Please pick out dishes and flatware for me
November 12, 2010 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Please pick out some dishware and flatware for me. I am overwhelmed and you all are better at this than me.

We're moving. Our combined sets of plates don't match and are chipped. Our flatware is cheap and my partner dislikes it. So why move it across the country?

- SET VS. SINGLES: We'd want a set that we could add bowls and dinner plates to but we don't need mugs! Mugs in the sets suck anyway. [I think that we'd want 8 bowls, 8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates - but maybe 12 is smarter?]
- I want stuff that will last for awhile.
- Pretty basic (i.e. won't scream 2011 in 2015 because it is a fashionable color or design - but if it is really cool, I'm open.)
- But color is good. White plates bore me.
- We also have a 2 year old, so nothing too fragile.
- Dishwasher safe.
- If it was on sale or affordable, that'd be good.

We have some of these bowls in some mixed primary colors and like them.

Obvious venues: Crate and Barrel/CB2, Target, Amazon, World Market/Cost Plus, Overstock. [I'd probably prefer to buy this online.]

tl;dr: Please recommend your favorite dishes and flatware and/or warn me that particular brands suck. A long list of links would be fantastic. Thank you!
posted by k8t to Home & Garden (61 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I love corelle. LOVE. Lots of people hate it because it's light and doesn't seem as "fancy" as some dinnerware, but... it's light and practically unbreakable (not actually unbreakable, of course, but I've dropped them enough...) and microwave safe and dishwasher safe and basically rules. I have some of the square ones, but there are a lot of options on their site.
posted by brainmouse at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2010

I'm going to second Corelle. Lightweight, strong, inexpensive, and the patterns have come a long way since the 70s.
posted by hijinx at 9:46 AM on November 12, 2010

I love love love love the tableware from Heath Ceramics. When I decide to grow up and get real matched grownup plates, I will get them from Heath.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:48 AM on November 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

I word of caution before buying online. One of the most important parts about flatware is the weight and balance in the hand, so even if you ultimately buy online, try to visit the actual item in person first to make sure it has the feel you want.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:48 AM on November 12, 2010

I don't think you can beat Correll for price and durability. My mom's Correll has stood the test of five kids and 14 grand kids. Ours is holding up to the toddler quite well. We have plain white, but they've got all kinds. Check out the open stock section for deals. But you can often get deals on sets at places like Kohls. I like this one.

They also sell flatware sets. I like this. But it depends on your style, and what dishes you choose. Sets are generally also on big sale at Macys and Khols.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2010

Corelle. My bad :)
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: Does Macy's sell Corelle so that I can touch it?
posted by k8t at 9:53 AM on November 12, 2010

I heart Corelle. Mine came from Target. But I am stunned that no one has yet mentioned Fiestaware (so much so that I just did a ctrl+F to be sure).
posted by kat518 at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

Parent to toddler here. We love our Duralex tempered glass dishes, purchased at Katom (warning: man, are they slow at delivery). Get 12.
posted by rabidsegue at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: Any thoughts on Fiestaware?
posted by k8t at 9:55 AM on November 12, 2010

Macy's does not sell Corelle. Discount stores or J.C. Penney should have it.
posted by jgirl at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: Jinx kat518.
posted by k8t at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2010

I have Fiestaware dinner plates in assorted shades of green and yellow and they hold my food exceptionally well. I do not particularly like the shapes of the other pieces in the set and I don't want greengreengreen everything, so I have mix and match bowls/cups/salad plates, but the sets ARE available and this does offer the option of adding colors while maintaining consistent shapes.

Oh yeah, Corelle is decent good too, I grew up using that. IDK if Macy's has Corelle, but I think Wal-Mart does.

Flatware I like: this set by Oneida.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2010

We've got a set of IKEA 365 dishes. We've got white, but they come in other colors. Totally basic, and a set includes six settings of bowls, salad plates and large plates. Buy 2 and you've got 12. Had them for a couple years, no issues so far.

For more fancy stuff, we just recently got a six serving set of the Classic Century collection from Crate & Barrel. You can buy it individually or per place setting, with a couple varieties on combinations of pieces. We got the bowls, mugs, salad plates and large plates. They're kind of a cream color (and only come in that color), but the fun part of them is that they're very slightly not circular.
posted by LionIndex at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Macy's has a style quiz, for future readers.
posted by k8t at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2010

Macy's does not sell Corelle. Discount stores or J.C. Penney should have it.

