Now more than ever, one of our favorite ways to create a moment of calm is by lighting an intoxicating candle or earthy incense stick. It helps set the mood for whatever we choose to do next, whether it’s meditate, read, or even just take a few minutes to breathe. This simple ritual isn’t a wellness gimmick though, it actually dates back to antiquity, when ancient Romans would light incense to ward off illness, superstitions, and misfortunes. It’s an interesting curiosity, and one of many that author and design historian (and writer for Design Milk!) Amy Azzarito covers in her new book, The Elements of a Home: Curious Histories Behind Everyday Household Objects, from Pillows to Forks.
Did you know that forks used to be considered immoral and a tool of the devil? Or that chess used to be a four-person game? How about the fact that the Spartans used to keep a lump of dough next to them during meals so they could knead away their oily fingers, making those apomagdalie lumps the first napkin prototypes?
There are so many more fun tidbits to read about in The Elements of a Home! We think it serves as a delightful afternoon book to read, especially since Amy covers each object in a few of pages, perfect for when you might only have five minutes of reading time to spare.
The Elements of a Home is available most anywhere you shop for books – but might we suggest supporting your local mom-and-pop bookstore during this time? While you’re at it, you can also support independent designers and makers from our Design Milk Shop who have made the perfect household objects to accompany your reading time: