me. The smaler traces of Delft blue tiles, musket balls, pipe heads etc, etc, complement the story. One special tile atrackts the attention of the city archeologist MR Jorgen Veenkamp who'm I asked to come around. 


here comes a picture of the Tile from the St Olofs chapel

It turns out to be a tile from the 15th century. But my area was build around the 17th cenury. This shows how the Jordaan quarter was build he explained. Around 1600 there where many big fires. One of them was the burning of the Saint Olof's Chapel. They used rubble like this to drain the swamp area on which the Jordaan was build. Tada! This tile turns out to be of the St Olafs Chapel and dates back to 1500. So what has all this history to do with the colors in my kitchen?
I love earthware, and of course I gave the antique tiles a prominent place in my kitchen. So I needed a cool, tranquil opposite to al these red and orange shades. I choose a grey blue color, which one finds in many buildings around Amsterdam. I loved the combination so much that I decided to make it the trademark color of my catering business, and therefore I'm hunting blue tableware and crockery.

Getting the right plates, bowls, cups, cutlery and glasses is a pleasant journey, specially if you get help form a unexpected direction. A friend told me about www.snuffelhuis.nl. O boy was I a-ma-zed! They had the exact plates which I so much loooove. So I snipped them up for a great price got them send of to me and now they are resting on my side board, waiting to be filled up with something lovely to eat.

Come to think of it, I love all blue flowers, garlands and edges, but this tableware has stolen my heart. The combination of subtle frills with those sturdy square tiles must be it.
So, tonight I sit down with one of my new soupdishes filled with a left over bit of Game Consommee, and smile satisfied at my kitchen. Tableware deserves good food, but also a complimentary surrounding.


For more historic facts about the St Olofs chappel: http://www.oneindignoordholland.nl/nl-NL/verhaal/709/sint-olofspoort-en-sint-olofskapel

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