Using the “Good” china
Do you have things in your home that are too “good” to use? For example, you might have some wedding china that you use only when you have “company”. Or maybe you have a special set of dishes that you only use at certain holidays?
I did. We had these things in my childhood home and I had started the same ritual saving in my own home. My family has some Southern roots, with some of the older traditions around weddings. So, when I was engaged, we spent weeks trying to find a formal china pattern we liked. After endlessly browsing catalogs and stores, my now-husband was the person who found the perfect pattern, in a tiny Lenox china outlet store in the Pennsylvania countryside. Jackpot!
We put the pattern on our registry and hoped for the best. Not every one likes to buy bone china dish sets anymore, since the concept of formal dinner parties has kinda gone the way of Mrs. Cleaver mopping the floor while wearing a pretty dress, heels and pearls. However, we had many wedding guests jump on the china bandwagon. (Hmm. There’s a noisy image.)
So, when we returned from our honeymoon, we unwrapped all the china gifts, wrote all the appropriate thank you notes and packed all the lovely, new china away into a dark china cabinet for the next few years.
Well, that is the real tradition, isn’t it?
Enter my great aunt Millie, who was in her ’90’s at the time. In a casual conversation with my mom about the secret to aging happily, she said that when she turned 60, she started using her formal china as her every day china because, “I’m good enough for the good stuff!”
Such a simple concept, but so right! What were we hoarding all of this nice china for anyway? For the “special” meals? Thanksgiving? Once a year? So by the time we have reached Millie’s age (should we all be so lucky), we will have used this china for only sixty meals? That does sound kinda crazy.
My mom went home and put all of her every day china in a garage sale. My dad adjusted to the new set up after a few variations of, “How can I eat a tuna sandwich off of the good china?!” At the end of the day, dishes are designed to be eaten off of regularly.
Now I am a convert to the “good” china, too. I do still have my every day china, because, believe me, this woman needs her microwave. (Fine bone china + microwave = very expensive shards. Don’t try this at home.) But I really enjoy using and seeing my formal china around the house. Sometimes I put a bunch or oranges in a vegetable serving bowl and put it out on the counter, other times we try out new recipes on the dinner plates. Whatever the mood, we are enjoying our china now. And so can you. You are “good”. Now. Life is too short. Dig through your cupboards and pull out the good stuff. Enjoy!