Why I’m using the good dishes (and you should too)


In the last decade I moved eight times, the last several with a cardboard box labeled “my precious bowls” riding beside me in the front seat. You can bet that when brothers, dads, and friends saw that box in the car, they were happy to let someone else unload it, lest they face the wrath if something untoward happened to the contents.

I bought the bowls as a newlywed because they were delicious eye candy. Not delicate but still breakable, I placed them on a shelf in our townhouse kitchen—the top shelf, just a foot or so below the ceiling.

We never used them. They were just pretty, and I was probably the only one who noticed. Indeed, they became precious in every sense of the word—too good for any of us to use.

But a few years back, my parents gave me four settings of tangerine Fiestaware, which elicited all sorts of whoops and hollering, and after we moved into our current house, I really needed to use them; I had a whole wall of glass-front cabinets demanding pretty dishes. It was the first time my Fiestaware had ever been out of the box.

My precious bowls got added to the cupboard too—top shelf again, where I hoped no one would use them.

Problem is, I only had seven bowls “okay” to use—you know, boring cream-colored ceramic with chips from nearly a decade of use (yes, they were from my bridal shower). So the first time all the old standbys were dirty and marinating in the dishwasher together, my husband reached for one of my precious bowls and un-ceremoniously used it for cereal.

I decided I better bite my tongue because we’d just moved into the house of my dreams (not his), and I knew he couldn’t take one more badgering word from me. Besides, it was just a bowl. Right?

Right. Those bowls have continued to make appearances for late-night ice cream and early morning cereal, and not a one has broken. I’ve even used them multiple times for parties.

Not too long ago, my parents bought me another set of Fiestaware—this time in luscious shamrock. When I got them home I realized I had a problem: I had run out of cupboard space for dishes. Either the new lovelies or my old reliables had to go.

So the thrift store received a basket of white CorningWare and a set of those old dingy bowls—the dishes I always reached for when it was dinnertime, the ugly ones outshined by the patchwork hues in my cabinets but that I continued to use anyway. And now, I’m required to use the good dishes. All the time.

No, I’m not punishing myself. I’m deciding to use the good dishes. I’m deciding the everyday is important enough for precious bowls, and that eating mac ‘n’ cheese on Fiestaware makes the meal almost seem important. Because really, the most important things are happening everyday with the people who live right under this roof. And as the old adage goes, “All you have is everyday.”

And anyway, nothing has broken. Yet. •

One thought

  1. I love your colorful bowls and the way you decorate. Maybe an interior design career is in your future? I’m copying your wall dish display from a few posts back for my dining room. Love it!


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