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Japanese women used to blacken their teeth and shave off their eye brows post marriage, prior to the mid nineteenth century. Ohagaru was practiced up until the Meiji era. It is interesting to view this custom through the lens of our current 21C obsession with very white teeth. Some see this as further evidence of the control and denigration of the human rights of Japanese women in their traditional society, whilst others disagree with this conclusion. Early western anthropologists described ohagaru as an abhorrent custom, which disfigured women. The custom was, also, practiced in parts of China by particular minority groups.
A Mark of Girls Coming of Age in Asia
It is recorded in the seventeenth century by Spanish colonial officials that this practice, also, occurred in the Philippines. Other countries where the black teeth regime for women was practiced were Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, India, and various Pacific Islands. It was a ritualistic mark of girls coming of age as women in parts of Asia for millennia. Its social function was involved in the determination of the status of women within these societies. The obvious result to western eyes was to make the married woman less attractive to those who observed her. This, however, was not the case in traditional Japanese society, where it was a sign of sexual maturity and beauty.
Black & White Issues
The black and white polarity plays out throughout humanity’s many interests and values. White teeth are considered today to be a mark of youth, beauty and purity. Movie stars in Hollywood are signposted by their gleaming chompers on screen, no matter what type of character they may be portraying. Dentists are making a fortune from our current obsession with white teeth as an aesthetic imperative. Click here for more to see an example of a modern dental practice philosophical approach to dentistry in the 21C.
In Vietnam, Si La men painted their teeth red and the women theirs’ black. The interesting thing about this practice is that the blackening agents used, often, protected their teeth and enamel from decay. In Japan, they utilised iron filings in vinegar with some vegetable tannins to create the blackening agent. The agent needed to be applied daily or every few days to maintain the effect. In India they employed a mixture of iron and copper sulphate with vegetable tannins, such as myrobalans. Islamic cultures, also, employed the teeth blackening ritual as part of the female sexual cycle. Prostitutes had black teeth to symbolise their sexual maturity.
Asian food, in the main, is best served with a responsive heat element for cooking. Woking is all about that flame heating the iron wok and the sizzle you get inside. This is the only way to get that perfect crisp vegetable texture in your plated dishes. Cooking with gas: Asian style is the smart approach to home cooking with authenticity. I always remember watching the Thai line cooks in my local Thai restaurant wearing gas masks to prevent damage from the chilli smoke rising up from the woks. It was a powerful image that has stayed with me for years.
Woking at Home
Kitchens are today being built with special wok burners on the stove top units for those who wok a lot around the clock. There is a growing trend in kitchen renovations to bring the features, usually found in commercial kitchens into domestic situations. I imagine it is all those reality TV cooking shows, which have stimulated this demand for more sophisticated kitchens in the 21C. Now, you can cook up a storm in your domestic abode, just like a restaurant. Fantastic Asian dishes can be reproduced at home for the eating pleasure of your family and friends.
A Great Asian Style Kitchen at Home
Check this site out for some keen examples of kitchen makeovers in Sydney. There is an almost limitless selection of styles and features available. A great kitchen is a great help for the passionate home cook. Having the well-designed space and amenities in which to ply your craft makes things easier when cooking the special dishes, you desire. Cooking with gas: Asian style is now a breeze at home when you have the right kitchen to make it happen. Life is too short to put up with second best for too long. If you love cooking, you deserve the best kitchen available.
Enjoy Yummy Asian Food
Good food and eating is not that hard to achieve, when you have the right infrastructure in place. Too many people struggle with poorly designed kitchens, when they don’t have to. A new kitchen will not cost the earth and it will deliver exceptional results, when you rattle the pans and wok on. You will be serving up sublime meals before you can say Singapore Noodles. Delicious dishes dripping with flavour. Sesame oil, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, garlic, ginger, fresh basil, onion, fish sauce, bok choy, prawns, pork loin, and finish with sweet soy sauce.