Dinnerware That Doesn't Clank
The other day, as I stacked clean dishes in the cabinet, I wished that plates didn't have to be so noisy. Even when I'm careful, there's clatter, clank, squeak and rattle emanating quite noisily.
I wonder, in this era of space-age materials and industrial design, whether anyone makes rubberized, composite, ceramic, natural, or otherwise alternative dinnerware that has heft, substance, style, and class.
That list of qualities eliminates the obvious (paper, melamine, standard poolside polycarbonate).
That leaves stuff like:
Resin-impregnated bamboo. Wood. Really hard cured rubber. Carbon fiber. Fiberglass.
Is there anyone out there making dinnerware that can go in the dishwasher, not harbor microbial infections (a la raw wood salad bowls), not peel and lose their finish, not make food taste funny, and potentially go in the microwave/oven/broiler from time to time?
If it's out there, I'll buy it.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/links.
Bone china, fine china and porcelain are fired at high temps. The clay that they are made from is "hard paste clay". Bone china actually has bone ash added to it which helps to give it that very white body that fine (creamier in color...Lenox) and porcelain (which is kind of greyish) don't have. Stoneware is also vitrified and if broken can be very very sharp. Think Pfaltzgraff, and nDansk. Earthenware, Ironstone etc. are made from softpaste clays and are fired at lower temps. They are very prone to chipping being made from such soft clays and also are very porous so if they crack or chip should be discarded or used for a non-food puropse since they can absorb juices and become harborers of bacteria. The name "iron stone" was invented to suggest durability which of course it was not.
my dishwasher is a new frigidaire and runs so quietly, 1st time i turned it on, i wasn't sure it worked. emptying my dishwasher, even when it's maxed out full, takes about 5 minutes. not all items within are plates, so i'd guess stacking them on the shelf takes about a minute.
that's a pretty small portion of my day, and i'm exposed to much noisier things outside. i'd much rather eat off lovely, rather than quiet, crockery.
It seems to me that the problem in not so much the material from which dishes are made but the shapes of them and the height of the frames into which the dishes are set in the dishwasher. For example, my plain white Wedgwood Bone china, the stuff I use every day, has fairly flat plates with flat rims. They don't clank against one another when teh dw is running.
The Christmas Spode I've been using, on the other hand, has deeper plates with angled rims and those do clank. I solved the problem by reversing the way I put them in the dw and now it runs quietly.
Heller plastic dishes solve the clanking issue and are very durable & extremely good looking. The line has been (sadly) discontinued but you can still find pieces...I purchased mine aeons ago & truly they do not clank...They come in vivid colors & white...classic 60's/70's minimal/contemporary style...here's a link to give you an idea...(You need to scroll down to Stackable Heller dishes...)
I put them in the dishwasher with no problem but would not put them under a broiler...
Our very best company china is a set of Longwy French porcelain, about 100 years old (though it's still being made). It's amazing stuff - so much lighter than regular china, and it feels almost flexible when you pick it up...and it does NOT clank! It sounds more like some kind of plastic. We take such special care of it that I don't know how tough it really is, but after all this time and moving around the world the set is still nearly complete, so it's got to be pretty durable.
If I had a piece to experiment on I'd try it in the dishwasher, but I value my life too highly to try it on one of these!
re: Will Owen
re: blue room
I could easily be mistaken about that - I don't frequent the china departments of fancy stores, so the only time I ever see really high-end dinnerware is at an antiques show, and that's where I've seen the only Longwy pieces other than ours. I just assumed that it was still being made, as most of the other popular premium labels are. I was actually going to ask the people who specialize in Longwy at the Pasadena show, but after a very brief chat it was clear that they weren't interested in talking to anyone but buyers.