Monday, June 28, 2010

Dishing up

Over the time that I’ve been writing this blog, I have collected a variety of plates and bowls – just to keep the photographs from becoming boring; though you may have noticed that you’ve been seeing the same old pasta plate with almost every pasta dish I have presented for the last six months.

When we first move into a ‘home of our own’, we are often gifted odd plates and kitchen ware by family and friends – not much matches anything else. But, after all, we won’t start having formal dinner parties for a while, so odd plates don’t matter.

For anyone buying new china, I would recommend plain white, with no edging or embellishment; plain white china shows off food to its best advantage. I was recently looking through an old cookery book, and what struck me most was the fussy china – I find it detracts from the meal presented on it. You can't decide where the food ends and the pattern starts!

Try to buy from a range that is not going to go off the market; that way you will always be able to match and replace breakages. Woolworths (the S.A. equivalent to M&S or BHS) carry a good range of classic white china. The pieces come individually as well as in boxed sets of four, all at reasonable prices. I have two beautiful Noritake dinner services, but both the designs are no longer produced, so I can’t replace the pieces that have broken over the years. Also, both are trimmed with silver, so I can’t put them in the microwave.

For starters, I think it’s a good idea to buy four of each: dinner plates, side plates, soup/dessert bowls, cups and saucers; I would buy eight mugs – they always seem to be used first. Of course, if you have a dishwasher or a lot of people in the house then you will need more. Again, for serving dishes, stick with plain white or clear pyrex. That way nothing gets dated and it all matches.

Cutlery is another thing best purchased as plain as possible. However many knives, forks and spoons you get, buy four serving spoons. And at least a dozen teaspoons. At least.

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