top of page

Vitrelle is a tempered glass product comprising two types of glass laminated into three layers. 


This seemingly inconsequential triple glass technology, as I’ve only recently found out,  is the core element behind the ever-so-sturdy Corelle plates which have been a staple in my house. Dinner sets have come and gone, but my family’s allegiance to these floral Corelle plates is something that seems to withstand the test of time. Unlike the fancier noritake china, which sits arrogantly on the top shelf of my mother’s dinnerware cabinet  reserved only for special guests, these simple tempered glass plates have always been accessible. Their shiny white surfaces and floral borders have been a constant companion through my many gastronomic encounters. These plates have witnessed me pick out veggies from most of my meals, they’ve seen me scarf down spicy red sauce pasta like there’s no tomorrow, they’ve seen me eating nothing but spinach omelettes for breakfast for a month straight, they’ve seen my brush with veganism, my numerous maggi iterations, my obsession with with chicken biryani, but most importantly these plates have seen me grow, albeit through my changing relationship with food. 


I grew up in a large eight person household where the corelle-lined dinner table was a special place to reconnect and unwind- to log off from the then seemingly harsh realities of school coursework and petty high school drama- in order to simply enjoy a home-cooked meal with individuals I shared a roof and an above average spice tolerance with.  


And then I decided to pursue my education- as far away from home as humanly possible- in America.


The fast paced nature of my life on-campus has impacted my eating habits offon-campus. While meals were once something I savoured with my noisy family members, I no longer had the time to maintain the slow paced nature of the corelle plated dinners from back home. There was always a class I had to get to, a club meeting I had to attend, maybe a work shift I was  running late for or perhaps even a social event I had to start getting dressed for. Grabbing food on the go became a common phenomenon. Eating by myself- a previously inexperienced concept- became my default way of life at college. Much to my surprise, I actually enjoy it.​​ This is not to say that I don’t miss the warmth or the banter or even the constant complaining that goes around the table of opinionated food connoisseurs back home, but something about eating lunch by myself, or working alone in a coffee shop is extremely empowering. 


Being an international student brings with it a series of culture shocks, many of which one tries to preemptively expect. The most unexpected of them, for me at least, was that pertaining to food. For someone who’d grown up consuming rich and flavourful Indian food- the kind that occasionally turns your nails yellow, and leaves unmistakable stains on your clothes when consumed carelessly- getting by with sauteed tofu and power bowls catered to white sensibilities was hard on my taste palate. I had greatly underestimated the learning curve associated with food acclimation. Bottles of sriracha soon became my weapon of choice, at least for a semester or two. I don’t actually remember when or how I became accustomed to food that might have seemed bland and flavourless to my pre-college self, but it happened. I did invariably give in to a culture of acai bowls and bubble tea and matcha lattes and lightly seasoned food. So much so, that these are the things I crave when back home in India. My stomach can no longer handle the spice level of some of the things I’ve grown up eating, unless followed by copious amounts of water. My muscle memory, rather its digestive equivalent for certain home foods (their richness and spice level) seems to have dwindled drastically. 


Something that no one tells you about being an international student is that it's a constant trade-off- living at a distance from foods and places and people that have given you everything, while slowly re-discovering yourself in the foods and places and people you were once foreign to.  


Periodically returning back helps me take stock of everything that changed within me. 

For every summer and winter break that I’m home for, the corelle plates still sit at the bottom shelf, easily accessible and yet slightly more out of reach. 

bottom of page