Homes and gardens

Mixing metals in the kitchen

Traditional products from Zishta

Traditional products from Zishta

Among the first products that the three co-founders of Zishta — Meera Ramakrishnan, Archish Mathe Madhavan, and Varishta Sampath — wanted to revive were the iconic davarah (brass tumbler) and coffee filter. As Tamilians who love their filter coffee, it was top-of-mind.

Trending @ Zishta

    “We couldn’t find a single artisan in and around Kumbakonam [considered the hub of filter coffee in Tamil Nadu] who actually handmade the traditional brass variety. We went door-to-door in a village that was once its handcrafting centre,” recalls Ramakrishnan of the Bengaluru-based brand, known for reviving traditional products, which is entering the Chennai market next week.

    Ramakrishnan went on to procure a 90-year-old brass coffee filter from an antique shop in Tirunelveli, her hometown, and sent it to an artisan cluster in Maharashtra — known for its skill with brass. “It took four iterations for them to get it just right; making the coffee filter is no mean feat,” says the marketing and strategy consultant.

    Today, it shares space with nearly 410 traditional products, sourced from across 14 states. And 70% of the range is kitchen-centric. When the trio started off in 2016, the market was still young and fledgling. Copper wasn’t as cool as it is now. Cast iron skillets were only making their way into people’s kitchens, and eeya chombu , the traditional tin utensil used to make rasam , had not yet become popular on the ’gram.

    In the last three years or so, thanks to brands like The Indus Valley, Essential Traditions by Kayal, and Zishta, the market has seen a surge in attempts to resurrect and add glamour to all things traditional.

    The co-founders of Zishta — Meera Ramakrishnan, Archish Mathe Madhavan, and Varishta Sampath

    The co-founders of Zishta — Meera Ramakrishnan, Archish Mathe Madhavan, and Varishta Sampath

    “Things have changed dramatically,” says Ramakrishnan, referring to the market for traditional products that has seen a spike in the year of the lockdown.

    Trending @ Zishta

      Zishta, which just added Japan as its 21st country to ship its products to, prioritises authenticity of the transference of knowledge and culture.

      “I remember a couple who came to our store once and bought a tonne of traditional kitchenware. I took the liberty of asking them how big their family was; when they said three, I told them all they needed in the kitchen to transition into a traditional way of life were four key vessels. Tradition is also about minimalism and sustainability,” she concludes.

      Zishta is launching on April 19 at the Weddings & Marigolds studio in T Nagar, Chennai.


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      Printable version | Jun 11, 2022 8:09:43 am | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/mixing-metals-in-the-kitchen/article34335982.ece