Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas or just a weekend gathering. There is no better time than finding myself in the company of friends and relatives over the dinner table.
I have several good reasons for this. First, I’m able to hone my culinary skill.
Second, I love how I have control of what ingredients exactly go inside every dish that is served on the table. If I know my guest loves herbs, I can make stronger pesto for example.
Third, I love that I have control of the party theme. If there are more kids coming over, I can have a more casual setting and child-friendly theme.
I’ve had my bad days with the kids. I (painfully) learned never to take my china dinnerware sets when you are expecting half a dozen of kids to come over for dinner.
If you have gone through the nightmare that I’m talking about, Corelle Livingware is one dinnerware set that has received the most number of reviews with most of them being positive.
If the best dinnerware for everyday use is what you’re looking for, you’ve just found it. Unless you have all the time in the world to waste and go through all the hundreds of dinnerware sets that are available, this will be the safest bet.
That’s when melamine dinnerware sets are more suitable. Clearly, melamine is a little pale in comparison to china. But if selected carefully, they can make some of the best casual dinnerware for your child-friendly theme.
Do you have enough tableware collection to cater to different themes? Let’s see how you can plan your dinnerware and flatware collection so that it gives you plenty of flexibility without breaking the budget and of course, to avoid having too much that you find yourself running out of space.
Dinnerware Conondrum: What Material is Best?
With so many different materials used to make dinnerware, how do you select what will be the best dinnerware brand and type for you?
First, there is the china, bone china and porcelain. Most people are not aware of this as the difference between the three is subtle. Then there is melamine and stoneware. The last and least common material type is metal. Of these options, how do you make your pick?
Let’s start with metal as this is the easiest to rule in or out. There is only one reason why anyone would be using a metal plate or bowl. They are folks with young kids in the house.
Metal plates make the best dinnerware for everyday use, especially those families with children. This is simply because the possibility of breaking is zero.
Next is stoneware and porcelain. These two materials differ in the types of clay and firing involved. Stoneware clays are generally more opaque compared to the Kaolin clays used to make porcelain. The firing temperature of stoneware is also lower and ranges between 2100°F to 2300°F. Contrast that to the range used to make porcelain that varies between 3200°F to 3300°F.
After observing dozens of beautiful stoneware dinnerware sets and porcelain sets, I’ve developed my own simple rule of thumb. If the plate is thin, more often than not, it will be a porcelain. If the plate is thick and boasts more greyish and earth-like colors, it is a stoneware.
In addition to these common materials, there is Vitrelle®. Vitrelle is a patented innovation that is exclusive to Corelle. It is claimed to be the best chip resistant material to make the best dinnerware. It is also microwave-safe while still being lightweight.
If you are like some people who find beauty in simplicity, the best white dinnerware set might just be the perfect fit for you.
Choosing betwen porcelain and stoneware is quite easy as the two materials usually result in their own visual and aesthetic characteristic. Deciding between porcelain and melamine is IMHO, more difficult.
It is not that the difference between the two is not obvious. The difficulty is because an advantage to porcelain is a disadvantage to melamine and vice-versa.
Everyone knows when comparing between comparable melamine and porcelain sets, melamine will cost lesser than the latter. The best melamine dinnerware sets cost only a fraction of the best china dinnerware sets. But melamine is linked to harmful chemical leach that is deterimental to our health.
Instead of ruling out one option in favor of the other, my advice is always to educate yourself with the right understand and decide.
The Best Dinnerware Set: How Many and What Brand?
Aesthetic is probably the only thing that most people will consider in selecting the best dinnerware set. While aesthetic is important, knowing what the set contains is equally important.
How many you need depends on two things. The dishes that you serve and your regular party size. The defacto standard set comes with 4 pieces per serving – 1 large main dish plate, 1 small salad plate, 1 soup bowl and 1 coffee cup.
More expensive sets such as a vintagely unique dinnerware set may come with a dish serving plate (usually oval in shape), soup tureen, butter bowl and even napkin holder.
There are hundreds (or possibly thousands) of brands to choose from. But to most people, there are only 2 brands that matter the most: Corelle and Fiesta. Corelle makes the best-selling melamine dinnerware and when it comes to glass, they use their own material called Vitrelle.
Fiesta, on the other hand, is a brand manufactured by The Home Laughlin china company. It is probably the best dinnerware brand when it comes to china or porcelain.
Do You Have the Right Flatware?
The best dinnerware gives you only half of the tableware picture. A tableware collection is not complete without the best flatware set.
On whether you should be getting a set or individual fork, spoon and knife separately, it depends on your budget and again, culinary preference. Most good flatware brands offer 5 pieces of cutlery per serving – 1 knife, 2 forks and 2 spoons.
If 3 or 4 course meal is the minimum for you, you may need all the 5 pieces. Anything less, you may be better off buying the fork, knife and spoon separately as you may not really need the 2 forks and 2 spoons for each meal serving.
But of course, the safest is to stick with the set. You never know when you may need the extra pieces and you want to avoid the embarrassing occasion where you find yourself short of cutlery when your have invited your guests.
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