Reader Q&A – Advice on Dishes

Reader Question: I have been looking at china patterns for our home. It can be a little overwhelming, so I was hoping to see what advice you may have. How many sets do you recommend? What parts of each place setting are necessary? I’m actually looking to replace our everyday dishes, since several pieces have been broken or chipped, in addition to have a set of china. Currently we own no china. We’ve been married for nearly five years, so I’m obviously not doing a registry and will just purchase as we can afford. Thank you!

Answer: It truly can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! As fun as it can be to have every piece made, it just isn’t that practical. For china I recommend a minimum of eight sets – more if you tend to entertain at the holidays, which is when the china will likely be used. For everyday dishes, 12 sets would be more ideal. Many everyday sets are sold as a set as opposed to individual pieces. The most common set includes a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bowl and coffee cup. These would be the most basic pieces you need. I enjoy having a bread plate and saucer for the coffee cup, as well. I’ve never found the need for both a dinner plate and a luncheon plate. For my china, I have the same pieces. Each year for my birthday or Christmas, I’ll accumulate more pieces, like a butter dish, serving bowl, etc. The ones I highly recommend would be a butter dish, two serving bowls, large platter and salt & pepper shakers. I have other pieces that I enjoy but don’t consider necessary, such as fruit bowls, asparagus dish, baking dishes for my everyday set, batter bowl, etc. My best advice is to get the type and amount of dishes that suit your lifestyle!

A Piece of Cake

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child

 

Mrs. Child and I wholeheartedly agree on the necessity of cake (or another sweet) at a party. My mother-in-law’s birthday was this past Saturday, and she, my brother-in-law and my nephew all came over to our house for a family party. We grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and I make Paula Deen’s Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake. It lives up to its name. It’s simple to make, but it tastes wonderful (even if you fail to realize you don’t have McCormick Imitation Strawberry Extract).

Considering that I have four patterns of china (Lenox Vintage Jewel Platinum-Banded Bone China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Lenox Autumn Gold-Banded Fine China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1, Noritake Crestwood Cobalt Platinum 5-Piece Place Setting and Noritake Crestwood Platinum – 5 piece place setting) and two full sets of silver-plated flatware, you would think that somewhere along the way I’d use my silver-plated cake server. I just rarely think to go to my dining room, sadly, to get my utensils. My go-to is a much less expensive set I’ve picked up along the way. It doesn’t match my everyday flatware, which is Oneida Julliard 20-Piece Flatware Set, Service for 4, but that’s completely ok.

I enjoy using my serving utensils, and I love how decadent it feels slicing into a frosted cake. If you do not have a set that currently matches your pattern, here are two lower-cost options I recommend: Reed & Barton 04230800 Lyndon 2-Piece Dessert Set with 13-Inch Knife and 11-Inch Server and Wallace Hotel Pie Server and Cake Knife Set.

Reed & Barton Serving Set

Wallace Hotel Serving Set

Both options include the knife and server, which is my preference over a serated server. I think these options are both beautiful and are a perfect house warming or hostess gift, as it’s sure to get lots of use over the years.

Even if you don’t entertain often, it’s okay to want to enjoy to small things. Sometimes the kids and I will make a cake or pie, and we’ll serve it up on some of my china dessert plates on a random Tuesday.  These are the memories I hope last them for a lifetime. I hope you’re able to make memories like these, as well! Happy eating!

 

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Lenox Halloween Sale!! Expired

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If you are looking for a great deal to start or add to your china collection, Lenox has a wonderful Halloween sale right now! Get 30% off of your purchase using this link: Extra 30% Off Halloween. Just use code HALLOWEEN.

My mom started collecting the Christmas plates in the pattern Holiday, which I love! It’s always so special to use these plates each Christmas.However, if you’re looking for Thanksgiving instead, they have that, too!

