Looking for plastic or wood/plastic composite dishes?
November 7, 2020 3:39 PM   Subscribe

My family is rough on dishes. So far in the past five years we have destroyed 3 sets of china dishes and at least one set of less valuable thrift store dishes.

I actually preferred when we had mismatched thrift store dishes that we ate off of, but we managed to smash most of those (ok, I should mention we are just exceptionally clumsy people I guess, not anger management types). Anyway, we were gifted about three sets of family china which were nice enough so we've been using those.

Anyway, clearly we need another solution and because of covid it is less convenient to hit the thrift store every two months to restock.

I would like some sort of dishware that is not breakable, microwavable and comes from recycled or renewable like sources---I'm really not excited about plastic dishes, but.....

Also, buying dishes is also not exciting to me, so I would love to not pay a lot.
posted by aetg to Home & Garden (20 answers total)
You might try enamelware, which is often sold for car camping/picnics due to its resilience. The enamel itself can chip or crack, but it’s harder to do than breaking ceramic dishes.

(Not microwaveable. Oops. But it can go in the toaster?)
posted by janell at 3:43 PM on November 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

The other indestructible-more-or-less is melamine, the classic of institutional dishware. Which isn’t microwaveable either.
posted by janell at 3:47 PM on November 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I probably should have mentioned that microwaveable is pretty much non-negotiable.

Ok---and another maybe relevant feature, I would really really love quieter dishes. I know that sounds crazy but the banging sounds people in this house make while doing dishes by hand is just maddening.
posted by aetg at 3:51 PM on November 7, 2020

I bought some bamboo or wheat combo dishes on Amazon that can be nuked for a minute or two. Order the larger sizes. Don’t nuke for more than 1-2 min.
posted by tilde at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

These are some bowls I have from target. No, they're not renewable/awesome in any way except being cheap, microwaveable, dishwasher-safe, and not breakable. Lightweight and quiet, too.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

Have you tried Corelle? Not fancy, and hard to break. We've gone through multiple sets of glassware but I am still using the Corelle I bought myself for my first apartment, nearly 20 years ago. I don't think we've broken a single piece, and my kids were rough on melamine.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:11 PM on November 7, 2020 [37 favorites]

So it won’t solve the quiet angle but I am also a klutz and Corelle dishes are awesome. They are widely available (Target, Macy’s, etc), often go on sale, microwave/dishwasher/oven safe, and more difficult to break than most. I.e. they have survived multiple drops by me and 8 interstate moves. They are also lightweight and relatively inexpensive. (On preview, seconding the previous comment.)
posted by eleanna at 4:14 PM on November 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

Do you have a restaurant supply shop in your locations? Because a set of heavy diner-type dishes would work. They're not completely unbreakable but they're meant to hold up to a lot of action.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:15 PM on November 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don’t like how Corelle shatters ... it does break and it scacres the crap out of me.

Maybe buy a couple plates or bowls (open stock at my grocery store) and try.
posted by tilde at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2020

There was a variety of Corelle about twice as thick and heavy as the usual stuff called Comcor, that Corning marketed to restaurants and institutional food services, mainly.

I used this pattern for years and thought they were attractive and had a very nice hand feel.
posted by jamjam at 4:59 PM on November 7, 2020 [5 favorites]

Corelle really is pretty durable, but yes, when it does break, it can be pretty dramatic.

I have a set of Miracleware plastic dishes that are indestructible. I'd probably avoid microwaving really greasy foods too hot on them, as they're the kind of soft plastic that might get stained by fats that are microwaved too hot. The ones I have aren't very rigid, you could probably fold them in half and they won't break. But they aren't as floppy as paper plates.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:39 PM on November 7, 2020

Was also going to say Corelle. My husband breaks everything but in 15 years we have only lost one plate. ( dramatically, as noted above)
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:51 PM on November 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

You can actually shop thrift stores online. I've gotten a lot of great Corelle and Pyrex on Shop Goodwill in recent months. You just have to pay some shipping and handling, but thankfully, Corelle is light!
posted by limeonaire at 2:44 AM on November 8, 2020

Thirding Corelle, especially vintage Corelle. Ebay is your friend.
posted by Mchelly at 3:10 AM on November 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Please don't microwave food in plastic. If you don't find that Corelle works for you, maybe use uncoated paper plates in the microwave?

Pyrex is also better than average at surviving falls; I use some of their storage containers as eating bowls.
posted by metasarah at 5:41 AM on November 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Do you have a dishwasher? If your plates and cups and bowls have just all managed to get terminally chipped, rather than there having been four or five colossal dish avalanches with china shrapnel in all directions, the culprit is probably the dishwasher. Dishes damaged in the dishwasher often get cracks which weaken them, so that putting them down hard appears to be when they got destroyed.

Whatever dishes you buy needs to match your dishwasher or the dishes can't be loaded safely and will steadily bash themselves to death while the water is chugging around. If you have deep small bowls like Asian rice bowls they need one sort of rack compared to if you have the wide shallow bowls with a rim used in the navy. Dishwashers sold in Asia have a different rack than the ones usually sold in North America. It also matters that the distance between the prongs in the rack is a good match for your china. And finally and most importantly you need to make sure you load the dishwasher correctly. If you can make them tap against each other in the dishwasher they will beat each other to death. A lot of the time this will mean running the dishwasher literally half empty, with an empty slot between items.

My family of five used to have to run the dishwasher a bit more often than twice a day.

I would recommend trying estate sales for replacement china but I don't even know if they are holding those anymore with covid.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:57 AM on November 8, 2020

The Ikea OFTAST line of dishes and bowls is very inexpensive and made off tempered glass that seems similar to Corelle if you’re open to trying other things.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:35 AM on November 8, 2020

nordicware.com has 3-piece, BPA-free and melamine-free, high-heat microwave plastic dinnerware sets that look attractive.
posted by SageTrail at 12:39 PM on November 8, 2020

I'm still using the same set of Corelle dishes that I was using as a kid 30 years ago. I can remember 2 or 3 pieces breaking in all that time. It's amazing.

That said, my small children eat on plastic plates and bowls from Ikea. Sometimes a toddler is gonna drop things on the floor, that's just how it is.
posted by beandip at 8:59 PM on November 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you are washing by hand, are they breaking in the sink? Do you use a sink mat? If you’re dropping them, how about some area rugs in the kitchen.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:29 PM on November 9, 2020

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