A couple years ago I had a funny blog post on another webpage. I wanted to reshare it here because it is referenced in my next blog post about a family tradition we had in the home of my childhood. You should definitely get out your fine china and eat on it after you read this.
I have very fond memories of holiday dinners growing up. The food. My small family (my mom, my dad, my brother, my Grandma, Granddad, and me). The china.
Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinner was served on my mother’s finest dishes. She didn’t have one set but nearly three… She had her set rimmed in silver, and my Grandmother’s set rimmed in gold. My favorite set were these red glass dishes but they weren’t a full set so the only thing they were used for (and still are) is for serving homemade chocolate pudding.
When my husband and I were engaged, and putting stuff on our registry, both of our mother’s pressed us to pick out a set of formal dishes. To me this was slightly ridiculous. I would be inheriting, someday, a set or more of dishes I had fond memories of and now I had to get another set?
I remember one reason was because maybe one set wouldn’t be enough. We would need more. When we’re entertaining guests.
Okay. Let me take a step back here and evaluate middle-class America. Everyone likes to point and judge when people in low class of our county spend what little money they have on things they don’t need or could do without… Like cell phones. Expensive shoes. Fancy cars. Middle class, we are no different. Who is this china for, exactly? The Rockefellers? When are they coming over to eat on my dishes?
I guess I don’t understand the formality in dishes in my middle-class home. Now, I’m not knocking my home. I love my home. It’s smallish. It’s perfect. I knew it was for me the second we walked in the door… but this house doesn’t say “fine china.” Currently all this house says is “ignore the mess (smell, chaos, loudness), there are small children at play here.”
The point of a meal of that magnitude or size must be a big deal. Like our first Thanksgiving meal, here. Both of our families all huddled between three tables eating the best meal of the year. Do you know what we ate on? Paper plates. Do you know why? The hassle of unpacking said dishes and hand washing all of them. Plus there was a worry of breaking a dish.
The paper plates didn’t diminish the meal one bit. I doubt anyone else would even remember the paper plates. I just do because it was in my home.
I don’t know. Ever since we registered for these expensive suckers, I have a love/hate relationship with them. Yes, they are gorgeous. Yes, I remember us actually enjoying picking out our set. However, the idea of them is pretentious. Rich people eat on fine china daily… Why do we afford for ourselves this flatware that we only use a few times a year?
All the same, just tonight I unpacked our china again and put it in it’s own cabinet (because what good is fine china when it’s not displayed?). When is a Rockefeller coming to dinner? I’m ready.