Dishing It out

I love dishes. I’ve bought several sets of stoneware in our almost-40-years of marriage, and I’ve given them all away. They’re too heavy for practical use. My go-to dishes are a set of Corelle. They’re white with a small, pale-green ivy border. They aren’t gorgeous and they don’t “speak” to me the way my home décor choices speak to me. They are Plain Jane dishes, but they’re practical.


Since they’re a popular seller, I can purchase them one at a time, off the shelf, at my local super store: Meijer. And I do.  Over the years I’ve probably purchased 30 plates, many of them replacements for those accidentally dropped. Corelle dishes hold up well, but are no match for our ceramic tile kitchen floor, where, once dropped, they become shards that take weeks of broom sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and bare feet to finally find all the needle-like pieces that they become after hitting said floor.

At one time, I had all the matchy-match pieces: 3 sizes of plates, cups, saucers, a tea pot, serving plates, gravy boats, you name it. I’ve since donated some of the matchy serving dishes and replaced them with more modern and trendy coordinating pieces, also sold at Meijer. My replacement serving dishes are white, so they go with anything.


My latest donation was my teapot, saucers and cups. I now have an electric teapot, we never used the saucers, and the cups were just boring. My inspiration for changing them out was a line of brightly colored cups displayed in the coffeepot aisle at Target. The cups come in two sizes that I call mug and squat.  Mug holds about 12 ounces and squat holds about 8 ounces, I’m guessing. The bright colors: orange, red, yellow, green and aqua, are so nice to wake up to, and they make me happy first thing in the morning.


If I can offer any advice on spicing up your kitchen, it’s this: you can get by with boring practical plates, you cover them with food anyway. Coordinate your serving dishes rather than matching them. Mine are plain white, but I chose interesting shapes: square and rectangle with sloping sides, and oval with each end squared off. Splurge on cups.

We had a party recently. There were tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. The cups were a hit. Well, I don’t know if they were a hit with anyone else, but they were a hit with me. I looked around the room, friends were laughing, some holding mugs, some holding squats, there were cups sitting around between sips. The cups were colorful and festive, definitely adding a spark to the festivities. I don’t miss the matchy cups and saucers, or the seldom-used teapot. I made the right choice.

Wrong Hands

Cartoons by John Atkinson. ©John Atkinson, Wrong Hands

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