There’s a Sunday night tradition
at my house. A tradition filled with laughter, eye rolling, untranslatable jokes and of course, chocolate (I mean, any worthwhile tradition always does, right?). A tradition filled with British comedy sitcoms and chocolate chip cookies
. There’s just something about those TV shows from across the pond that totally tickle my husband and my fancies and thankfully our local PBS station devotes the entire after 10PM program line-up to these 30 minute gems.
One show in particular revolves around a group of department store employees
, who don’t in the least bit subscribe to the mantra “the customer is always right”; who really seem to be bothered by the inconvenience of having to serve all those troublesome customers
Another favorite tells of a couple who meet and fall in love
during the Korean war conflict then lose touch
with each other after army related transfers and a faulty postal delivery system. Forty years and two marriages later they find each other again, rekindle their love affair and eventually marry
. It’s a sweet account coupled with loads of witty banter and the requisite miscommunication-leading-to-a-funny-situation side story. Predictable sitcom stuff, but charming nonetheless.
But one of my husband’s most favorite shows revolves around a rather snobbish older lady, and her saint-like patient husband
, who is obsessed with appearing to belong to a much higher social class than she actually does. For instance, her name is Hyacinth Bucket
, but because of the rather common connotation of her last name she pronounces it Bouquet and the comedy often comes when she is correcting people for their mispronunciation. Hyacinth is obsessed with giving parties
and I’d have to say that it seems like every other episode is about her, and her (did I mention tolerant?) husband Richard, arranging and preparing for one of her self-rated famous soirées. She’s hosted quite the myriad of events; from candlelit suppers
complete with Royal Dalton china with hand-painted periwinkles, to picnics on the banks of a local river
complete with riparian refreshments (yeah, I had to look it up too : )).
There is a lot of sitcom time devoted to her planning the menu and working out the specific details of location, seating, serving ware and guest entertainment. The comedy comes when all of her careful planning is for not and her party plans quickly disintegrate
usually by the unannounced visits of her less-than couth immediate family.
It really is a hoot to watch the party fall apart. Not that in reality I’d like to wish that upon anyone, well, no one I’d care to mention in print, but it’s just dang funny.
Now, how does this relate to you, dear reader
, and the five minutes you have given up in your day to read this blog post? Well, Hyacinth spends a lot of time working out how her party refreshments will be showcased. She takes great pride in the presentation and we should all glean something from this, albeit fictitious, fixation
, whether it is part of a buffet spread or done on an individual plate-by-plate basis, is key to a successful party and a WOW presentation comes from great serving ware
. Fabulous and functional serving ware will stylishly show your food off and can add to the overall mood you are trying to create for your guests. Bottom line; invest in some well thought out serving ware pieces.
Consider these points when purchasing your pieces:
- Make sure they are durable
enough to withstand usage.
- Think about getting ones that are microwaveable so that you can reheat food items more easily.
- Make sure you have enough storage space
for your wares. I have a few things in the attic because of space limits in my kitchen and can I just say that they don’t get used that often because they require a trip to the hot and dusty attic. Just something to think about …
- Only invest in thematic pieces if you are sure to use them often enough to justify their expense and required storage space. While that snowman platter may be super adorable, if you will only use it three times in ten years, is it really a wise investment
? Maybe not so much. (Mom, are you reading this?)
- Choose pieces that reflect your design personality, and which will hopefully stand the test of time
. Think about the long term. The country blue and rose pink dinnerware I choose when I got married twenty-something years ago does not have the same appeal to me now. Thank heavens!
If you want / need some more guidance on choosing serving ware
, here’s a link to some other things to consider
. And here’s a post at Design Sponge
with a whole plethora of serving ware pieces
to look at and drool over. It’s some serious party ware eye candy.
Now, let’s talk about me. (Hmmm. Reminds me of a country song I used to know. And I mean really USED TO know.)
I started my serving ware collection with two very affordable and very adaptable pieces
. I bought both of them at Costco, each for less than $50. These two pieces have seen way more party action than I have, often showing up at event s that I am unable to attend.
Both pieces have black iron accents
, which is one of the design elements I use to direct my serving ware purchases. I also choose pieces that are off-white in color and simply embellished
. Keeping my service items within these parameters ensures that my tablescapes have a coherent feel as well as work with any color or thematic schemes I am using.
My favorite piece is this four-tiered buffet server
It’s great because it can stand all vertical and take up minimum space or it can be spread out and allow for easier food access. Amen to that feature!
I love this server so much I bought a twin. The twins have been invited to many wedding receptions and church functions. They are quite the popular pair.
The other piece is this glass drink dispenser
The stand didn’t come in the box btw. It was a happy coincidence. I had used this black iron plant stand for another purpose but soon discovered it was the perfect size and shape for getting the drink dispenser off the table, which makes getting the cup under the spigot MUCH easier.
Take my word for it, if you decide to purchase a dispenser, get a stand of some kind
. If not you’ll have to put the dispenser along the edge of the table and this vicarious position is an accident waiting to happen. And having just sopped up a gallon’s worth of fiery red Kool-Aid from light brown carpet, trust me, you’ll want to avoid that kind of a catastrophe. A sturdy cake stand would work, but also think about using a small wooden stool or a plant stand like I have.
So as much as I *heart* my four-tiered buffet server and glass drink dispenser, there are still some serving ware pieces I want … I mean NEED
. I’d like to add (hint, hint dear husband of mine) some various sized cake stands
. I’m excited about the prospect of being able to stack them; doubled food presentation area with less table real estate space used. Perfect combo!
I love these from Pottery Barn
(hint, hint dear husband of mine) because they fit two of my design element parameters and because everything from PB is just plain, well, yummy.
These PB glass pedestals with matching domes
are also on my wish list. I know, they’re glass, doesn’t fit the parameters, but hey, they’re fun and fanciful and every tablescape should have a bit of that included.
And for some reason, I’m also drawn to this galvanized three-tiered stand
. Again from PB. Yeah, I *heart* PB something fierce.
Call me a rule breaker, but I just might have to order me up one of these. I wonder how much expedited shipping would be … because it’s almost Sunday and don’t you think some chocolate chip cookies would look great all nestled in those tiers?
Well, what doesn’t a chocolate chip cookie look good in
… just saying.
So with that thought, I will close this short discussion on serving ware and encourage you to evaluate your current pieces
. Make sure that you are being served well and that your pieces are not more trouble than they are worth. Think about any holes you might have, or items that you can let go of in preparation for the addition of more functional and useful pieces (hint, hint Mom … I’m pretty sure three snowman platters is a bit excessive … really).
And just in case, dear reader, you are now desperately craving chocolate cookies
, here is the link to my favorite chocolate cookie recipe
. Speaking of which … I need to go set some butter out to start softening …
Happy serving, dear reader!
~ Elizabeth (ekb