If, though, you want something more classic that will work for any holiday, y’all likely know my top pattern is Autumn.Right now the 5-piece plus BONUS set of Holiday china is only $99.95 (reg. $200). With the 30% off, it’s only $69.96! However, to get 4 place settings, right now it’s reduced to $224.95 from $492.00. With the 30% off, you pay only $157.47 or $39.37 for each place setting. That is a phenomenal price for bone china.

Happy Halloween!

Tea Party Recap

THANK YOU to everyone who attended yesterday’s tea! We had an absolute blast. Tea time is so important, not because I love tea (in truth, I’m more of a coffee girl), but socializing IS important. We’re all too happy to watch other people live their lives (hello, Kardashians) without getting out and living our own.

We glorify being too busy, which is, in short, very sad. Why do we want a “me” world? As an aside, if you haven’t read this blog from my friend, Kayla Price-Mitchell, I encourage you to check it out! I believe we’re meant to be around others and not live completely solo lives. This is why etiquette is so vital. It’s not just about being comfortable and knowing which fork to use. It’s about making others feel comfortable. It’s a more selfless way of living.

Tea time, though no longer common, was how women of upper class socialized with each other regularly in the 1800s through the mid 1950s. We’re all too happy to get together for a good cause, but it is completely okay (and even good) to get together for no other reason than to be around each other.

In a relaxed setting, we are free to be open with ideas, share our concerns with each other, laugh and grow in friendship. It’s a wonderful thing. If you missed out on Sunday’s tea, I plan to have two more before the end of the year! This is my side job, so it is hard to do a tea correctly without going in the hole financially. However, my goal is to bring etiquette back in style. I can’t do that if there aren’t ample opportunities for unique events, such as teas.

Here are a few of the pictures from the tea party! Enjoy!

Lenox Autum china makes the perfect place settings.

Up close with each simple place setting.

An English bone china makes for a beautiful table.

                        It’s tea time!

 

Dinnerware Essentials

Hi, everyone! I’ve received a few emails asking about china vs. everyday dishes, extra pieces, etc. So, I thought I’d give you MY suggestions. Please remember to do what’s best for your family, your budget and your entertaining preferences.

I strongly encourage china. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be new. I’ve found complete sets at antique stores for $100. (Note: I’m kicking myself for not getting them, BUT I hope it made its way to a home of someone who appreciates it). I just enjoy and appreciate the added “specialness” it brings to an ordinary occasion. As a child, I remember using it and feeling so grown up. As an adult, I love a pretty table. It’s your preference, though. I encourage 12 place settings of the dinnerware you will use at Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. If this is everyday dinnerware, that’s great. If it’s china, that’s great, too. For argument’s sake, let’s go with china. So, in short, 12 placesettings of china. What makes a place setting? At absolute minimum, a dinner plate and a dessert plate (can double as a salad plate). I prefer to also have a bread plate, coffee cup and saucer. It’s not mandatory, but for my personal collection, I have bowls, as well. We actually use these more than I ever expected to, particularly at the holidays. Aside from 12 place settings, I strongly encourage a large serving platter and a serving bowl. I have a lot of serving pieces for my wedding china (Lenox Vintage Jewel). However, for my “fun china” (shown in picture above – Lenox Autumn), I just have 8 place settings. No serving pieces. I found a good buy on ebay and just went with it! For that pattern, I’m comfortable mixing in glass bowls, crystal and white platters, etc. Do what makes the most sense for you.

I don’t find a need in completing a set all at once. For my everyday dinnerware (Pfaltzgraff  Yorktowne), I have collected pieces over the years after receiving our initial plates and bowls as wedding gifts. Pfaltzgraff (like many companies) keep patterns pretty much the same and just add and take away particular pieces each year. So, certain candlesticks I’ve found are from certain years, and the same goes for most of my additional pieces.

As you can tell from the photo above, our casual dinnerware is just that. Casual. This fits our lifestyle for most days.

I hope this post helped you if you had questions on what to get, how many pieces, etc. Thank you for asking the question! As always, thank you for reading. 🙂