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This four-piece sets costs $5.99 at Loblaws Superstores nationwide, and is made from cornstarch.
This four-piece sets costs $5.99 at Loblaws Superstores nationwide, and is made from cornstarch.


Spotted: Eco-cornstarch dishware Add to ...

When I was a kid, I would often help my mom and older sister when they were cooking or baking in the kitchen, usually with mixed results. When I wasn't breaking something - I once dropped an entire tureen full of freshly made meatballs on the way from stove to table, creating a tsunami of tomato sauce - I did learn many valuable cooking techniques that I still use today, such as how to make pasta dough from scratch and how to devein a shrimp.

It was also during these retrospectively rich sessions that I first cadged on to the notion of Design. Those cool blue-and-mustard circles on my mother's carton of Windsor Salt, for instance, were affecting examples of the power and potential of patterning. (That design, by Chris Yaneff, has since been recognized as a Canadian design classic.) And I remember being intrigued by the funky fonts and bold colour schemes on our vintage containers of Magic Baking Powder and Canada Corn Starch.

As it happens, cornstarch again came up in the context of design when I was perusing PC Home's new summer product releases this week, although it had nothing to do with packaging. The brand's latest seasonal dinnerware, including plates, bowls and tumblers, is actually made of the stuff.

Intended for picnics and parties, this biodegradable "eco-cornstarch" dishware is durable as long as you need it, but will break down in a compost heap or landfill within a year when you toss it.

Four-piece sets cost $5.99 at Loblaws Superstores nationwide.

Increasingly, enviro-friendly cornstarch is being used in the creation of numerous wares, from cutlery to pens. But the design quality of PC Home's new offerings is unusually high. Their fluid shapes, for instance, give them an appropriately organic feel, while the cream and turquoise palette is especially hot this year.

Best of all, they don't break, crack or even chip when you drop them. To paraphrase a President's Choice slogan, memories of meatballs still haunt.

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