Back on the Stool – Back in the Kitchen

Anyone remember the 70s?  Lucky you.  I myself am a tad too young to have participated in a lot of the fun. But I did make my share of macramé plant hangers in elementary school.

Not living anywhere near a commune, I missed one feature of the 60’s/70’s, something referred to as the Buddha bowl.  Seemingly adopted from the begging bowls of Buddhist monks, the concept as it was Westernized is simple. It is a bowl.  A good sized bowl.  One large enough to contain a single meal. When used in the 60s and 70s, Buddha Bowls often times contained – a macrobiotic meal.

For those that don’t know about macrobiotics, it was brought to the U.S. by Michio Kushi from Japan.  It relies on the concept of balancing yin and yang and is a vegetarian diet composed primarily of brown rice, cooked vegetables, beans, sea vegetables and soy.  There is a great deal of literature about the healing powers of a macrobiotic diet; it has healed people from hyper-thyroidism to cancer.

Since many communes followed the macrobiotic way, residents used a lot of Buddha bowls.  Although I can’t substantiate this, I suspect the concept arose from the fact that bowls were easier for the commune potter to make than plates.  I know if I had been the commune potter, I certainly would have insisted everybody use bowls for every meal.

I was first introduced to the concept of Buddha bowls when I went to Kripalu last August.  In addition to the fabulous vegetarian and vegan fare, the dining hall includes a “Basics Bar”, formerly known as the Buddha bar.  At the end of the bar, were slightly oversized bowls, which people would load up with goodies from the Basics Bar or other stations in the dining hall.  That would constitute their entire meal.  What a great way to instill portion control and mindfulness into the buffet line.

As I set off on the new chapter in my life as holistic health coach and studio potter, I began to ponder if there were ways that I could integrate my two passions.  That was when I remembered Kripalu’s Basics Bar and the Buddha Bowl.  What if I made a series of bowls intended to be used in the same way as done at Kripalu and the communes of the 70s.  And to make it even better, I could add a cookbook to accompany every purchase.  Brilliant!

Now that I am back in the studio, I am exploring the right design and proportions for these bowls.  The first attempt (shown below) was 3 pounds.  Although they still need to be fired, I suspect these will be a tad too large.  This week, I will experiment with 2.5 pounds of clay.

For some artistic flare, I am experimenting with the rims.  I hope these bowls will get lots of usage and want to make sure their rims hold up.  I love rolled rims, but I haven’t been real thrilled with my past experiments of rolling the rim inside or outside.  I like both looks, just not singularly.  So I wanted to try splitting the rim and rolling it in both directions. Definitely trickier, but lot’s more fun. And a nice look that will complete a sturdy foot.

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In parallel, I am experimenting in the kitchen with exciting one-bowl concoctions. As spring approaches, one of my favorites is Quinoa Tabbouli with Avocado.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 4


  • 1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained in fine mesh strainer (experiment with different colored quinoa)
  • 1 cup water
  • sea salt, optional
  • minced red onion
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped fresh mint
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans/chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced

Optional ingredients:

Cubed and cooked beets, cucumbers, blanched carrots, blanched broccoli or cauliflower florets, halved cherry tomatoes, snap peas, corn kernels or any other colorful vegetable you feel is appropriate (beets will turn quinoa slightly pink). You can also add other beans.


  • juice of several lemons
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt


  • Bring rinsed and drained quinoa to a boil with water and salt.
  • Cover and reduce flame to lowest point.  Cook for 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed.
  • Spread cooked quinoa on large platter to cool.
  • Meanwhile, make lemon vinaigrette by combining lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste (essentially, 2 parts juice to one part oil).
  • Combine all ingredients and refrigerate salad until chilled.
  • Before serving, garnish each bowl with ¼ of an avocado, thinly sliced.


Substitute apple cider vinegar for lemon juice and add dijon mustard for added zing.

Sprinkle umeboshi plum vinegar to the dressing for a kick.

Add freshly chopped basil or dill to the salad.


Happy to be throwing again,


About the Author: Laurie Erdman has been making pots since 2003.  She discovered the joy of mud when seeking a stress release from her day job as an attorney.  Over the years she knew it helped ground her, but not more so than when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  It was then that she realized how pottery had taught her some powerful spiritual and life lessons. In addition to designing a line of nature-inspired pottery, she teaches pottery and meditation, and helps others learn the healing powers of clay. Laurie lives in Arlington, Virginia, makes pots at the Art League of Alexandria, fires her pots at Baltimore Clayworks, and enjoys spending time with her husband, her Italian Greyhound Skippy and helping people with chronic illness thrive.

About Claytastic

Health coach. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Living an amazing life with MS. Interested in bringing peace and beauty into people's lives.
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One Response to Back on the Stool – Back in the Kitchen

  1. Louise says:

    Laurie, I love your blog! I don’t know how I haven’t stumbled upon it before!

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