Friday, January 30, 2009

secret loves?

I'm having two love affairs, at present.

Don't worry; Todd already knows about them. And he doesn't seem to be upset with me.

The first one is with Muji. Are you familiar? Straight-talking, really good-looking, sexy, and Japanese. I spend as much time with Muji as I can, sneaking off whenever I can get away.

Ok, Muji is a store, actually. They manufacture inexpensive, clean designs with a contemporary, no-nonsense aesthetic. I love their office supplies (especially the notebooks and sketchbooks), housewares (the clean and simple dishes and glassware), and even their clothing has a wonderful modern-but-natural/recycled aesthetic that I adore. I'm gradually accumulating a Muji lifestyle, I think: my alarm clock, favorite washcloth, most comfortable T-shirt, and many of my favorite items in the studio all came from Muji. And while I used to have to travel to the MoMA store or their single downtown location to get my Muji fix, now I'm discovering little shops popping up all over the place: near my dentist in the Flatiron district, just off Times Square around the corner from my favorite fabric's so great! Ah, Muji, my not-so-secret love...

My second big love affair is with Mark Bittman. No I'm not sleeping with him. But I'm certainly cooking with the guy. Man after my heart, I tell you. Not only do I still adore his cookbook (he has many others, by the way; does he have little elves who staff his test kitchens around the clock? How is he possibly generating all these articles, recipes and books???), but he does his cooking in a genuine (i.e. tiny) New York kitchen and, true to the name of his New York Times column ("the minimalist") stocks it with only the necessities. Oh, and he blogs, too; how can I not love him?

I think I'm gradually cooking my way through Bittman's book, but at present I'm obsessed with Bechamel sauce (and it's myriad uses) and Korean pancakes. Try them: we all adore them over here.

My favorite Bittman piece of all time? Right here. In it, the Minimalist discusses the tools you really need in your kitchen. I've been meaning to write this same piece for sewing; really, who needs all those crazy gadgets?

Stay tuned; I will do it soon, I promise.

In the meantime, I think I'll do a good old-fashioned swoon for my two love affairs. Aren't they charming and wonderful?


  1. the best thing about muji is their socks!

  2. Great. Another thing that I'm missing out on by living in Idaho.


  3. At my house we call him Mark.
    as in "did you ask Mark? I think he has a good recipe" or-
    "oh I got that from Mark"

    I'll admit there is sometimes this one...
    "I can't believe Mark doesn't have that!"
    we only have HTCE... so I'm sure we're missing something...

  4. Anonymous5:29 PM

    oh yes, I love muji too! too bad that it' so far away in new york... I only got to their store sometimes in Singapore sometimes whenever I get back to Indonesia.

  5. I fell in love with Muji when I was on study abroad in London back in college.. I still have a few of the little things I bought there... and they still look beautiful.

    And I love Bittman too.. I love How to Cook Everything.. whenever I have a cooking question, it's the first place I look.

  6. Maybe muji will expand to at least selling online in the US--someday.

    Check out Bittman's new book "Food Matters", all about responsible eating that is healthy AND good for the planet!

  7. I had a good friend in high school who was Japanese and she gave me those colored pencils. This was 15 years ago (ahh!) so way before Muji hit NY. I still have them and they are still stylish. And now my 3 year old calls them her special pencils.