What does “Shun” mean?

Shun Cutlery was named for the Japanese culinary concept of “shun” (pronounced “shoon” and rhymes with “moon”). This is the tradition that every food should be eaten only in its proper season and only when it is at the peak of its flavor.

In other words, don’t eat strawberries in December (unless you live in the southern hemisphere, of course). With the easy availability in US markets of most foods year-round, we often find ourselves eating in “non-shun” ways. It's a pity; as anyone who has ever eaten a perfectly ripe, perfectly succulent strawberry plucked right from the vine can tell you. Shun matters; and in Japan, shun really matters.

Seasonality is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture—from the special seasonal terms used in haiku poetry to a wealth of seasonal festivals, such as the famous Cherry Blossom Festival. Food, of course, is one of the most important of the seasonal markers. Japanese chefs take great pride in creating dishes that celebrate the concept of shun. Japanese markets proudly offer the very best in local, in-season foods. (In fact, some markets will completely change their offerings with the season.) Even the tableware in restaurants will be changed with the seasons.

The joy of eating shun is both in the anticipation of a particular food coming into season and in the delicious flavor of that food once it is at the peak of its perfection. Inspired by this Japanese concept of shun, Shun Cutlery strives to always make fine kitchen cutlery that is at the peak of its perfection, too.

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