For many of us, growing up meant having two sets of dishes: the everyday plates and bowls that went from cupboard to table to dishwasher without a second thought, and the “good” dishes that were kept in the china cabinet and brought out for special occasions only. And, if that wasn’t the case in your home, it was probably your grandma who had fancy china stowed away, waiting for holidays and celebrations to come around.
Judging by the care that was taken to set the table, the hand wash and return the dishes to the safety of the china cabinet, it’s fair to say that the fear of having nice things sometimes outweighed the pleasure of using them.
In fact, if you’ve ever browsed antique china at an estate sale or thrift store, you can’t help but wonder how many times those pieces made it to the table. Two, three, or four times a year? No wonder they’re in such good shape! We wonder, too, if the owners of that pretty china would have used and enjoyed it more often, knowing that one day it would be stacked up on a folding table and priced to sell. To avoid possible regret later in life, we are here to say go ahead and use your good stuff!
Set it Up
It’s less common now to have two full sets of dishes, but if you already have a special set that you bought, inherited or received as a gift, you’re good to go! If you don’t have any yet, but love the look, we recommend checking thrift and antique stores or online buy-and-sell sites to start your collection.
If you’re setting out to buy china, keep in mind that vintage sets will be missing a few plates or bowls, so check with local or online sellers that specialize in selling single pieces to complete your set or keep an eye out for mix and match options (more on that later). And, remember, you don’t have to go all-in at once. Even just a couple pretty plates and a pair of teacups and saucers is enough to set up for a special breakfast for two.