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What dinnerware do you have, and how do you rate it?

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foiegras Dec 17, 2009 12:25 PM

As a dinnerware junkie, I'm wondering what you guys have, and what's the best and worst in terms of durability and function.

I'll come back & post about my collection ...

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  1. f
    foiegras RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 12:36 PM

    Let me start with worst, because that's easy ;)

    I have about service for two left of an aqua glazed red clay *incredibly fragile* Ceramiche Nicola Fasano set. I had a dinner plate break into in the microwave once (despite being 'microwave safe').

    Next is Haldon Group's Blue Stripe ... sold as dishwasher safe, it wasn't. The glaze cracked ... what a mess. Plus it kind of screams about its origin in another decade ...

    I also have Russel Wright's American Modern in seafoam. The most popular dinnerware ever made, but it was also fragile. (Not as fragile as the other two I've mentioned!!) And the glaze left something to be desired. It's beautiful though ... and the color's easy to serve on.

    Speaking of color, I have quite a bit of Our America transferware by Vernon Kilns, another vintage pattern, in brown and white. The glaze, like nearly all Vernon, is perfect. The brown and white is a bit challenging to serve on, though ... you have to make sure the food is colorful.

    I think that's it for the negatives ...

    1. s
      sueatmo RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 12:41 PM

      I use daily a Pfaltzgraf pattern no longer in production, Forest. I think I have everything in that pattern, except for the salt and pepper. I bought through ebay extra coffee mugs. For 10 years we have used the set, and it has proved durable. We have only 1 or 2 chips in the set. I am somewhat disappointed that the creamy plates (w/ borders) have discolored and sometimes I see scratches in the finish.

      I also pull out a Lenox Christmas set around this time of year. And I have displayed some old American Haviland, pattern Birchmere. This a curious mid-forties - mid fifties set with a more modern pattern on a very traditional scalloped plate blank. Don't like using it because it cannot be dishwashed. Displayed with it I have a seldom used partial set of Fenton red goblets. I've forgotten the pattern. These were my grandmother's.

      I will enjoy hearing about others' dinnerware.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo
        nofunlatte RE: sueatmo Dec 17, 2009 01:02 PM

        I have my great-aunt's china (what's left of it, which is quite a number of pieces), which I inherited: not sure if it's pre-war or post-war, but it's not going into the dishwasher (too fragile and I do love the memories).

        I have a set for four (dinner/salad plates, cereal bowls) of this thick, industrial, well-glazed stoneware from England that I got about 15 years ago at the original Phila. IKEA. It has that diner-sturdiness to it and I love the black and white design on it It is microwave and dishwasher-safe (micro'd almost daily). It's a real workhorse set and has been in near-daily use since I purchased it (the china is more for special occasions). The glaze shows no signs of wearing thin, either.

        ETA: no chipping so far, either! BTW, meant to reply to OP, not you sueatmo!

        1. re: sueatmo
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          sueatmo RE: sueatmo Dec 19, 2009 09:46 AM

          Oops! I forgot my mother's stoneware, all white. She collected Meakin for years. I've got the pieces that are usable. Every so often I score another piece, but don't limit myself to Meakin. The only pieces I use are the oval platters. I think the shapes are simply elegant. The stuff does not remain pristine through the decades. But I use it anyway. My favorite platter has the most crazing. For some reason it has become my favorite. I dishwash this stuff, even though it is at least 100 years old.

        2. h
          hrhsheba RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 01:53 PM

          I spent months and months scouring shops for the perfect white set and finally chose Cellini by Villeroy & Boch. I've had it in daily use every single day for about 8 or 9 years and it's perfect. I've broken one plate and replaced it right away. It's a beautiful set and it's dishwasher safe. Apparently, it's fine in a microwave but I don't have a microwave so I can't comment on that. I would recommend it in a heartbeat!