Pfaltzgraff has been offshored and the pieces I've gotten since then are inferior to the older stuff made in the U.S. Very inferior.

I'd go with Fiestaware. Macy's and Penney's both have it. They each have colors exclusive to them, I believe.
posted by jgirl at 10:00 AM on November 12, 2010

I had Corelle as a kid. My mom still swears by it.

I have Fiestaware now. It's been shockingly resilient, and I like that I can just add random colors and it looks like I meant to do it.

When I was 16, I asked for Oneida silverware for Christmas. 16 years later, I still appreciate that I picked out such classic silverware.
posted by Zophi at 10:02 AM on November 12, 2010

I should add - I've never broken a Fiestaware anything, and I do not live in a gentle household. It's a lot thicker than Corelle and I think would be less shardy if broken. It's not highbrow elegant stuff though.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:03 AM on November 12, 2010

We have heath. Its great. Heavy, well made, etc... maybe a bit pricy
posted by JPD at 10:05 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: I don't really like any of the Corelle patterns.

Any suggestions on which Fiestaware bowls/plates to get?
posted by k8t at 10:06 AM on November 12, 2010

Kohls also carries Fiestaware. I have a set of white Fiesta from my wedding registry.. 20 years ago. Has held up really well, though I don't have kids. However, I should point out that years of silverware use have marred the plates and bowls with silvery lines, which I can't scrub off. I did buy some spare plates in other colors a few years ago and those have not shown the marking problem. Not sure if it's a problem with age/use or manufacture.
posted by sarajane at 10:07 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: And where's the best place to buy Fiestaware?
posted by k8t at 10:09 AM on November 12, 2010

Any suggestions on which Fiestaware bowls/plates to get?

Do you mean what patterns? There are no patterns, just colors. Look at the Macy's or Penney's websites to see the selections before you go to a store.
posted by jgirl at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2010

Here's the other thing about Corelle: When it breaks, it REALLY breaks. I broke a plate like that maybe 10 years ago and I still feel a little bit of PTSD just walking near my parents' dishwasher.
posted by bcwinters at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2010 [4 favorites]

I was surprised that nobody had mentioned Fiestaware until you did. I grew up in West Virginia, where the company that manufactures it resides. So pretty much everybody I knew had Fiestaware growing up, and everyone has heirloom sets passed down from their grandmas. It's really durable, brightly colored, and widely available. You can go for matching color sets (all green) or random mismatches of colors and they look great either way. You can buy a set or you can just buy one at a time. You can often find them in estate sales or on ebay, though they can get fairly expensive if you deal with the old stuff. I buy most Fiestaware (my boyfriend's family are Fiestaware fiends) on Amazon or at Macy's. Amazon is fairly cheap, and if you catch Macy's during a good sale, they can be too.

I had Corelle plates in college and didn't like them at all - they felt really thin to me. But it might be because I was used to the thick Fiesta plates.
posted by kerning at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: @jgirl I mean, which of these types of bowls are good? Which of these types of plates?
posted by k8t at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2010

Yeah, we had Corelle, too. When it breaks, it goes into hundreds of teeny tiny pieces that are very hard to see. You could step on one years after you drop the item. I will say that the patterns are less dorky than those first ones that you can still see in just about any corporate kitchen sink. And, they are made in my home state of New York!
posted by jgirl at 10:15 AM on November 12, 2010

Response by poster: And sorry for threadsitting, but any suggestions for a 2 color Fiesta combo?
posted by k8t at 10:15 AM on November 12, 2010

On preview: Speaking of bowls - when you buy the place setting, it comes with a flat bowl that they refer to as a 'cereal bowl' - I am not a fan of this bowl to use for cereal, as it's sort of flat on the bottom and has straight sides. If you like sloping sides, try the 'gusto bowl' or the 'chili bowl.'
posted by kerning at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2010

I just bought the 24 oz bowls, and they are awesome. I have a bunch of the 19 oz and they are great too.
posted by Zophi at 10:16 AM on November 12, 2010

Fiestaware seems to almost always be on sale at our local Younkers and Dillards. I bet any Macys/Penneys/whatever will be the same.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:17 AM on November 12, 2010

@jgirl I mean, which of these types of bowls are good? Which of these types of plates?

That's really based on your own needs and preferences.
posted by jgirl at 10:17 AM on November 12, 2010

As for color, I would want red! Or aqua and yellow or the cream that Macy's has. (I love my 40s and 50s Lu-Ray pastel green, which is much more durable at its age than made-in-China Pfaltzgraff a few years old.)

