Enamelware: Old-fashioned and modern


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At Night + Market, the Thai street food pop-up inside the venerable Sunset Boulevard restaurant Talesai, chef-owner Kris Yenbamroong serves dishes on white enamel tinware. The inexpensive bowls and plates convey the idea of casual and cheap. They’re quite endearing, really, and as unpretentious as you can get.

I’ve always loved the old-fashioned speckled variety that a former design professor of mine collected — wonderful old ladles, coffee pots, saucepans and dishes. Somewhere I have a collection of slides I took of his collection.


At the ever-fabulous shop Merci in Paris I saw a modern Italian version of enamelware, white with a big gray circle in the middle, perfect for an elegant picnic. But, unfortunately, too pricey for my budget vacation and the state of the dollar. I later noticed that DWR had the same plates on sale. (They still are.) Variopinte Enamelware is designed by Stefania di Petrillo, who mixes natural pigments with crushed glass to make the enamel. Plates and bowls come in gray, lime green or mandarin. A four-piece set is $107; individual pieces are on sale from $5.50 to $26. Some colors cost less than others.

Here’s another option from Canvas, a terrific housewares and design shop in New York’s Soho: trompe l’oeil ceramic mugs and plates that mimic vintage tinware — worn spots, rust and all, at $9 to $10 each.


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— S. Irene Virbila

Photos, from top: Variopinte enamelware in mandarin; ceramic tinware from Canvas. Credit: DWR and Canvas.