Entertaining Basics: Ditch the Paper and Plastic


When I moved out on my own, I made it a priority to purchase dishes. It wasn’t a ton, and they weren’t super expensive or fancy - but they were actual porcelain dishes.

When having people over for dinner, it’s important to have actual dishes. Not plastic, not paper, actual dishes.

WHY NOT PLASTIC OR PAPER PLATES AND SILVERWARE?

When you have food served on a paper plate, what kind of food is it? And what’s the venue that you’re being served the food at?

More than likely it is a place that doesn’t have the ability to have actual dishes - usually a picnic outdoors, an office, or a very large event that doesn’t have the ability to actually provide and wash all those dishes. Think company picnics, office potlucks, and state fairs and music festivals.

Let me put it this way - how would you feel if you were served food on a paper plate at a wedding? Or if a fancy high-end brought you your food on a lovely clear plastic Chinette plate?

Paper and plastic plates belong only when you don’t have a home with the ability to store and wash dishes.

Look, the message you’re giving people if you’re using paper and plastic plates is that you’re not equipped or care enough to serve them food on actual china. It cheapens the event, sets a very different tone, and can potentially make you look lazy.

It’s also inconvenient for your guests. Plastic fork tines can break off, spoons can snap, knives can fail to cut through food, paper plates can get soaked through by liquids - it’s just not a good experience.

For us, we would never want our guests to feel like they are an imposition. By hosting, we feel that we have made the implicit commitment to providing real dishes and silverware to give everyone a great experience.

Make your guests feel amazing by providing them with real dishware and silverware. On the flip side, a nice side benefit is your guests are going to be amazed at how great of a host you are. See how this works?

WHAT TYPE OF DISHWARE AND SILVERWARE TO INVEST IN?

Here’s the thing - we like simple, basic dishware and silverware.

Of course if we had an unlimited budget and unlimited storage we would love to have some really fancy dishes and silverware, but since we’ve yet to win the lottery we stick with some very nice and basic lines.

For instance, our white dishes are from Bed Bath and Beyond - simple, clean, white and minimal dishes that go with everything. They’re easy to clean, very sturdy, and easily replaced if one should break (which they haven’t so far - keeping our fingers crossed) and are beautiful in their own right.

If you’re really strapped for cash, thrift stores are a great way to pick up white dishware. You see, the great thing is that you won’t be able to really distinguish one line of white dishware from another, allowing you to mix and match what you find. I had a friend who was able to assemble an entire full kitchen from thrift stores by collecting white dishware - and it looked freaking fantastic!

With silverware, we also recommend a relatively basic line - nothing too fancy if it’s going to break the budget, but try not to go with the cheapest if possible (since bending forks and knives back into place isn’t my favorite activity in the world).

WHEN YOUR GUEST LIST IS LARGE

Once the company starts getting beyond ten people or so, we start looking at other options.

Did you know that you can also rent dishes? While this may not be appropriate for every scenario, you can rent dishes for a very large party if needed. The best part? You don’t have to wash them, you can just pop them back into the box and send them back to the rental company.

When Kee-ju and I got married, we did a small celebration at our home - inviting around fifty people or so. We rented a lot of dishes from a company including glassware and dessert plates, and just shipped them back the next day. It was very economical, and hassle free. Just do it - you won’t regret it.


OTHER POSTS IN THE ENTERTAINING BASICS SERIES

Entertaining Basics: The Bathroom (And Other Unspoken Amenities For Your Guests)

Entertaining Basics: Glassware

Entertaining Basics: Ambiance