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Tableware – Mix and Match? One for Everyday and One for Best?

Tableware for everyday and tableware for best

Historically couples would put an everyday set of china and a best set on their wedding lists. Most households would have a kitchen set of informal pottery which would include a breakfast set, a tea set, the teapot, perhaps some kitchen storage and maybe some oven to tableware. They would then also have a best set which almost always was a formal fine bone china dinner service. This service would be stored in the sideboard of the dining room and used only on special occasions such as Sunday lunch, Christmas, Easter and smart dinner parties. Traditionally people in the UK have had limited storage space and were only able to accommodate two sets of tableware. In the US I have met ladies who have five, six or seven sets of dishes. They have plenty of storage space and ring the changes seasonally by switching the dinner services. How wonderful to have a complete set of Christmas china to bring out year after year or a lovely set for the garden in summer.

Kitchen Dining – Goodbye Dining Rooms

Things have changed and although there is still a formal dining market many couples are now choosing to spend more on high quality tableware that can be used everyday and for all smarter occasions – dress it up, dress it down. It follows the trend for cooking and eating in the same space. The kitchen dining room is what most people want and the formal dining room is becoming a thing of the past. I’m sure most people would like both but realistically most average homes do not have the space available.

Good quality, well designed simple tableware is what is popular. It needs to look elegant and stylish; it needs to be able to go into the microwave and through the dishwasher; and it needs to match the décor of the home. Eating habits have changed too. Our parents were perhaps more of the meat and two veg generation whereas couples setting up home nowadays have more of a varied diet. After all, the favourite national dish is now the curry! This means that tableware now needs to encompass dishes in which to serve all types of cuisine from traditional roasts to Italian, Thai, Indian and Mexican.

Mix and Match Tableware

Many people choose not to have a matching dinner service. If the shapes are the same throughout the patterns then it need not match, particularly if the designer chooses colours from a similar and limited palette. Some may collect all blue patterns, or those with a floral or animal theme, some with wording and some people just choose the patterns they love. If you don’t have a matching dinner service it takes away the worry of breaking pieces and ruining your set. If patterns are discontinued it doesn’t matter. And the best thing is when something new comes out that you love you can buy some more. Just add in a couple of new dinner plates, cereal bowls and a milk jug and suddenly your tableware feels fresh again. Add some red and green patterns for winter and you’ll feel like your table is perfectly dressed for Christmas.

Andrea Cox writes editorial for Emma Bridgewater UK, a company that specialises in handmade pottery that is ideal as everyday tableware.

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