Old School Becomes New Again
Not necessarily, on both counts.
Believe it or not, ceramic cookware and utensils has truly been around ever since we humans figured out how to not only use fire, but also go beyond holding our food in our hands—and that was well before the ancient Egyptians. Archaeological digs have revealed remnants of ceramic items dating from as far back as 29,000 BC.
It's only been in the last two or three hundred years that humans went from clay to metals, and that's due to the Industrial Revolution.
Cheap & Easy Becomes Environmentally Expensive
The practice of using mass-produced metal cookware and utensils, including the ever-popular steel knives, spread everywhere, shoving aside pottery artisans. People believed it was the sign of the times, a good sign of progress, because it meant that certain items could be both made and bought cheaply, ensuring that everyone could have this cast-iron pot, or that well-made knife.
But in the name of progress, humans didn't think about the cost of such production to the environment, let alone the people in the factories making these now-commonplace items. It still is that way to a greater extent, because we all love cheap and we all love easy. However, this attitude has taken a toll on our health and on the planet's health as well.
The Re-Entry of Ceramics
The people who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s saw this harmful change for what it was, and sought to re-introduce the usage of ceramic crockery and utensils, for the sake of the environment, as well as people's health. Why? The use of clay to make cookware and utensils requires no additional, and potentially harmful, chemical mixtures in order to be fully functional as well as lovely to look at.
Ceramic skillets first caught people's attention in the last three or so years, and now ceramic knives are coming to the fore. In fact, Wilson Cutlery is once such company helping to bring back the use of ceramic kitchen utensils, with an eye both towards being functional and beautiful as well as planet-friendly. In that specific light, as people push for more eco-friendly processes with their household goods, ceramics have truly caught the eye of planet-loving foodies, as the energy used to extract and process clay is far less than that of other materials, and the clay itself is quite literally the most inexpensive stuff around—far less so, actually, than metal, which has to be mined.
For The Good of All
For many people, the call to “return to the Earth” when it comes to what we use in our kitchens sounds kind of silly, tree-hugger-ish and “old-school,” thinking that industry always has to equal something tech-y, shiny, motorized and chrome-colored, to say nothing of waving away the environmental damage done to all life when mining for certain materials.
The quickly growing argument against Industrial Age thinking is coming to the foreground with the re-introduction of items made from clay, which is a far more sustainable resource in many ways. After all, ceramic kitchen items were around long before the use of coal to run the plants that produced metal cookware, let alone the electricity to power things like our modern food processors.
So it would seem that what is considered “old school” has been made new again in the eyes of the generations that have seen the destructive results of the Industrial Age. Wilson Cutlery is among those who create eco-friendly ceramic utensils, so that eco-minded cooks of all ages can enjoy both fine cooking and save the planet at the same time.