I’m a dishaholic. There; I’ve said it. It’s a genetic defect from my mother. The symptoms start innocently enough and then next thing you know, you can have a sit down dinner for more than sixty people, not that you would have enough chairs and flatware for half as many people. Looking through the cupboards I realize I can almost tell my life through dishes.
This platter is the last vestige of the “everyday” dishes from my childhood. We used them in Queens and then in New Jersey. In 1979 they were joined by Pottery Barn dishes after my Aunt died. Those dishes are no longer with us, either. They were plain white coupe dishes and I loved them. Through the years I would look for the identical dishes only finding similar but not the same ones. I remember going to the original Pottery Barn store in New York with my Aunt; it had racks and racks of dishes. I miss her.
Then there were my mother’s “good” dishes, a Noritake service for twelve. This set harkens back to days before I was born. It has two sizes of platters, open and covered vegetable bowls, bread plates, salad plates, soup plates, individual vegetable bowls, and more. I look at these and am transported back to so many holiday meals; house full of family, friends, music, and laughter. What I’ve always liked about this set is the gravy boat; yes, the gravy boat. The under dish is attached to the boat. If only other companies would do this! As I got older and started cooking I would pull out the dishes for Sunday dinner. Why keep them only for company? Who’s more important than my family, right? I still have these dishes, plus a couple of extra serving pieces I picked up online at Replacements Limited.
During the late Seventies/early Eighties, we purchased our first microwave oven. It was a behemoth of a creature, large enough for the small turkey that we would never cook in it. This had the unintended consequence of requiring us to purchase microwave safe dishes. The microwave safe set ended up being “Dad’s luncheon set”. It is a reddish transferware pattern that he liked. He thought of it as nice for everyday or having friends for lunch (my parents were big on entertaining). This is a service for six that now resides in a cabinet next to my microwave. Some years later we found complimentary rimmed soup plates (different brand) so we have six of those, too. Over the years a bread plate broke, although I don’t know when or by whom. For those of you keeping track, we are now up to a total of eighteen place settings minus one bread plate.
Greek Easter was always a big event at our home, complete with a spring lamb roasting on a spit and 24-40 people in attendance for a sit down meal. This meant a mish-mosh of tableware but the company was great and the food delicious. One day, for reasons I cannot remember, Dad and I were at the local Macy’s near the dish department where we meandered into the clearance area. Would you believe we found two big boxes of service for twelve, in the same pattern, of china (made in china) for more than 50% off? Lightbulb! Easter dishes!! I even found small wine glasses at Ikea (twenty-four, of course) to make the set complete. These sets included serving pieces, too. Now we would have a lovely table set for twenty-four people; perfect. Platters, serving bowls, salt and pepper shakers, creamer set, were all included. I still don’t know how they fit everything into the boxes or how we got them home in a Ford Escort. I discovered a china outlet in St. Augustine, FL, where I picked up additional pieces – demi-tasse cups, extra cake plates (because we used them for dessert and appetizers), extra serving pieces. Some have a different brand name stamped on the bottom but they’re the same. My guess is a factory in China makes them and puts your brand on it. Yes, I still have these and no, they cannot go into the microwave. Actually I have all pieces except one cup. During our kitchen remodel my china was stacked on rolling racks in the dining room. Although I had told hubby to not roll the racks containing the china, he did. A cup fell. It broke. He looked sheepish and contrite. I didn’t say a word. Place setting count? Forty-two minus one bread plate and one cup.
When my husband and I met we each owned homes, fully furnished homes, so we didn’t need anything when we were getting married. Still, we needed to put something on a register because we knew we were getting gifts even if we said don’t give us gifts. We picked dishes so we would have every day dishes that were neither his nor mine. I wanted either artsy or tailored; he wanted classic. He preferred thin china dishes to thick stoneware ones. We ended up with Royal Worchester Howard Cobalt. These cannot go in the microwave. We do use them for everyday and entertaining. I started thinking I could build up this set and get rid of the Easter dishes; my Mother started buying us place settings for our anniversary until we were up to fifteen place settings. Eventually I changed my mind and decided I could get plain white microwavable dinner plates to compliment the blue and white ones when setting out a buffet. Place setting count? Fifty-seven minus one bread plate and one cup.
Yes, dear reader, I have fifty-seven place settings (minus one bread plate and one cup). This doesn’t count the extra pieces, like the four microwavable cereal bowls from William-Sonoma, or the four microwavable cereal bowls from Crate and Barrel. Or the six white coupe dinner plates that can go into the microwave (yes, I finally found them!) and their matching sandwich counterparts from Crate and Barrel. Or the Reindeer mugs, serving pieces, appetizer plates, and cake plates from Pottery Barn that I use each Christmas. It also doesn’t count the myriad of platters and other serving pieces. If I were setting up a buffet I could actually set out sixty-three dinner plates. I could set up a lunch buffet with over eighty salad-sized plates. I think I could set out well over a dozen platters, too, but I still have to count them. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sixteen melamine dinner plates and their smaller companions for outdoor use; I don’t use them for indoor buffets so they’re not included in the dinner or small plate counts.
Now that I have the white coupe plates, I want to get rid of my red transferware set as well as the Easter set. The problem? How to sell them? Who wants service for twenty-four minus a cup? Still, I would like to get rid of them; that would bring me down to a mere twenty-seven place settings, thirty-three dinner plates. That’s not a lot, right?