Again, it's your own preference that should guide you.
posted by jgirl at 10:22 AM on November 12, 2010

For color inspiration, look in your closet.
posted by jgirl at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2010

Fiestaware is also pretty awesome, and union made in the USA, if that sort of thing matters to you. My folks had fiestaware my entire childhood, and it was super durable and has wonderful bright colors.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I really like the Crate and Barrel line. They seem more modern than the Fiestaware - it's just my own personal aesthetic sense. If you like them, definitely go for it! But the C&B stuff is fairly inexpensive, has nice lines, and you can keep adding to it for years. It's white but it'll be stylish for a long time, and makes the food itself pop.

We have Heath, and it makes me ridiculously happy to use the settings, but it's not really affordable to build out 6-8 table settings especially in the middle of a big move!

It's worth it to spend a bit more on silverware. Cheap stuff feels light, scratches easily and isn't pleasant to hold or use. Go middle of the range and you'll be happier in the long run. Some good ideas here.
posted by barnone at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2010

Personally I prefer deeper bowls to flatter bowls. But I have flatter bowls (soup plates) because I don't feel like replacing mine right now.

I strongly prefer porcelain dishes to stoneware; it's much sturdier. And prices are not all that different. But I have stoneware right now.

When I get off my ass and buy some new plates, I'll probably buy the Ikea 365 set - my last roommate had those and I loved them. Simple, easy, cheap. I have the Ikea 365 flatware too.
posted by mskyle at 10:28 AM on November 12, 2010

My fiesta 3-color combo is shamrock, lemongrass, sunflower. #s 4, 12, 13 in this. That is not a 2-color combo, however. White and ivory might be nice, or black and purple, or medium blue and light blue, or red, tangerine, yellow if you want brightbright. I kinda like colors that are close to each other. Any big store that sells this stuff will have most of the colors sitting out somewhere so you can compare - as usual, the colors you see online may not be exactly what you get IRL.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:28 AM on November 12, 2010

I love my Fiesta ware. I've always mixed and matched colors - right now, it's mostly cobalt blue, sunflower yellow, and some cinnebar. I had juniper, but it's retired, and I've got most of the dishes in it packed up, though I do still use the serving pieces. I'm currently lusting after the lemongrass color.

Fiesta ware is very sturdy - most of my broken pieces have been the fault of the damn dog pulling things off of tables and counters. When it has broken, it has not shattered - there are usually just a couple of large pieces. It is also dishwasher and microwave safe - I've even put platters in the oven on lower temps for warming and such - and not ridiculously expensive. It is also still made in the USA

We got our original place settings - and we did go with 12 - at Macy's (then The Bon Marche) after we got married. It often goes on sale there. You can buy sets or individual pieces. I tend to buy replacement pieces through, but that's because I hate going into stores (and that shit gets heavy) and the prices are comparable. Anyway, HIGHLY recommend.

As for flatware, I have to agree that you need to go out and really just check out pieces. How it feels in your hand is important. I have a set of Dansk flatware that I bought about 12 years ago, and it's held up well, but it's just kind of eh. I'd definitely prefer something heavier.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2010

I have a set of the Fiestaware in tangerine (orange). I originally picked Fiestaware on my registry because I thought I'd mix and match, but ended up registering for five-piece sets so have all one color currently. Plus I can't figure out what other color to add, though some day I probably will add more. I'd have to agree the mugs aren't the greatest shape (the handle make them a little hard to hold, especially filled with really hot coffee). But I kind of like the monochrome look of my dishes and mugs currently after so many years of mis-matched plates and bowls along with a crapload of tourist mugs in all shapes and sizes. Ours were from Macys. You will probably figure out a good color combo and dish shapes/sizes if you can find a place to go check them out in person.
posted by JenMarie at 10:50 AM on November 12, 2010

I inherited my Grandmothers Fiestaware - complete with radioactive red plates. It's gorgeous. If you get the Fiesta, I recommend that you get each place setting in its own color. I have enough place settings to set the table in one color or multiple colors. The multiple color settings look beautiful. I can't attest to the new Fiesta holding up well, but the old stuff wears like iron. You'd have to really try to break it.

I'm not a fan of Corelle. They just feel wrong to me, but you may love them. We have two sets of everyday plates Pfaltzgraff (all white) and a set of stoneware that has blue plates, green salad plates and peach bowls. I gave you the link to Pfaltzgraff because I really like the heft of their dishes. You may find a patterned one that you like.

