By : Nur Raihana
25 June 2013
A snoop around my grandfather’s kitchen the other day led me to a wonderful discovery — vintage crockery! Not only are they gorgeous, they also have so much history to them.
One piece that I found especially pretty was in a white hue, decorated with antique gold leaf prints. A matching trim lent subtle elegance and enhanced its soft ruffled edges. Another plate towards the back of the cupboard caught my eye as well. This one was smaller but no less appealing with blue florals lending a feminine, old-fashioned feel.
While the first item had a place in a relative’s eatery in the 1940s, I was told the second one was part of my late grandmother’s collection, brought out when guests came to visit the old kampong house.
My late grandmother must have known a thing or two about the value of quality crockery, because she gifted my parents a set when they moved into their first HDB flat. (It actually looks similar to the one she owned!) Thirty years later, they remain central fixtures at our dining table.
Dishing Up Your Wares
Though vintage pieces are undoubtedly beautiful, it does take time to build up a collection. For many of us who are just starting out as a new family, for practical reasons, I believe every home needs some dinnerware and serve ware. Even if you are not one to cook, you cannot really be breaking out the paper plates when friends (or gasp, the in-laws!) pop by for an unscheduled visit, can you?
There are far easier ways to get a great set — stores selling home essentials often have a huge variety of inexpensive sets and pieces waiting to be taken home. You could check out the heartland shops in your own HDB neighbourhood as well.
However, variety is a double-edged sword. When you see the options available, these might be familiar questions:
Are dessert forks necessary?
Will cutlery and dinner plates suffice?
Well no, and not really. But what you really need is in this list of entertaining essentials that will take you from everyday breakfast to festive celebrations:
We suggest 4 – 6 sets as a guide, but feel free to adjust the numbers to meet your family’s and guests’ needs.
• Dinner plates, bowls and small plates. (The smaller plates can be used to serve salads or desserts.)
• Mugs or coffee cup with saucers
• Bell-shaped goblets that will work for most beverages from water to wine and fruit punch
• Cutlery (Forks, spoons, knives, chopsticks and soup spoons)
• Place mats to protect your table top
• Serving bowls for serving soups and curries. Purchase at least two—one deep and another shallow—and play around with different shapes and sizes
• One long tray for serving items like curry puffs, otah and fruit
• Bowls for dipping sauces
Serving Up Some Tips for Starters
If you have the budget and space for only one set of dinnerware and serve ware in your kitchen, buy white. I purchased a few white serving plates for my best friend as a housewarming gift for her new HDB flat, and she was more than delighted! I love white pieces because they are perfect as a starting base. You can mix them with patterns, or when put together with another colour, create an entirely different look.
Furthermore, food just seems to pop better against white place settings. Need convincing? Just take a look at the next few restaurants you visit. Why do you think those Insta-food shots look so appetising and delicious?
Also, because white dinnerware and server ware are so timeless and versatile, they will fit seamlessly with any home design scheme — from the modern and edgy to the eclectic and the unusual. After all, you don’t want to have to redecorate your home because your dinner plates don’t gel with the new scheme.
That said, remember to buy dinnerware and serve ware that you love, because of how often you will be using them. Lastly, no matter what colour, pattern, shape or size you eventually decide to purchase them in, buy within your budget so they are easy to replace when the unexpected mishap occurs. Trust me, it’s inevitable and heartbreaking!
What are your dining table essentials? Tell us at MyNiceHome Facebook today.