When you open your kitchen cupboard, what do you see? Until recently mine contained a somewhat loosely fitting collection of plates, bowls and drinking glasses.
All that changed when I courageously volunteered to host a dinner for my friend Rosie who was moving to Portland with a new job and a new boyfriend.
It was a small occasion but one of great importance. Rosie had worked very hard to arrive at this stage in her life and I wanted to mark the moment.
I wanted to have a cosy dinner for five of our closest friends. Everything was set, except, well, the stage.
It ended up that, even for this small group, I did not have the necessary number of plates and cutlery to serve the dinner. So while in my head I envisioned a beautifully dressed table, the reality was much different.
My mismatched set of mugs, bowls and plates could not produce what I had envisioned. This is when I decided that for future gatherings as well as my own pleasure, I would get rid of all the bowls, numerous mugs and few plates I had accumulated since my freshman year in college, and invest in a proper, fresh,“grownup” set.
I ended up getting two of the sets you see below. The green set from Waechtersbach Fun Factory, and for days where I felt more whimsical, the Lenox Simply Fine Chirp. Yes, it was a lot to spend in “Plates and cups”, but I felt it was about time to up my game.
Before I made my choice, here are the sets that I looked at:
Waechtersbach Fun Factory II Green Apple 4-Piece Dinnerware Set
This crisp apple green set includes a good size dinner plate, a desert plate, a sturdy bowl and mug. On a daily basis, I use the desert plate, the bowl and the mug. Warning, this set is not recommended for the microwave, but it is dishwasher safe. It rings in at about $33 for the set. On a fun note, this label also offers the same set in orange and dark blue, so you can mix and match if you desire to do so.
- Set includes one of each: 10-3/4 -Inch Dinner Plate,8-1/4-Inch Salad Plate, 20-Ounce Soup/Cereal Bowl and a jumbo mug
- You can mix and match colors for a new table everyday
- Not recommended for microwave or oven use
- Dishwasher safe
Lenox Simply Fine Chirp 4-Piece Place Setting
The second set I purchased was this one by Lenox, again, the price is a little stiff, but worth the investment.
It comes in at $85 for a set that includes a dinner plate, a dessert plate, a bowl and a medium sized mug.
Ok, I have to confess, this is the set that makes me the most happy, I just cannot get over the design variation on each of the pieces and the colors. It’s fine bone china but totally dishwasher safe and it is guaranteed to be chip resistant.
- 4-piece place setting with enchanting watercolor scene
- The set includes one each: dinner plate, luncheon/salad plate, all-purpose bowl, and 10-ounce cup
- It’s crafted from fine bone china and guaranteed to be chip resistantCrafted from Lenox fine bone china; guaranteed chip resistant
- It’s microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe
Gibson Home Vivendi 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, White
Black mat exterior and a contrasting white interior make this simple set very elegant. For about $54, you get a 16 piece set, including a large dinner plate, a good size dessert place along with a large bowl and large mug. I find that it is always nice to have a simple white interior as it will sublime most of anything you put in it.
- The set includes four of each:10.5 Inch Dinner Plate, 4 Piece 8.2 Inch Dessert Plate, 4 Piece 8 Inch Bowl, 4 Piece 12oz Mug
- This version contrasting black and white color combo
This 16 piece in a typical creamy white and blue design is a fine example of the Boleslawiec polish pottery tradition. This set is simply gorgeous and is worthy of any Wedding registry. While you wait for such an occasion, you can purchase this set for a cool $326. At least these are guaranteed to be microwave, dishwasher and oven safe. The manufacturer these are freezer safe, though I have no idea why you would put these in any freezer.
The 16 piece set includes 4 of each:. A dinner plates, a dessert plate, a soup bowl and a coffee mug
- It is hand made in Poland
- It is safe to use in microwave, dishwasher, freezer, oven
Creative Co-op Birds and Bees 8.75-inch Stoneware Plates, Set of 4
This next piece is not a dinner set per say, but you get four dinner plates with four different but coordinated designs. I like this particular one which features bees and hive. The set of four plates will cost you $59.
- The set includes for 8.75 inch in diameter plates
- They are Microwave and Dishwasher safe
- This set is designed by Tim Coffey for Creative Co-op.
Royal Albert New Country Roses Pink Vintage Formal Place Setting
I had to include a dainty set in this selection. This pink ensemble, by none other than Royal Albert, is something straight out of a Jane Austen novel.
Made out of fine bone china, it features an old country rose theme with a light gold highlight. For $99.99, you get a dinner plate, a salad plate, a bread and butter plate as well as a tea cup and saucer (of course).
- The set includes one of each: Dinner, salad, butter plates, a tea cup and matching saucer
- It is made out of bone china
- It is still dishwasher safe
Even if I eat at my kitchen counter, usually out of a bowl, the experience is made that much more special when I use an item from my plate sets. There is something truly luxurious when you eat out of a real ceramic bowl, or even better, some fine bone china. I am currently eyeing some cuttlery sets to go with the plates. I will be posting the result of my “research” in upcoming article. Until then, I hope you consider donating your current lot of plates and investing in a more beautiful dining set. Good luck!