#FineChinaFriday

#FineChinaFriday

I grew up around fine things. China, crystal, sterling flatware and holloware. My grandparents (and then parents) owned a jewelry store that also sold giftware and dinnerware.

In the later years, the bridal registries slowed down with the advent of department store and online registries and OMG TARGET! But over the 65 years our store was open, thousands of couples registered at our store for fine and casual china, crystal and flatware.

A lot of girls had sterling flatware or fine china handed down from a grandparent or parent, but most people wanted to register for their own. Great thought went into the decision. My grandmother would set their choices up as if they were being used on the big mahogany table we had in the china section. She would let them look at everything together, with different flatware, different crystal, different color tablecloths, everything.

Brides would spend sometimes hours in our store choosing just the right items.

I don’t have to tell you what happened to the complete 12 place settings they all ended up with (at an average in today’s prices of probably $175 per place setting) do I? It was placed nicely in a china cabinet for all to see, but never to touch.

If the china and crystal was ever used, it was at Christmas, Thanksgiving and maybe Easter. A romantic evening may call for it, but probably not.

The silver was meticulously placed in a tarnish-preventive box and taken out only to polish and for those holidays.

When I was about 8,  Mimi (my grandmother) took me to the silverware wall and asked me to choose a sterling pattern. Yes, I was only about 6 months older than Henry is now when I chose the flatware I wanted for the rest of my life. Even when I was 8, I appreciated simple with deep engraving.

Old Maryland Engraved by Kirk.

My sister chose her pattern 4 years later when she was 8. Hers was more elaborate and ornate. She and I are so different. I would’ve never in a million years chosen what she did, but she still loves hers now.

Every year for Easter, our Easter basket contained a piece of our sterling flatware. Plastic grass, Peeps, some other crappy candy and a sterling fork. Or knife, spoon, tomato server, serving fork, ladle, etc. You get it. We cherished the candy more, though. I mean, what 10 year old wouldn’t?

Jason and I got engaged and I didn’t have to think long about choosing a china and crystal pattern. I’d picked it out a thousand times over… every time I was at the store working. It was always on the top shelf and nearly always in the center. Nobody ever picked the china on the top shelf. It was expensive. But in my opinion, it was the only one to get.

Pickard is a china that is made in the USA and in 1977 it was chosen to manufacture the official china used in embassies and other locations around the world by the Department of State. It’s been the china of choice for Presidents, Queens, Kings, hotels and the US Air Force. Obviously it’s good stuff.

I chose a pattern with a beautiful cobalt and platinum band on an ivory bone china.

Lincoln by Pickard. 

I did give Jason the choice between two different Waterford patterns for our crystal. He chose the one I really wanted, mainly because it had the best highball glasses.

Kildare by Waterford. 

So before I tell you about my big plan that a few other bloggers are going to be helping me spread the word about, I want to tell you a secret.

I use my sterling flatware every single day.

Yup. And there’s more.

I put it in the dishwasher and have every day since 1998.

I’ve polished it one time since then.

It actually looks better now than it did when I got it!

Catch your breath. One more.

I don’t even own a set of stainless.

Ok. So, what’s this plan I have?

We’re going to have #FineChinaFriday.

I hope you read that like I say it. You have to read it in the most Southern accent you can muster. Some of you won’t have to try too hard, I’m afraid!

What’s #FineChinaFriday, you ask? Great question!

On Fridays, I challenge you to take out your china and eat supper on it.

You have questions and I have answers.

“But Jana, I’m having spaghetti (insert pizza, beans and rice, takeout Chinese, etc) for supper.”

But SuzieQ, spaghetti tastes so much better on china and with a sterling spoon. And we ALL know wine tastes better in real crystal. I’m very serious. Your bland spaghetti will taste so much better with your fancy stuff. I promise.

“Don’t I have to hand wash all this?”

You can. Manufacturers say so. I don’t. My grandmother never did. My fine china with a platinum band goes in the dishwasher when it’s used.

The trick is (pay attention) to leave it in the dishwasher until it’s completely cooled down… like a few hours or overnight. The gold/platinum bands actually get hot enough to get soft so you want to make sure it cools down all the way to harden back up. This is very important. Your crystal and silver will be fine. I’ve tested mine for 13 years. However, I can’t be held responsible for any broken pieces. Do what you want with the information given!

“My husband thinks it’s dumb.”

Ask him right now if he thinks that it’s dumb that you likely have $2000 worth of china, $2000 worth of crystal and (if you have sterling) (holy crap this number is high) $5000-7500 worth of sterling in your cabinets that aren’t being used? Does he think THAT is dumb? I’m sure he does.

“It seems silly to take it out of the cabinet just to use one time.”

It’s possibly one more than it’s been taken out before. Just sayin’.

“Do we have to eat at the dining room table, too?”

If you want. Or at TV trays. Or just on your lap at the sofa. I recommend the dining room table because why not?

“What if the kids break one?”

Then buy a new one. No. I don’t mean buy a new kid. Buy a new plate. Or glass. Or don’t. If you don’t use it and only look at it, what does it matter? It’s just a thing. I promise. It’s JUST. A. THING.

