I Prefer China


    Feedback about our new kitchen shelves has been interesting.  I should have expected it but I realize that I am so pleased with the materializing of  my dreams that I am still startled when the “practical” questions are asked, “Won’t you get tired of cleaning the dusty dishes?”
    Scenes of Sunday dinner tables set in china and glittering glass and silverware, laden heavy with  honest meat and taters dishes, presented beautifully in china and glass service, come to mind. Our mothers and grandmothers invested considerable planning, effort and thought into a carefully set table and tastefully prepared food. After a long week of dirty, mundane farm chores and garden work or winter sewing messes, a clean house and a pretty table was a delightful comfort of beauty and provision. We all remember.
     Then they made paper plates.  And we started grilling and having picnics.  On a mere whim we could throw in plates and cups and hotdogs and eat on the run off the tailgate by a campfire. It is fun and quick and nobody has to do dishes. We love it. Even the mom has time to tramp in the woods, take a few pictures, and wade in the stream now, because what is easier than throwing the plates and cups on the embers?
      This was “all fine and good” until they started setting the Sunday dinner table with paper plates. Now that is a travesty!  I think the point is to not have to wash dishes.  Why ever not wash dishes? I remember the parade of finely dresses women on a Sunday afternoon, white tea towels and steaming glassware in hand, visiting and laughing, carrying china and glasses carefully back to the cupboard to rest in gleaming rows till next Sunday. A certain kind of visiting happens over dishwater and tea towels. Things that men and children are not meant to know or hear. Tears and triumphs are shared over dishwater. Sisters learn to harmonize while doing the dishes. We miss so much when we use paper plates!
    So in changing my kitchen to open shelving I am hoping to celebrate Clark’s statement at the dinner table one day. One of the girls bringing the desert asked, “Do we want clean bowls?” Clark answered the question nicely, “I perfer china.”
    Let’s not be lazy home makers. We should continue the  tradition  and serve a nice meal on china plates regularly. Everyone needs a break from dirt and sorrow and the common problems of life. Washing the dishes should be a balm to the soul of any home maker is my belief. Why not make even the food and dishes in our lives part of the art of homemaking. Celebrate home and family every single day.

7 thoughts on “I Prefer China”

  1. I also prefer the china. Paper things are great for picnics on the job, or wherever else, but let me have real dishes on my table…. I think my father would have something to say if we tried putting paper plates and cups on the table. 🙂


  2. And really, not having glass doors in front of your china isn't going to make that much difference. For sure not if your glass doors are as tight as ours. I think it looks nice.


  3. You are still bossing me about the dishes! I remember when I was five learning to dry dishes I couldn't wait for you to leave for your away job so you wouldn't boss me while doing dishes. I even said so to you. I was a pure brat, I admit. I agree with you now about the washing dishes thing. We don't have a dishwasher in this old house and I am doing just fine with my hands in the warm water. The old way isn't so bad after all.


  4. Thank you, Arla, you said this right up front and it is very true and good and heartwarming. I am wondering at times why have pretty dishes? I recently bought a yellow gold colored deviled egg dish and have not used it yet and am waiting for a bunch of company to use it. Just Sid and I make a poor amount to cook for and I miss all the mess and hullabulue and treasure of talk and all that goes with this preciousness. Dish washers make my girls happy when here and we do set and talk a long time now and I like this too. Precious time when my girls sang and harmonized and goofed off and spat and quizzed each other and told secrets and ill wills and good cheers and and and— love MOM


  5. I'm afraid that I transgressed by using paper plates at tea the other day…I hope you can forgive me. 🙂 If I did it over, I'd probably still use paper though, because I was able to enjoy the whole experience without a pile of dishes looming over me. Am I a rebel or what? 🙂


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