Thursday, August 26, 2010

Step Up To The Plate

What is the single guy to do? Stocking dishes for a new apartment or home for a guy can be a bit of a challenge. Maybe he's got his parents' cast-offs or has a girlfriend who takes him to a "chain home store" to get him set up. But then he could be stuck with someone else's taste and/or personality when all he really wants is something that looks cool, won't break, and won't set him back a lot of cash. There is something out there for him: Buffalo China.

This is the classic all-white dinnerware that's been revived and sold through outlets like Bed, Bath and Beyond. The look is vintage without being "granny", and there is heft to these dishes that speak to their durability. On a practical note, the dishes are made of porcelain, which is why they resist chipping and breaking (these were the workhorse dishes for diners, hotels, and railroads all over the US for most of the last century, after all) and are microwave and dishwasher safe - in other words: low maintenance, but with a certain style.

These come in complete sets or it's easy to find retailers that sell the dishes a la cart in sets of four (four dinner plates or four bowls, for example, or mugs instead of cups and saucers, or vice-versa, whatever might be needed).

So for less than a hundred bucks, a guy can have a great set of dishes that his friends can't embarrass him about, and can still host a dinner date in his own home, even if the food is takeout.


  1. Bob,
    We have a set of china from Crate and Barrel that was imported from Italy. I'm sure the pieces are "microwave safe" but, over the years, it's become apparent that the microwave induces a slow death for them. Many now spider-web fractures throughout. What kind of tableware is truly "microwave safe". Stoneware?

    Your Pledge Bro,

  2. Hey Dan,
    After a quick google search, it's apparent that the culprit may be the glaze. Often times, there are metals like lead in glaze that can absorb the microwaves which heats the plate up, and then as the it cools you get that "crazing" or fine cracks in the plates. Here is a blurb from "Stoneware dinnerware can withstand the microwave oven, but once it is heated, contact with cool or wet surfaces can cause it to crack Avoid using stoneware under microwave browning elements because they can damage the dish." The Buffalo China plates I wrote about are porcelain WITHOUT an applied design (meaning there is no dye in the glazing process) and therefore can withstand a microwave. To be safe rather than sorry I'd be cautious of putting any colored plates or plates with painted designs in a mircowave. Hope that helps!

  3. That makes sense. My parents have an ancient set of stoneware, can't remember the brand, in basic white with an ever-so-thin blue edge. No crazing in 30 years of microwave use. Thanks, now I know what to do for the next set.