          6 Replies
          1. re: hrhsheba
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            foiegras RE: hrhsheba Dec 17, 2009 04:23 PM

            I like white too, and I have the same dishwasher-safe requirement for everyday! I don't mind washing the special dishes by hand, but I certainly would mind doing it constantly.

            For everyday, I have Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine. I've had it for close to 20 years. The pieces I use continually have some scratching .... only one piece has ever chipped. The chip eventually led to a crack, and it all ended in the recycling bin. (Here you can recycle broken ceramics and glass, which makes me feel marginally better when tragedy strikes.) Creamware has a beautiful fragile appearance, but is actually very tough.

            Also for everyday, Poppytrail Jamestown Provincial, which is white. The borders of the flat pieces (like plates and platters) have 'rivets' at the rim, which I love. It was made in the late 50s/early 60s and is dishwasher safe (as required!). The pattern is strange ... it's like it had two designers. The flat pieces are tailored, while some of the others are cutesy, with hearts as I recall.

            I recently got some antique damask napkins that were too formal for everything I have, so I got a 'test' piece of French Haviland Ronson. I really like it, but the rimmed 9+" dinner plate seems quite small, and the larger dinner plate seems to be rare. Does anyone have this (or another pattern on the blank)? I saw there's also a coupe (rimless) plate ... does anyone have those?

            1. re: foiegras
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              Smachnoho RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 04:51 PM

              I have been using a porcelain set from Finland named "Ruska". It is made by the Arabia company recently bought out by Iittala of Finland. Oven, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. In 30 years of daily use I have only broken 1 dinner plate and 2 salad plates, Unfortunately, the line was discontinued in 1999.
              The dishes are a beautiful variegated brown shade.
              http://www.finlandporcelain.info/cont...

              All of the Arabia of Finland dishware is very hardy. If I were going to start all over again, I would now choose the white line called "Artica." I have a few of the Artica serving bowls and serving dishes which I use with my Iittala Niva dishes, but no dinner plates or soup bowls etc.
              I also have a full set of Iittala Niva glass plates. bowls and dessert plates that would go beautifully with the white Artica dishes. Maybe if I broke more of my Ruska plates, I could buy more of the Artica set.:
              http://www.finnstyle.com/arctica1.html

              1. re: Smachnoho
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                onrushpam RE: Smachnoho Dec 17, 2009 05:03 PM

                I've had Wedgewood's Stonehenge Midwinter White for 20+ years and love it. But, I am in desparate need of replacement pieces and it is now very dear. So, I'm thinking of putting the remainder of what I have up on Ebay and buying something new. Unfortunately, I can't find anything I like as well!

                I use it with a largish collection of Portmeirion Botanic Garden serving pieces.

                1. re: onrushpam
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                  foiegras RE: onrushpam Dec 17, 2009 05:49 PM

                  I Googled pictures & I like that mix! Unfortunately finding something else I like is never a problem for me ... I guess I'm very good at seeking and finding :D If you have a local version of Replacements, that's great for scouting new patterns. I think if you love it, though, you should see if you can't find some good prices. I have bought a number of patterns piece by piece, and when I've balked at the price of something, there's almost always a better way (unless it's super rare, in which case you take what you can get).

                  I have service for 9 in Fire-King jadite Shell (http://www.collectoronline.com/10448/...), but I balked at $75 at the time for the very plain clear glass cover/jadite bottom butter dish. I ended up finding the bottom for $7.50 at an antique mall--the dealer had no idea what the piece was--and the top when I helped clear out Great-Aunt Helen's kitchen. So you never know ...

                  I have some Portmeirion Starfire plates I use for everyday: http://www.chinaetc.co.uk/portmeirion...

                  They're beautiful, but they have surface texture so your fork kind of scrapes along it in not the best way ... I try to serve just things like sandwiches on them, but don't always succeed.

                2. re: Smachnoho
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                  Jane917 RE: Smachnoho Dec 18, 2009 05:02 PM

                  I used to have Arabia Artica (or was is Arctica) and loved it! Now one of the kids has it, and I just might steal it back one day. Do they still make it?

