While most of us don’t stop to think about it, the dinnerware you use can make a big statement about who you are and the meal to come. Do you want to make your dinner setting formal or relaxed? Are the cups and plates clean and pristine, or cracked and chipped? The style and materials used can go a long way towards establishing the tone for the evening.
The term dinnerware applies to glassware and flatware; basically any of the utensils that you use to set your table at dinner time including teapots, cups, mugs, dinner plates and cutlery. As the focal point of any dinner table, the type you choose can make a lasting impression on your guests. While pottery styled dinnerware may go over well in a country kitchen, it may not be the best choice for a formal French restaurant; form and function has to go hand-in-hand.
There are plenty of choices for dinnerware materials today, though china, porcelain and EAPG (Early American pattern glass) are pricier compared to glass, stoneware, earthenware and pottery. Bone china remains a particular favorite for those looking to impress their guests by exuding a sense of culinary extravagance. For maximum effect, make sure your dinner sets match your interior color scheme.
Lastly, don’t overlook pottery for dinner plates, mugs or platters. While they’re better suited for a less formal atmosphere, pottery pieces are affordable enough that you can purchase handmade pieces that are truly one of a kind.
You can purchase dinnerware from almost anywhere; even dollar stores are selling plates, glasses and bowls at a buck apiece. However, if you want to create a formal place setting, silverware and higher quality tableware sets will cost much more. Beware as the word china has become more generic in recent years, often referring to porcelain and stoneware as well as china plates.
If you’re purchasing a dish pattern for another family as a gift, you should consider what will work best for them before you buy. While many people would love to receive bone china, it may not be a practical gift for a young family with energetic children.
A typical dinnerware set consists of five pieces, including:
Some patterns have matching accessories that include a large platter, vegetable bowl, salad set, casserole dish, sugar and creamer, teapot, gravy boat, salt and pepper shakers, pasta set, butter dish and mugs as a “complete” set. These sets are great way to extend the look of your dinnerware to more exotic items.
Today’s dinnerware pieces are more versatile, going from a warm oven to the table or from the fridge directly to the microwave is not a problem. Most can handle the dishwasher as well and still look great for years. The main thing to be careful of is chipping cups or plates in the sink or dishwasher. Keep in mind that unless you’re standing on plush carpeting, only plastic dishes are safe to drop!
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