After hunting high and low, we got AWESOME flatware at Big Lots. Totally random, and I wish we'd have purchased a place setting for 20 instead of 12. One just got gnawed in the disposal...I'm so bummed.
posted by 26.2 at 10:51 AM on November 12, 2010

However, I should point out that years of silverware use have marred the plates and bowls with silvery lines, which I can't scrub off.

Barkeeper's Friend or Bon Ami actually works to get rid of these marks! Obviously test on the underside of the plate to make sure it doesn't make it worse, but it worked well for me.
posted by barnone at 10:53 AM on November 12, 2010

As far as serving pieces and completers, Pfaltzgraff used to recommend one group of those for every four people.
posted by jgirl at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2010

I have Crate and Barrel's Mix flatware (as does my mother!). I really like it a lot. It's clean (not froofy), has good heft, and is sold open stock so you can get what pieces you want and not get what you don't want, or as a set if you like to do things that way.

I have everything except the coffee spoons, and it all gets used regularly. (I even have the espresso spoons, which don't get used much for espresso, but they're a huge favorite around the house for my kids.)

In fact, this is a good reminder that I want to complete my set of flatware out to 12 of everything. Or maybe 16.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:00 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

We have Crate and Barrel's Strand flatware, and it has held up marvelously for the last 11 or 12 years of constant use, dishwasher, occasional dropping into the garbage disposal by the Largely Mythological Husband.

I would get Fiestaware and then find mugs in complementary colors/patterns, because the Fiestaware mugs are really un-ergonomic. Red and blue are often the easiest to match.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2010

A note on Ikea, most likely for future readers: a lot of their dishes are not microwave safe. Check to be sure before you buy.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:33 AM on November 12, 2010

I had to log in from work to second/third/fourth Fiestaware. There are a lot of great colors (here's a handy chart) and HLC is always adding more. The round ringed pattern is classic, and they recently introduced square-ish place settings, too.

It's a shame you don't live in the east, or I'd recommend an antique mall in Adamstown, PA that carries seconds the booth holder buys from the factory outlet in West Virginia and carts over here to resell. The best place to buy is whatever department store has it on sale. Kohls often has 30 and 40% off, as do most of the other department stores that carry it.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:57 AM on November 12, 2010

I have fiestaware and you should be aware of two things:

1. The yellow and sometimes the green scratch somewhat easily. The bowls and plates of these two colors have scratches that look like gray lines. However, we have been using them every day for the last 12 years and they are all in really good condition otherwise.

2. I tried to break one once. I was in a VERY. BAD. MOOD. I lifted a dinner plate up over my head and threw it to the linoleum floor. It did not even chip. It rolled like a penny and plopped to a stop. I was no longer in quite such a bad mood....
posted by Sophie1 at 12:17 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and 2nding Sidhedevil regarding the mugs. Fiestaware mugs suck.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:18 PM on November 12, 2010

I used to think white was boring, but have come 'round to having lots of white, and can add color with table linens, chargers, colored glassware, etc. Because of this, I only have white to recommend, so skip this if you're dead-set. Our everyday dinnerware is this, and it's indestructible. Our nice china is this (wicked expensive - wedding gift) and our flatware is this. It is positively gorgeous, heavy wonderful flatware.

While I understand the desire to shop online, it would be personally tough for me, as I like to pick up, touch, hold, and otherwise examine stuff like this before I decide.
posted by ersatzkat at 12:42 PM on November 12, 2010

@jgirl I mean, which of these types of bowls are good? Which of these types of plates?

Plates: Are you satisfied with your current plates, or do they seem too big or too small for the amounts of food you typically serve at a meal? Measure your plates. If they're a good size, order the closest size of Fiestaware. If too small, order bigger. etc. I'd imagine the "dinner" plates should be good for an entree and a couple of sides, the "luncheon" plates for a sandwich and a handful of chips, and the "salad" plates for just a sandwich or a piece of pie or cake. If in doubt and dealing with a limited budget, I'd say order a set of big ("dinner") plates first since they'd be most versatile, then pick up smaller pieces later when you have a better sense of your needs.

