Plates and silverware that don't make That Sound
December 14, 2020 7:13 PM   Subscribe

The sound of a fork scraping on a plate makes me want to scream. This is absolutely not a judgmental thing — I have sensory processing issues. I'd like to reoutfit my kitchen with plates and silverware that minimize That Sound. I'd also like it to be reusable, convenient to wash, and ideally look reasonably grown-up. (It's fine if it says "we're hippies," but it shouldn't say "we're a preschool.") What are my options?
posted by nebulawindphone to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
marked as a favourite; hoping someone has a better answer. Personally I just replaced all of my cutlery with some reusable plastic stuff from ikea. They don't sell it in non-kids-sizes anymore and I need to replace some.

I've been thinking of these but also looking for better options.

I think I might be able to make do with a metal knife and wooden forks and spoons?

That being said - pyrex is much better than china or stoneware.
posted by mce at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think melamine plates would make much less sound than ceramic or glass.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

depends on the troublesome sensory factor - melamine doesn't always wear well and can get, ummm, scratchy.

glass does clink and clank but never rasps, scrapes or squeals. It can squeak when rubbed on other glass.
posted by mce at 7:35 PM on December 14, 2020

wow they even make melamine flatware now. I haven't tried it, I'm only assuming it clinks less than metal flatware.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:36 PM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, it's the squeal or screech that I'm avoiding most of all. I find Corningware plates are indeed better than other ceramics, though still falling short of ideal.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:37 PM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think plate texture is key. Maybe try plates with more of a matte or semi-matte surface, or a bit of texture? None of the plates I have now do the screech, but they're a grab bag of thrift store vintage stoneware. They're all matte ish, definitely no high gloss. The sound they make when they knock together is also a lot better too, more of a clunk than the high-pitched ringing you get with some plates. But really you have to touch the plate in person to figure out whether it's good or not, which is probably not possible right now.

If you want to absolutely avoid all ringing/clinking/etc, there are some really beautiful dishes made with processed bamboo these days. It'll still feel light when you pick it up, so it won't pass as stoneware completely, but they look like proper dishes. Or you could go for a carved wooden set, but that would be a lot more expensive and definitely require special care. Acacia wood plates are extremely nice tactile experiences but very easy to ruin.

The other option — if you want something fancier and a LOT more expensive – is to commission a potter to make a custom set. I know a few professional potters and this is definitely the kind of thing they do. I'm sure they'd be happy to work with you on a solution.
posted by 100kb at 7:45 PM on December 14, 2020

Corningware (glass-based) is different from melamine (plastic-based). Melamine dish sets are often sold for "outdoor entertaining" in the summer months, and it's also popular at Asian/Latino groceries that also stock dinner ware. There is also heavier-duty plastic flatware usually marketed towards weddings and high-end parties that looks more grown up and can be rewashed multiple times before it eventually breaks.
posted by drlith at 7:51 PM on December 14, 2020

posted by pinochiette at 7:55 PM on December 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

The classic “woven wood” plates and bowls you can usually find in restaurant supply stores might work for you. I’m not sure how well they stand up to dishwashers.
posted by Mizu at 8:12 PM on December 14, 2020

Bamboo flatware (example 1, 2)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:12 PM on December 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

posted by smcameron at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have the sound sensory issue and I have been good with Corelle Plates... but also looks like Target has some adult looking plastic plates that are dare i say almost elegant?
posted by wowenthusiast at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I hate that sound too- so I love eating with Chinese style long squared off plastic chopsticks.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:20 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been using wooden spoons from Muji and a plastic camping spork! I've always been a bit sound sensitive, but covid cabin fever has jacked things up another couple of notches!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:30 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

You'll want to find softer 'ware, not softer dishes because melamine can't go in the microwave and bamboo shouldn't go in the dishwasher, and plastic??. So try plastic or melamine or bamboo spoons and forks.

I have misophonia also, and clanking and clattering sets me off. As does the sound of people eating.

However, orthogonally, and this is my personal experience, the most dramatic improvement to my quality of life in re environmental sounds was starting to take a low dose of citalopram for anxiety. I no longer feel incandescent rage when people eat popcorn or carrots or celery near me, or scrape a spoon across a dish. Low level, tolerable irritation at the most. So just a thought. In my case, my misophonia is correlated to my mental health state.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:57 AM on December 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Ooh, wooden chopsticks is a good idea for myself. But someday in the glorious future I'd like to have guests again and be able to offer them a knife and fork without making myself twitch.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:18 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Muji has a variety of beechwood cutlery and acacia wood dishware
posted by ChuraChura at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

My two granddaughters have this complaint about the sound of metal utensils on plates. So we went to various stores and tried scratching a butter knife on various plates to find the least irritating ones. They found that Ikea's Dinera plates were the best of the dinnerware they tried. These ceramic plates do, in fact, have a matte surface that seems to reduce the worst of the scratchy sound. YMMV.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 6:03 AM on December 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Maybe chopsticks/bamboo spoon + ceramic dishes when you're alone, and metal utensils + wooden dishes for guests? I'd hate to hand-wash acacia dishes every day, but I wouldn't mind it occasionally for guests.
posted by the_blizz at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2020

We switched to these matte Biobu plates & bowls a couple years ago for similar reasons, and I'm quite happy with them. They're a mix of bamboo and melamine.

Upsides: They're fine in the dishwasher. They're sturdy and non-screechy for everyday use, including rough handling by young kids. Obviously subjective, but: I think they look terrific (not cheap, not hippie, reasonably grownup) and I liked a lot of the colors available. We got all "lagoon."

Downsides: They can't go in the microwave, and after nearly two years of everyday use they're showing a little wear. So we'll probably want to replace them sooner than I've had to replace other plates, and they're not super-cheap. 
posted by miles per flower at 8:58 AM on December 15, 2020

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