Domestics

Everyday

When I got married the first time, in 1983, we received about 14 place settings of Minton’s Bellemeade, a very beautiful china service. I still have all the dinner plates, salad plates, cups and saucers, bread-and-butter plates and a few serving pieces, too. On a trip to Bermuda, my mother bought for me the beautiful two-handled soup bowls you see pictured here. (These have never been used. What is their purpose? At the moment they are holding stray game pieces. Ssh. I didn’t tell you that.) I also inherited from my mother a dozen beautiful old Wedgwood plates with a vine wreath, which we use at Thanksgiving to supplement my supply. And then there is a cupboard full of my great-grandmother’s Haviliand Limoges with the mauve chrysanthemums, but I only use the gravy boat, serving dishes and platters at Thanksgiving, never the see-through cups or the other dishes. I’m too afraid of breaking them. Keep reading to see why.

We also received about six place settings of our “everyday” china, Wedgwood’s Edme, including some cereal bowls we bought ourselves after the wedding. By the time Pure Luck and I were getting married in 2002, the Edme collection had dwindled to five cups and saucers. The plates of three sizes were long gone. The kids and I had also run through the informal salad plates from Tiffany that were clearly a popular wedding gift in 1983 (themes of herbs and flowers–The Father of My Children and I actually re-gifted one set when we were too poor to buy someone a wedding present! Oh, the shame.) and were subsisting on four place settings of a petitely-sized Blue Willow knock-off from the English store on Route One in Boston, purchased in 1994.

A man was coming to live with us, and it was time to buy man-sized plates. My first mistake: we went shopping together. He told me he didn’t like blue plates. He didn’t think food looked appetizing on blue. This had never stopped him from eating out of the blue pasta bowls I bought (just a pair) the first time I fixed dinner for him at my house. But because he was there in the store, I had to eschew blue.

We ended up with Pfaltzgraff Cappucino, a set of eight as pictured here.

Ah, Cappucino. How disappointing have you been? Let me count the ways.

You are very, very heavy. I cannot safely lift a stack of your plates.

You are noisy.

You break far too much.

And even the pieces that don’t seem to be broken are chipping or developing cracks which inevitably lead to breakage.

The current count: six dinner plates, six salad plates, six mugs and four cereal bowls. At least one dinner plate has a long crack, as does one mug, and there is a chip on one of the bowls (and who always gets it? That would be me.)

I think we need to give in and buy something else. I would love to hear recommendations from anyone who has purchased everyday dinnerware, or whatever it’s called these days. Are all patterns so heavy? Is there a brand that resists breakage and chippage and crackage? I laughing suggested melamine, but even the casual Pure Luck said that would be tacky.

All suggestions considered!

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