I know that now-a-days, having nice dishes and flatware is almost a thing of the past. With the coming of paper and plastic ware, it is so much easier to just throw some paper plates on the table and use plastic forks etc. That is OK for picnics, but when eating a nice meal, you should at least have plates and flatware not to mention a real glass. Our lives are so much on the go these days and mealtime is supposed to be the time that we all sit down and talk to each other and find out what is going on in our lives. With social media taking such a huge part in our lives, our families are dissolving into zombies playing video games at dinner or texting. As far as I am concerned, all electronics are left at the door and everyone sits down to my table to eat and talk to each other. Please don’t make the mistake of letting your children use their electronics at a meal of any kind.
I look over in restaurants and see kids sitting at the table with their parents and they all have their video games or cell phones out and are playing or texting on them during a meal. As far as I’m concerned that is extremely rude and offensive to the others at the table. It tells them that they are not worth the time that they are sitting with you to talk to you or find out what is going on in everyone’s lives. We need to teach our children table manners and how valuable people are in their lives. Your electronics will break and you can fix them or get new ones, but your family is the most important thing you have and if that breaks down, it’s very hard to get it back. Don’t lose what is the most precious to you, have your meals in peace with NO ELECTRONICS at the table.
It turns out that I have a lot of dishes that I have accumulated over the years. When I was a kid, my brother was in the service in Japan. He was engaged and going to marry a girl that was in nursing school in Baltimore. While he was in Japan he picked out a beautiful services of Noritake china. He shipped it home for my mother to store and when she opened it she love it so she asked him to pick out a pattern for her and she would pay him for it. As it turned out, he picked out the same exact pattern as the one he picked out for he and his fiancé. Well, as luck would have it, he got a “Dear David” letter in the mail and the wedding was off. Later he met another girl and they decided to get married and he was going back overseas and she decided she wanted to pick out her own pattern so he sold me the dishes that he bought for what he paid for them in Japan, $40.00. Really, $40.00. It was a complete service for 12 with 96 pieces. What a steal! I was only about 13 when he got married and I didn’t buy them until a little later but when I got married I didn’t have to register for good dishes because I already had them. I did register for my every-day dishes though and my crystal and I still have them after 44 years of marriage. A couple of plates have broken or gotten chipped, but I was able to replace them from a place that gets replacement dishes online. I also have another set of cheap dishes that I use sometimes that I bought as a set in a box. Later I also bought a set of Christmas dishes and after my mother passed away I inherited her set of dishes that David bought in Japan. So now I have a set of china for 24 people. Believe me, I am dish poor. I also inherited my mother’s crystal, and I have my own set. The sad thing is, neither one of my kids really want any of them. Some of them will be considered antiques when I die and I expect they will be sold. I plan on leaving them to my daughter and hopefully she will give them to my granddaughter, but you never know now who will want what. All I know, is they are going to have a lot of dishes to go through when I die. Things like these are really very precious things and should be passed on to generations. You can’t do that with paper plates and plastic forks except maybe in a landfill. How sad!
When it comes to picking out dishes, and silverware or flatware, it all comes down to personal taste. Everyone always picks the designs they like, or what will go with their kitchen. Plates come in all different sorts of patterns and even shapes of plates. Most sets of dishes come either as a whole set or by place setting. A place setting can come with 3-5 or more plates. It will depend on what the manufacturer makes for that particular design.
Less expensive dishes will be sold in complete sets of usually 4 or more place settings in one box. The place settings will usually just include a dinner plate, a salad plate, a cup and saucer or sometimes a mug with no saucer. There may also be a set of salt and pepper shakers and a set of a sugar bowl and a cream pitcher. They may also have a serving dish or two.
More expensive dishes are usually sold by place setting which will include a dinner plate, a salad plate, a bread plate or dessert plate and a cup and saucer. You will have to pay for all the extra dishes in the service separately. If you are getting married and register at a store you will pick out all the different things that you want in your plate services such as regular place settings, sugar and creamer, gravy boat, serving platers, and vegetable bowls. The store will keep up with who buys what for you and how many, so you won’t get 10 sets of sugar and creamers. The best plan is to register for 8 place settings as it will not only be you and your spouse eating forever. You will want to invite others over for dinner and you will need to have something to feed them on too. If you end up getting more than one or two servicing pieces that will be a bonus. You are always trying to find a bowl or platter to serve something all the time.
