|This is a traditional Chinese dinner table. A plate for a whole fish is essential!|
One of the key items high on the list was more plates and bowls to accommodate family members who will be visiting us. When we moved in together two years ago I volunteered to throw away my shabby dishes and utensils because he owned nicer things. Most of my kitchen stuff I had found on the sidewalk in Park Slope where people often threw away boxes of dishes (this was pre-bed bug epidemic). Nothing I owned in the kitchen matched. It was all a mish-mash of things. The only “set” I owned that matched were a set of brown plates and bowls that had strawberries on them. They looked like they were from the 70s, chipped corners and all. This set I held on through college and through all my apartments in NYC (7 in total!) for sentimental reasons. It was the first set my parents bought in the States when we first immigrated here from Bolivia, South America. They bought it at a grungy flea market in Tampa, Florida.
|Western style plate collection. Lots and lots of plates.|
I haven’t thought about my brown strawberry plates from the 70’s until that weekend at Ikea when we stood amidst the Houseware section trying to decide about plates. He had very specific ideas, and he was also very adamant that everything had to be a set of four in the same color. I suppose it gives dudes a sense of order to have these domestic design rules. I didn’t care what plates he got or whether they matched or in a complete set. I wanted to go eat some meat balls! I just didn’t see why it was so important to have matching sets of things like this. Left to my own I would have gotten whatever struck my fancy. A couple of the gorgeous rich plum-colored plates, maybe two of the Tiffany Blue colored-bowls, and just for the hell of it, some fun plastic ones. But I didn’t. Part of me think it’s not very grown-up to have mismatched plates in your house. Another part of me think it’s very Chinese (and thus VERY charming) to have a potpourri style of plates and bowls.
|This table doesn't look fun to eat at to me.|
|A fancy china cabinet. I hope I never have to own one of these...|
We left the matching sets at the store that day, and my parents decided to have the rehearsal dinner at a friend’s Chinese restaurant where everything does match - in a Chinese way. As for our kitchen there is now four plum-colored plates nestled among the white ones in alternating colors, of course, so it looks intentional.