For us cooks, the good news is that over the last 20 years or so good cookware has become widely available. Equipment that would have been difficult to find outside Europe when we were kids is now available in nearly any shopping mall, and mostly at accessible prices. The downside to this is that it’s all starting to look the same. The gear on offer is efficient, well-made, and, in many cases, very handsome, but it’s seems hard to find anything that feels unique or special.
A couple of weeks ago, though, my friend Marta and I stumbled on a shop in Sonoma, California called Bram, which sells pretty much nothing but very special goods. Bram’s engaging proprietors, Ashrf and Shelly Almasri, are devoted to traditional handmade ceramic cookware. (Ashrf was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, and Bram is the name of a classic Egyptian cooking vessel.) Their shop is stocked floor to ceiling with all kinds of beautiful roasters, bakers, tagines, casseroles, bowls, pots and platters from all over the world, and an edited selection of cookbooks, linens and wood and alabaster accessories round out the assortment. (The bone and mother-of-pearl inlayed cookbook markers featured in my post here are from Bram.)
Since my visit, I’ve ordered this handsome tagine.
And I’ve got my eye on these French-style mixing bowls (top row),
and these beautifully glazed Brams from Egypt.
Bram is located on the town square in Sonoma, California at 431 1st Street West and has a nice online shop at www.bramcookware.com.