 **************************************

Consider this your invitation, engraved on linen paper, to join us as we start spreading the word about #FineChinaFriday. Maybe we can make it a trend that others pick up on. Maybe it will take over the world and instead of Friday nights being boring for us old married folks with kids, we can put the fun back in it by being fancy!

So pull out a few pieces of china and crystal to clean it up. Polish some of your silver and get ready for Friday.

Don’t have fine china? Do you use paper plates? Use real plates instead. Do something fancier than normal. Enjoy it!

If you have a blog? Blog about it. (Grab the button up there)

Put pictures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Google +. Pin them to Pinterest or post them wherever. (use the hashtag whenever possible – #FineChinaFriday)

Don’t want to do any of that? That’s fine. Just get your fine stuff out and enjoy using it.

Remember that a lot of people spent a lot of time choosing it and buying it for you. It’s a shame to let it sit and collect dust.

What are you waiting on? A special day? Well, make Friday your special day.

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Comments

  1. PBP Designs says:

    This is an awesome idea. And, I have a confession to make… 2 years ago, when I moved back to New England, after living in Alabama for 4 1/2 years…after my china and crystal was in a box for 13 years…I decided it was too nice to leave in a box until I bought another home in ‘however many years it takes’. So I use mine good china every day. It was previously ‘on display’ for the first 5 years of my first marriage. In boxes for the next 13 years when I lived with my mom. ‘On display’ again when I remarried. And back in boxes for 2 years while I moved and got settled. Now, we use them every day. They are hand washed only because we don’t have a dishwasher. One piece is chipped. But they don’t make it anymore so I can’t replace it. And I’m ok with that.

    • I’m so proud. My Mimi is smiling down from Heaven right now with pride that you use your fancy schmancy stuff! Stuff tastes better, doesn’t it? :)
      Jana A recently posted..#FineChinaFridayMy Profile

    • Have you tried to find it on replacements.com? They have all kinds of china, even pieces that haven’t been made in years! I replaced a plate of my great grandmother’s that she purchased at the grocery store in the 20’s.

  2. I am ON it. This week. Awesome idea, Jana!

  3. I’m in! My mom used her sterling and china for Sunday lunch – it was always a nice tradition!

    A few months ago my husband’s favorite aunt (who we hadn’t seen in years) came to our house for the first time. I wanted it to be special, so I set the table just right (your Mimi would have been proud). She was so touched and even though I got scolded by some members of the family for all the extra cleanup, Sean’s aunt pulled me aside and told me that everything tastes better with sterling. :) She was right!

  4. What an awesome idea! Sadly, fine china and sterling flatware haven’t been a tradition in my family since my great grannie (I have most of her set, but it’s carefully, lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap).

    P.S. Thanks for teaching me a new term – I had to google holloware! 😉

  5. Let’s start a REVOLUTION…..get all of these beautiful things out of the boxes & china cabinets & let our families see how much we care about THEM. If we don’t, there will be a whole generation growing up now who really doesn’t care about family heirlooms. ENJOY !!

  6. I’ll have to send this to my mom-she has china that we only use for special occasions (sometimes not even then due to 7 children under 10). I don’t own any myself, but it’s an excuse to not use paper plates! I’ll try it :)

    • Yes! Great reason not to use paper plates. Use whatever non-paper plates you have. It’s good for your soul 😉 << I just made that last part up. I don’t know if it is or not! But it’ll be fun, so whatever!

      • Hey Tooks!

        Once you move, go to a thrift store and buy a couple of mismatched china cups and saucers for you and your BFFwifey (and more for your barbies if you wish). Trust me. It will make hanging out with tea and whiskey that much more fun!!
        karen recently posted..Trifextra Weekend — Take 2My Profile

  7. I don’t even know if I have any fine china. I’ll be looking through some boxes in the cellar. But short term, I know I have some fine china teacups and saucers that I was thinking of selling on eBay. Now, I think I will give them another wash and put them into rotation, instead of my everyday mugs. Thanks, Jana.

  8. Love it! So funny that you bring this up now. I was dusting my china cabinet the other day and looking at all of the china and crystal that I inherited from my grandparents. And thinking, I have never used these. Not once. Such a shame. Can’t wait to write my post, and to eat pizza off my china on Friday!
    Leah recently posted..The Message In The CloudsMy Profile

  9. I’ll admit that I only use mine at Thanksgiving & maybe a few more times during the year, but I do wash it in the dishwasher. (I remember somebody having a fit about this this past year, maybe my SIL.) But I did just get Emma Ruth’s Francisian Ivy & plan to start using that as everyday. I so miss the jewelry store…
    Semi-Slacker Mom recently posted..Semi-Slacker Mom’s Twelve Days of Christmas by SassyMy Profile

    • Seems like you have Eternal? Is that right? Ivy will be great to use every day. Such a beautiful pattern. Feel free to share the idea with others. It’ll be fun!!