                  1. re: Jane917
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                    foiegras RE: Jane917 Dec 18, 2009 06:29 PM

                    According to Replacements, Arctica is an active pattern: http://www.replacements.com/webquote/...

                    I'm definitely seeing a marked preference for white! I wonder if that's a foodie thing, or if we are representative of the general population??

            2. ms. clicquot RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 05:06 PM

              I have three sets - I'm a bit of a dinnerware junkie too!

              My everyday dishes are Denby in Reflex Blue. I got them for my wedding and they are incredibly solid. I have only broken one dish in five years and none have chipped. Unfortunately, the pattern has been discontinued but it's easy to find pieces to mix and match with them. I have some Portuguese bowls and IKEA cappucino mugs that go with them perfectly.

              I recently acquired a set of Maxwell Williams white basics. I don't know yet how durable they are but so far so good. They look great and really showcase food nicely.

              Finally, I inherited a full set of Royal Doulton dishes from a great aunt. I believe they're from the 60's and are quite formal (white with olive green and gold trim). They get used once a year for Christmas but seem to be very durable. I even wash them in the dishwasher with no ill effects.

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                Beckyleach RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 09:03 PM

                I cycle in and out. Right now, we're using an older Mikasa called Bluebell. I got it at the Goodwill (!!) but it's actually fairly nice stuff. Some chips on it when I got it, but nothing's chipped in the decade I've had it....

                AND Polish Pottery of many varied patterns. I LOVE this stuff: it's strong, durable, fun, and you can add to it endlessly. I've bought cheap (at TJ Maxx) and fancy (from speciality shops) but aside from the artistic quality of the designs, there seems to be no difference in durability. It comes out of the dishwasher looking new.

                I've got some very cool (eight place settings) Monterey Art Pottery from California--4 in speckled pink, and 4 in speckled turquoise--and a lot of serving dishes, but I don't use this frequently as it has to be hand-washed. And I've got service for 8 in old Fiestaware, which likewise is used for mainly special occasions.

                Add to that our Wedgwood "Chinese Flowers" bone china, some fako-Italian (made in China) stoneware from J.C. Penney's years ago (love the design but it's chipping away), and a bunch of pink and blue melmac, and some jadite Firestone, and that's what we choose from at the moment.

                1. tanuki soup RE: foiegras Dec 17, 2009 09:32 PM

                  I use Corelle square pure white dishes and Duralex Picardie glasses. How Bohemian is that?!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tanuki soup
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                    foiegras RE: tanuki soup Dec 18, 2009 08:05 AM

                    I see your glass was designed about 1927--no wonder I like it! I have some Deco Libbey stemware that I really like. It's a numbered pattern--I'll have to look it up. But the stems are stacks of satin cubes--varying numbers depending on whether it's ice tea, water, or sherbet/champagne saucer.

                    I grew up with Corelle, but square white sounds *much* better than the gold flower & butterfly pattern mom had (and still has, that stuff would survive a nuclear blast) ... The only piece that kept breaking was the vegetable bowl. But I've seen a baby hurl a cup from a high chair to a cement floor, and the cup survived ... not every time, but sometimes ;)

                    My favorite dinnerware of all that I haven't mentioned yet has square plates--Homer Laughlin English Garden, made in 1933 only, and consequently rare. The plates, bowls, etc. are square (or rectangular, for serving pieces) with scalloped corners. It's on the Century blank, vellum finish, and is in amazingly great shape.

                    I've had far better luck with my vintage dishes holding up than the stuff I've bought new. Now perhaps there were many guinea pigs like me, breaking all the crummy dishes of the past ... but somehow I think we've also developed a talent for making (expensive) crap.

                    I have some vintage napkins with drawnwork and cross-stitch flowers that go very well with the English Garden.

