The China Fool
Growing up, dinner was always served on pretty, everyday dishes with stainless steel flatware, sitting in the crowded kitchen…….Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day – out came the gold rimmed Lenox china, linen tablecloth and napkins, silver flatware, crystal stemware, and into the dining room we go…….Fast forward to 1982: I am a young woman about to be married, registering for china…..quite costly dishes, flatware, stemware for setting a proper table, for “entertaining guests” in the home……I fell for it. A china fool. Along with thousands of other women, then and now, that feel they must register for formal china……..some smart business person out there has made quite a bit of money.
Sure, who doesn’t love beautiful things, but what a foolish tradition this is! It wasn’t as if we were wealthy and had regular formal dinner parties – I was working regularly to make ends meet while raising two children – the china came out on the holidays and occasional other times when I felt like kicking it up…..And to boot: Ginger taught me to wash all the china only by hand because the dishwasher would “dull the gold trim”. I obeyed for awhile, but thank goodness I was open minded and listened to my mother-in-law who believed more in making life easy – in the dishwasher they all go – and they have not dulled one bit. Thank you Nannee.
Fast forward again to the present: now a middle aged woman, working a very demanding job, children are grown……what do my husband and I use on a daily basis? Our everyday dishes. What do we look forward to on a regular basis? Restaurants. What dishes will be using on this year’s Thanksgiving? Ugh. Hopefully someone else’s!!!
What makes much more sense to me than all this formal china would be a second set of dishes that could be used everyday or on special occasions – still beautiful, still setting a pretty table, but more practical.
These are my everyday dishes – I have always loved the rich colors and the warm New England style….a nice alternative and refreshing change would be a white on white dish, in a shabby chic look….it would work for everyday and also for special occasions…..I could re-do our whole dining room!!!
Replacing all my china and redesigning our dining room is not a priority now…..for family dinners of six or less, I will remind myself to use the china (ugh) and I will not feel guilty when I resort to high quality plastic for some holiday gatherings…..no more ‘China Fool’!
How about you? Do you enjoy having/using formal china? What do you think of the bridal registry? To leave a comment, just click on ‘LEAVE A COMMENT’ under the title of this post. Always love to hear your thoughts……..
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While I chuckled at your candor. I feel we have all as a society relaxed everything. I do, still love a formal table. There is something magical about taking out the “good stuff” .
There are wonderful alternatives such as Viatri and Juliska which can work either way.
I will continue to enjoy being a China fool and, yes I too put my gold trim in the dishwasher!
Love dishes…formal or casual. I change everyday dishes often . Currently all white. Mix and change up with colors depending on occasion . China have your Lenox above, mix that with other china pieces, silver always. Have fun with your table settings.
I love using my sterling (yes, dishwasher) though I hate polishing it. I dont use my Royal Doulton Minton china mostly because I dont have a china cabinet to store it in, so it is away. Fortunately my everyday dishes are beautiful for a formal table…it’s not just the dishes it’s the table cloth, centerpiece, candlestix, etc that dress my formal table. I don’t think young brides today are registering for china…at least not from what I’m seeing at showers. They can always borrow Mom’s!
Could not agree more!!!! “Good China”… So outdated & unnecessary. So many options today for table settings….. “Love the eclectic style”…. Fun and beautiful to change up Depending on the day and the occasion.
Wow, you both have inspired me – I’m going to put a test piece of my china in the dishwasher & see what happens. I wonder if it would be advisable to use less than the normal amount of detergent as well, I think the detergent is the culprit in washing the gold away.
The gold trim on my dishes looks as good as ever! If it makes life easier, it works for me!