August 28, 2013

Dishing it Out

I have a confession...I love Corelle dishes.  I've always loved them.  They're both economical and durable and have a variety of pretty patterns.  I have had Corelle dishes ever since I was in college (a lifetime ago) after my family gave me a couple sets in the Morning Blue pattern (now considered "vintage" as, apparently, am I) one Christmas to augment the paltrey 4-piece setting in my "apartment," by which I mean "roach-infested hovel with no hot water pressure and a roll-away bed to share with the six-legged inhabitants."   Ah, the broke college years--fun times.

"Now, imbued with all the daintiness you can never hope to have for only an extra $5!"

I continued using these dishes even after I got married, though not before discovering that contrary to popular belief Corelle can and will break when it hits a hard surface in just the right spot, which will then cause it to shatter into a bajillion shards of lethal glass slivers not unlike the quills of a particularly homicidal prickle of porcupines.  A few years into the marriage I eventually switched over to the English Breakfast pattern because my husband preferred the stoneware look of the dishes he had growing up, plus he felt that my current set was too girly with all the flowers in spite of the fact that said flowers were dutifully rendered in gender-normative blue.  So instead I got him tan plates with (albeit fewer) pink flowers.  Because I'm helpful like that.

Butching up the dishes for my man...yup.

We used the English Breakfast dishes for years, even though I never really liked the tan color because it always seemed to make food look more drab somehow.
After all, food can only look so vibrant sitting on depressed-looking dinnerware, no matter how prim or prissy the design.  So eventually I became bored with them and donated them to make way for a new pattern called "Memphis."  I loved my Memphis dishes, not the least because we were actually living in Memphis at the time and can always appreciate a good inside joke.  Besides, the dishes were colorful and happy and my daughter loved them too.

At least the mug is all about the Memphis Blues...just the thing for some Blue Suede Brews.

When I was forced encouraged to move to Georgia three years ago, I brought these plates with me so I could keep a little piece of Memphis with me. Eventually, though, even the amazing Corelle begins to show wear and tear after a few years, especially with one's husband cutting food violently enough to saw plates nearly in half.  My pristine white dishes rapidly became sullied by silver gouges that made it look more like he'd been cutting his food with Sharpies than with silverware.  So I decided that with the girlie off in college, maybe it was time to get some nicer dishes and pretend to be a grownup.  (You can stop laughing now.)

I packed up the Memphis Corelle for the girlie's future apartment (because I'm such a good mom) and began stalking Kohl's sales until I ended up with a 10-piece setting of Fiestaware, any one setting of which--retail--would have cost about the same or more than a 4-piece setting of my beloved Corelle.  Still, between sales and coupons I didn't do too badly and was able to get most of the sets for around half-price.  Go, me!  Suddenly I had a rainbow of dishes in my cabinet. This seemed cool in theory, though in reality they were so much thicker than my inexpensive glass Corelle dishes that it was difficult to cram them all in the cabinets.  Then both the girlie and the husband started complaining that the dishes were too "loud," especially when they banged against the granite countertops in our new house or, God forbid, against each other.  The hubs began carving silver lines into the new plates in about 1/4 the time it took him to molest the last Corelle set and I missed my old dishes anyway so I decided enough was enough.  The time to sell the festive Fiestaware had come.

I would totally buy a Corelle set that came in rainbow colors.

Before I began posting on Craigslist, I approached a friend of mine (who has her own extensive collection of Fiestaware) to see if she'd be interested in any of it as a first-refusal sort of thing.  We agreed on an equitable used price for the dishes, which was still far less than I paid originally even with all the sale prices but which turned out to be almost the exact price for a 12-piece setting of my new dishes.  I couldn't have planned it that well if I'd tried.  I purchased my new dishes--square, this time, just to be different--and packed up the Fiestaware in the boxes to take to my friend the next time I visited.  Ironically, I later discovered that my old Memphis dishes had been packed in Fiestaware boxes.  Recycling FTW!

My new dishes aren't as festive as the Fiestaware nor as happy as the Memphis Corelle pattern, but they're nicely contemporary.  And I have to admit that the squared-off plates provide a little extra room for food that maybe doesn't lend itself as well to rounder plates (think corn-on-the-cob).  They do tend to slide around more in the dishwasher, however.  Still, the pattern is perhaps a little more dignified than those I've had previously, which for me is kind of laughable in and of itself.

Because Malaysia needs a little more Splendour?

I like my new Corelle, even if it lacks the whimsy of my previous set.  And I'm sorry that I cheated on the company with my Fiestaware dalliance.  But even without the element of whimsy, this set suits me fine because after a mere two months of use, some of the dishes have already become slightly warped as Corelle is wont to do.  So we match, my dishes and I--we're durable, we're sometimes serious and sometimes frivolous, we're not overpriced or pretentious, and we are most definitely a little on the warped side.

But at least we're rarely boring.

Warping adds character.