For bowls: Serve yourself a normal-seeming portion of soup / cereal / chili / ice cream. Before eating it, scrape it into a large (2-cup) measuring cup. Level it off and read the volume. Order bowls a few ounces larger.
posted by Orinda at 1:02 PM on November 12, 2010

p.s. I was thinking about size more than shape. Shape may be a matter of personal preference but I'll point out that bowls shaped like this (shallow, sloped sides) always seem a lot easier to spill than bowls shaped like this (straight sides, wide footprint). For feeding a kid, I'd get bowls with a wide footprint, a little bit on the large side (so that a full serving of soup doesn't come up so close to the rim).
posted by Orinda at 1:11 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I muffed the second link
posted by Orinda at 1:12 PM on November 12, 2010

I dislike corelle, but that's just me. If you visit Goodwill a couple times, you can buy a set of nice china for a low price. Or post to freecycle or check Craigslist. For flatware, I have the kind with plastic handles, in both blue and green. I bought a bunch so I wouldn't worry about losing a piece or 2 at a potluck.
posted by theora55 at 2:29 PM on November 12, 2010

I don't have specific recommendations, but when it comes to flatware, the finish will last longer if a piece is 18/10 or 18/8 stainless steel rather than 18/0. The first number is chromium content, and the second number is nickel content, and it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the piece aside from the finish. The 18/0 stuff is going to be cheaper, but it doesn't hold up as well over time. I mainly know this because I have a tremendous mishmash of inherited flatware, and the pieces that seem to have survived the years still looking nice are always 18/10.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:02 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

In line with Diagonalize's comment, I wanted to recommend that you look for plates and bowls that are ovensafe. It adds a bit of freedom and flexibility to be able to toss them into the oven to reheat, cook, or keep food warm.
posted by jsturgill at 3:34 PM on November 12, 2010

Flatware: I've been very happy with Gorham Studio.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2010

My boyfriend and I got this bamboo flatware from Target a few years ago, and we love it. It still looks brand new (with no special treatment whatsoever), and has a really nice weight in your hand - doesn't feel cheap even though it kind of is.

For dinnerware, I went through a mad frenzy of researching EVERYTHING a few months ago, and my absolute favorites are Alex Marshall's ceramics (scroll down for the colors, they're gorgeous), and Jadite, which would be the most perfect thing ever if only you didn't have to scout around eBay for a full set.
posted by ella wren at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2010

I nth Fiestaware and also suggest Noritake Colorwave, which I recently got and really like. I got a combo of 4 different colors, or you could just go with one color! It's cheap, pretty, durable (so far... I haven't had it for long but read lots of reviews before choosing it), readily available, etc etc etc!
posted by hansbrough at 4:31 PM on November 12, 2010

Another vote for Fiestaware. I use the 19 oz. bowls as cereal/soup/ice cream bowls. They're on the large-ish size (7 in. across, 2 in. deep), but I find them handier (and prettier!) than the smaller sloped bowls.

I have a multi-colour set, but find turquoise and persimmon look really good together in a bright, gaudy way.

As for purchasing, there are lots of good ideas above. Also Replacements sells single pieces of Fiestaware. Once in a while discount places like Ross, Garden Ridge, etc. will have some. Garden Ridge is wear I stocked up on separate pieces (it's probably a good thing they don't exist in Canada).
posted by deborah at 4:33 PM on November 12, 2010

Last Christmas and the one before it I finally bit the bullet (we were getting married) and got us proper dishes. Crate and Barrel was indispensable--the stuff is chic without being so trendy it'll look dated immediately, and best of all it was smart--everything was super versatile/"hardy" (could go places like the oven, microwave, dishwasher, freezer), easy to wash (I don't know how this works exactly, but some dishes, soap just rinses right off immediately and some not so much, and everything I got from C&B is in the former camp so it takes like 5 seconds to wash something in the sink, minimizing the window of time I might chip something as I am clumsy), stackable, and sized for appropriate, not gigunda portions (this is a pet peeve of mine with newer dishware; I don't want to eat a fishbowl-sized amount of cereal or coffee in the morning). And way cheaper than I thought it would be (my super favoritest bowls, 2 or 3 styles I mixed and matched, were all like, under 3 bucks per bowl and saucer). But still unique and cute stuff--footed soup bowls, bowls with two cute sleek teacup handles on opposite sides, etc.

My personal dishware aesthetic has moved lately from trendy and colorful and funky and whatnot though to super clean white bistro-style (but gorgeous in a subtler way--in terms of shape and silhouette and weight and lip) to let the food speak for itself though, so...
posted by ifjuly at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2010

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