                    1. re: foiegras
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                      Beckyleach RE: foiegras Dec 18, 2009 09:25 AM

                      The Mikasa Bluebell (Continental) also has square plates, which is a nice change of pace.

                  2. j
                    Jack_ RE: foiegras Dec 18, 2009 05:39 AM

                    I have some Arcopal "Gastronomie" that I bought at a restaurant bankruptcy sale. Each place setting include round plate, oval plate, wide rim soup bowel, coffee cup and saucer, demitasse cup and saucer and bread plate. The stuff looks nice and is darned near indestructible

                    I also have some Mikasa fine china, just plain off white

                     
                    1. Soop RE: foiegras Dec 18, 2009 05:48 AM

                      I have some stuff I got from an English supermarket (Sainsbury's). It's all plain white, and I think it was £10 for 4 bowls, 4 small plates, 4 dinner plates and 4 mugs.

                      They're not amazing (a few have chipped somehow after about a year) but I like the fact that they're plain white, and that if anything breaks a replacement is cheap and readily available.

                      1. w
                        wattacetti RE: foiegras Dec 18, 2009 10:28 AM

                        I like straight white and have Maxwell & Williams Cashmere and Fortessa Fortaluxe SuperWhite. These are however being slowly supplemented/replaced by pieces from Porcelaines Bousquet.

                        Also a variety of Japanese pieces to supplement when making specific things.

                        Forgot to rate: both the M&W and Fortessa hold up very well, though the Fortessa pieces are thicker. They're only being replaced because I like the Bousquet's look better for certain pieces and shapes.

                        1. tim irvine RE: foiegras Dec 18, 2009 03:30 PM

                          Basic food service off white for everyday. I am sick of finding the new "it" pattern only when I go in to replace a broken piece that they no longer carry that line/style/pattern/whatever. That is the reason I will never buy anything like that from W-S or (same folks) PB. For everyday give me stuff that is sturdy and easy to match at any restaurant supply store.

                          Two choices for fancy: Aynsley Pembroke and a lot of very old blue and white Canton I inherited. Both are beautiful. The Aynsley has had some glaze issues. The blue and white is still pristine except for a few chips after over a hundred years of frequent use. It probably has some hideously poisonous glaze.

                          I will admit to having been tempted by some Deruta and by Quimper but boast to having never succumbed!

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                            Normandie RE: foiegras Dec 20, 2009 07:07 AM

                            First of all, on the "everyday" side of the spectrum I have a few sets of no-name stoneware. One has a Mediterranean type pattern and I use that for barbecues and outside functions. Our everyday dishes are called Lutece and feature a red-and-cream floral pattern. Very cheerful on a cold winter's night. The only problem is that all these sets are prone to chipping.

                            I have tons of blue-and-white, various sets and type, from Johnson Brothers and Meakin ironstone, etc., to a Tiffany pattern, some Dutch delft and a couple of Spode patterns such as Geranium and Blue Willow. Some I bought, but all my friends caught on and through the years have added to my collection for my birthdays, Christmases, etc. So I'm fortunate enough to have plenty of serving pieces, too. I love all my blue-and-white, from the most humble pieces to the most storied pattern. Sometimes I mix-and-match to set the dining table and sometimes I just use one pattern, depending on the formality of the occasion. The ironstone pieces will chip and craze with time, but of course the china pieces are durable and easy to care for.

                            My own china pattern is Wedgwood's Oberon. I love the stuff. The accent pieces are patterned with a versatile palette in warm colors, but the dinner plates have more of an art deco, restrained border and white centers. Oberon is dishwasher safe and so far nicely chip-and-breakage resistant. The only demerit I see to the pattern is that it doesn't offer a wide range of serving pieces, beyond the basics, but I see that's sort of become the norm with today's china.

                            Lastly, I have several dessert sets of plates and coffee cups or mugs, including a Lynn Chase pattern, a beautiful set from Bavarian china my parents got as a wedding gift, and a set my grandmother left for me.

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