Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is one woman’s labor of love By Mary Ellen Gambon
Driving up Bussey Street in Dedham, one might easily miss Miriam’s Earthen Cookware at number 233. It is across from the CVS at Dela Plaza, with the entrance set back from the driveway. There is no big sign to announce the business, nor the mystery inside the building. The one word to describe the setting, as well as its founder, Miriam Kattumuri, is humble. The mother of four is charming yet soft-spoken as she takes me on a tour of what is an international and revolutionary clay cookware business that she first started from her home in Roslindale. “I was inspired to create the clay cookware in a dream,” said the native of India as she led a tour through her workspace, displaying dozens of pieces of cookware in various stages of formation. “I had been diagnosed with diabetes in 2008 when I was pregnant with my first child. I had eaten healthy, home-cooked meals, so wondered how it could be.” Kattumuri was inspired to create cookware straight from nature itself thorough this dream by using pure clay, which is rich in minerals and free of toxins. “I was also inspired by my ancestors,” she explained. “When you look back at history, we didn’t have computers to tell our stories. We have works of art, including pottery. It shows how people cooked their food and survived.” She traveled around the world and back It’s All About Arts Magazine June 2019
to India to learn the craft from people who made their cookware from clay. Yet she was determined to create her line back in the United States, back in her new home where there was a strong medical research community. Cast iron and aluminum cookware contain toxins, which can leach into foods and into the body, Kattumuri explained. Even ceramics coated with a glaze contain chemicals. “However, our clay is harvested 20 to 30 feet below the earth in areas of Massachusetts and in New England where there has been no farming and no industrial use,” she explained. “It is completely pure.” To back up her claim, she noted that her clay is periodically tested at a laboratory at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to make sure there are no chemicals. “In fact, it actually allows minerals to go back into the food, enriching it,” Kattumuri said. Kattumuri even designed a unique spinning wheel to make the base of her cookware flat, where traditional ceramics have curved bottoms. She led me into the airy back room, surrounded with wooden shelves to allow the air to circulate around the clay. Mr. Leo, a native of Haiti who speaks French, stirred a large container of clay about one-third his size, ensuring there were no lumps.
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