  10. Would it be wrong to eat on my wedding china with the new guy? I’m trying to decide if I want to try to sell it via consignment or if I want to keep it around and use it. I have absolutely no emotional ties to it at all. I’d throw it in the Goodwill pile for all I care…

  11. suzanne, your most grateful friend says:

    My former mother-in-law used her fine silverware every day and put it in the dishwasher, all except the knives. She said that the way the blades were attached to the handles couldn’t take the heat of the dishwasher and that eventually they would separate. She got me using my waterford on a daily basis… love this idea!

    • People say that happens to knives. I haven’t had it happen to any of mine. The handles used to be made with a cork insert and the cork would expand and cause the seams to burst. But not all of them have that. It’s not hard to wash a few knives every now and then. Or every day :) Yay for drinking out of your Waterford. Your ex MIL was smart!

  12. Two things I know about dishwashers and silver and china:

    If you mix silverware with stainless, the stainless will rust. We have a couple of pieces of silver, so I know this from experience.

    My mother sticks her china in the dishwasher regularly and the gold is all but gone. I have her mother’s china (and my other grandmother’s china too!) and the gold is still intact. I wonder, if she used liquid dish detergent rather than powder, would it make a difference?

    I like to handwash mine, but I am not fond of dishwashers in the first place. I currently use my mother’s mother’s china, which no one wanted. Sadly we broke some pieces at some point (too much moving and renos) so I’ll have to look for replacements eventually. It grew on me, it is very delicate and my grandmother was a very mean person, especially to me. But she was a product of her experiences and she apologised to me in her final years, so *shrug*.

    I avoid eating from silver, I can taste it, but I also can’t wear metals so it must be something about me personally. So I invested in really neat stainless, two sets, and they are both in rotation. We are all total cutlery geeks!

    For my daughter’s birthday last summer, I served everything on the china. Why not?! The theme was tea party, the kids were all very respectful, and they knew that as long as they were not goofy, I would not feel bad if something broke. It was fantastic.

    Great post, Jana. I am totally going to use some china Friday. I have some special pieces with a story …

    karen
    karen recently posted..Trifextra Weekend — Take 2My Profile

    • Yes, typically you want to separate the silver and stainless, but just put them in different compartments so they don’t touch.

      YOur mom may not be letting the dishwasher cool all the way down. But powder detergent may be bad, too. I would use liquid. Can’t wait to hear about your stories :)

      • I know better than to advise my mom on anything, so she can do what she wants with her china, know what I mean?! Too bad, though, because it is only a whisper of its former self. I think she was born to destroy things. Her deliberateness is almost breathtaking sometimes.

        I had to remove the few pieces of silver (they weren’t sentimental pieces) because no one else remembered to give them their own little cubby. I also got to buy new cutlery to replace the 20 year old stuff (some pilfered university cafeteria cutlery, you know the type) that had rust spots. So total win!

        I served chai tea (made in a pot on the stove with real cream like the South Asians do) in a pair of tea cups today when a friend came by with her kid. It always fancies up the day!
        karen recently posted..Trifextra Weekend — Take 2My Profile

  13. I’m loving all of these plans….can’t wait for the stories of how everyone feels “all special & stuff”. And who you’ve inspired to try it ! It’s a REVOLUTION !!!

  14. Jana, this is a wonderful idea! I have my grandmothers china and it doesn’t even get taken out for holidays (delicate blue flowers just don’t say Merry Christmas.)
    Now to plan my menu…..tacos or spaghetti 😉
    Joan Hayes@chocolate and more recently posted..Vanilla Apple MuffinsMy Profile

  15. tammie ellerbee says:

    Your meme gave me my first piece of Fairfax sterling! It was a fork, the second Christmas I worked at Herbert’s,1978! Am still so happy with my china,Royal Buttercup by Gorham and crystal,Tramore by Waterford! Sometimes I see people and immediately remember their patterns after all these years! I used to go with Mrs. Herbert to do appraisals at customers houses. I learned so much from her! The main thing I use today is customer service and how to treat the customer!

  16. Brenda Gilstrap says:

    Great story, Jana. I use mine several times a year. One of my fondest memories is when my Mother and I went to Herbert Jewelers and chose the china, silver, crystal, and wedding invitations. Mrs. Herbert put the setting on that table, and it was so beautiful!!! That was 1970.
    I am so sorry that the family tradition could not be continued, but Dennis made a beautiful wedding and engagement for Tara, and also Ben’s band. I saw them last week. Miss seeing you there, but sure enjoy your blog!!!

  17. Shannon A. says:

    We use ours all the time………the food does taste better. :)
    Do you clean your sterling knives in the dishwasher?

    • I do put my knives in the dishwasher. Some of them, though, have cork inserts and they expand and can cause them to burst. Mine obviously don’t have that :)

  18. I love this idea. I’m going to start it today. I have no idea why I don’t use all the good stuff that I have stashed away in cupboards and closets. Maybe I’ve just been waiting for someone to give me permission! Thanks.
    Ally Bean recently posted..The “Randomness” MemeMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] I’m so thrilled with the turnout for the first ever #FineChinaFriday. I’m going to call it a huge […]

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  9. […] And doesn’t this sauce look wonderful on my Grandmother’s china? It’s part of Fine China Fridays. I never really thought much about using my “good” china until I read Jana’s […]

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