Flatware or silverware of course also come in place setting for more expensive stuff, or you can also buy entire sets with service for 8 by the box for the less expensive sets. Once again what you choose is entirely by personal preference. A lot of people like to match their flatware with their dishes, kind of theme thing. I usually suggest that you get something with a little weight to it as they don’t tend to scratch or bend as much when you use them. Flatware of course is made from stainless steel. Silverware is made from several different materials and usually coated with silver. There are some solid silver sets, but most are basically stainless coated with silver. Of course the solid silverware is much more expensive. A lot of people like to put their silverware up in a drawer or a chest and only use it for special occasions. However, it is better for the silverware to be used often. So, don’t put it away to collect tarnish, use it with pride.
In a services of flatware or silver ware there should be a knife, a dinner fork, a salad fork, and a spoon. Of course there are other kinds of forks and spoons that you can get if you want to get really fancy. For instance, you might get a shrimp fork, or even a grapefruit spoon. However, I have found that unless you plan on having a lot of very expensive dinner parties you will just stick with the basics. You will also need serving spoons. These will be larger spoons to serve your vegetables etc. You will also need a gravy ladle and possibly a slotted spoon or two. Slotted spoons are great because they have slots in the bowl of the spoon to drain off any extra liquid that you may not want to transfer from the bowl to the plate. Whichever type of eating utensils you pick as well as plates, please remember that you will have these for a long time and want to really love them because they are very expensive to replace if you decide that you don’t like them anymore.
I always think that the glassware on a table just puts the final touches on your table setting. Whatever type of glassware you choose to go with your dishes is up to you and your personal preference, as with the plates and silverware, but you need to choose glasses that match your theme and are easy to use. Pick up the glasses as you look at them. Feel how heavy they are and how well they are made. Many people like large glasses so they can serve large amount of liquid at their meals. I know lots of people like water and tea when they eat. Since they usually drink a lot of it when they are eating, it is easier to serve in large glasses so they don’t have to be refilled during the meal. Glassware, like anything else can be bought is sets or in servings just like dishes and flatware. I always say you can never have enough glasses. Be sure to get enough to go with your place settings and maybe even a few more.
Glass or crystal sets all come in sizes. Some have stems, some are full bowls. There should be a water glass/tea glass, a juice glass, and in the more expensive crystal sets, you will have a wine glass, a champagne glass, and some will even has brandy snifters etc. This of course is for the sophisticated drinkers almost all of these are stemware.
Whatever you choose, be sure you like them, as with dishes, they are expensive to replace.
Setting a Table
After you have accumulated all that you will need to sit down and eat, now you need to know the correct way to set a table. There are many different kinds of tables, in different rooms, and different types of meals, but there is a basic way of setting a table that is pretty much set wherever you go. You don’t want to appear like you don’t know what you are doing and you always want to have your table appear to be an appetizing place to eat. You can use a table cloth or not. You can also use place mats, or not. You can put the plate and silverware down on the bare table, it is all up to how you want your table to look. The basic way to place your plates and silverware are as follows:
Napkin Cup and saucer Bread Plate Water/Tea glass wine glass
Salad fork Dinner fork Dinner plate knife spoon
The plate is always in the center, the forks to the left and the knife and spoons to the right. The napkin can be put under the forks, next to the forks on the left end or sometimes folded in a decorative way and placed on the plate. I’ve even used them decoratively entwined in one of the forks. Usually the utensil that you will use first will be on the end of the side they are on. For instance, you would probably use your salad fork first, then your dinner fork, so the salad for is on the end. If you had a shrimp fork, that would be used before the salad fork. Therefore, the shrimp fork would go on the end. Soup spoons would go on the end, then your regular spoon and then the knife. Butter knives are usually placed on the bread plate or across the top of where the plate is placed. Water/Tea glass is next to the bread plate to the rt. of the dinner plate, wine/champagne glass next to the wine glass.
I have given you a lot of information that I hope I have explained well. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment in the website and I will help you find the answer.
Next blog will be about more kitchen gadgets that you will need and some that you will just want to make things easier. In the meantime, happy eating!