post off: do you use your "good china?"

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The other day I was reading a story about swanky party thrower Colin Cowie, who has a new book out, Colin Cowie Chic. One of his tips for adding a dose of fabulousness to your everyday life is NOT saving your good china for the holidays only, but to use it all the time. I couldn’t agree more. What’s the point of owning something that you don’t ever get to enjoy? Cowie told PEOPLE magazine: “In ’94 an earthquake broke pieces I had collected — and hardly ever used. Now I use my favorites every day.” Of course, we don’t actually own good china… but if I did, I would gladly use it all the time. The same should hold true for all precious collectibles — even the Pyrex! What about you, do you use your heirloom quality homegoods, or keep them for “display only”? — Angela M.

P.S. Shown above, Tiffany’s Audoubon place setting. The cost of one plate? Ninety bucks!

From our partners
Tiffany

We use our “good” china (whole set bought used, very cheap) and our real silver every Sunday for dinner. The only reason I don’t use it everyday is because during the week my kids do the dishes and they usually manage to break something every couple of days. The great thing about using silver regularly is that it doesn’t require polishing as often. I say use fine china and silver on any day that a special meal is being prepared and you don’t mind the careful clean-up required.

My good china (aside from being in a box at Mom’s) has gold leaf, so it’s too not-microwaveable for practical use. But I do have my grandmother’s Guardian Service cast-aluminum cookware, which I use regularly (so much so that I’ve bought more at estate sales… though collectors will appreciate that I’ve left the pristine stuff in favor of pieces that have seen use.

Ditto my other grandmother’s sewing stuff, though I don’t have anything from her as durable as the Guardian Service.

In both cases I figure these ladies went through the Great Depression (and then early widowhood, in one’s case), and would be appalled at the idea that practical goods weren’t being used for what they were made for.

Yes, we use our “good” china daily. in fact, we have two sets that we mix and match together. Once we move into our next home we will start using the wedding flatware and glasses as well.

Jnett

Nope, never. It is antique heirloom stuff. I have used it a few times for special occasions, but less than once per year since I’ve had it. I’d like to have my mother’s and grandmother’s dishes, but I doubt I’d use them either. THIS is what I will collect!

I knew that we wouldn’t use it- so we never got it in the first place. For our wedding we registered for nice everyday stuff that we really liked and figured that was good enough. When my grandmother passed away last year I chose to inherit her sewing things, her old diaries, her cookbooks. I left the china and crystal to my cousins and uncles. I think that fancy dishes don’t really appeal to me the way that fifty year old spools of thread do. Is that weird?

I don’t personally own any fine china, although I am set to inherit quite a bit someday {hopefully not too soon} as my mother is an avid collector. We use some of the patterns somewhat regularly, but some are for Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving only. Sometimes we can use the Tiffin stemware or Waterford pieces for parties, but mostly those stay in storage as well. It makes the times we use it extra special, and that’s why we save it!

well, i guess i don’t have “good” china the way it’s defined in a wedding registry – no platinum, gold, or plates that cost fifty bucks. but i do shell out for place settings i really really love, and i use them daily. i need less cabinets that way, plus it makes dinner feel nice, even when it’s leftovers.

We don’t have good china, but if I did, I’d use it :)

Our “good” china is reasonably priced bone china from Crate and Barrel, so it’s nothing precious. We use it for frequent dinner parties and about half of our regular meals, including any time my husband is in charge of picking out plates. Our everyday is thicker stuff from Fish’s Eddy but other wise everything looks pretty similar, since the china is all white.

Amber

We don’t use our good china everyday, but it does come out whenever I make a more elaborate dinner or have guests over. Oftentimes I don’t use it all at once — I’ll mix it in with our everyday white, Rosenthal china — to make the table look a little more interesting.

However, I save our good crystal for more special occasions. I’m more paranoid about those breaking, but I really should bring them out more often. The clink of crystal seems so festive.

Mary

Our good china has platinum rings so, like others, we don’t use it every day, but we probably use it 2 or 3 times a month – especially if our regular plates aren’t clean. :D

readingglasses

I have several (incomplete) sets of china, all vintage or antique. And, honestly, I use them every week and switch them in and out, combining, et cetera. It’s fun. And not a lot of trouble.

We have some Ralph Lauren china. I love it. It makes me happy when I see it.

But we’ve been married close to two years now, and I’ve used it once.

And that’s OK by me. I like knowing it’s there, knowing I have something special that gets pulled out for those extra special occasions.

My every day stuff is practical. Off white and can be mixed and matched with napkins, and different tumblers…enough to keep me entertained.

But my china is kept in the china cabinet. Call me old fashioned, but I like it that way!

Cheers!
-Kim

Pencils

I don’t have good china. All I have is my vintage Fiesta, and it’s very difficult to break! I use that every day. I have a special tea set that I do use, and I recently was given some of the Charlie Harper dishes, which I’ll definitely use but haven’t had the chance yet. One of the reasons I love and collect Pyrex is because I can use it–and I do. I also use my collection of 40s-50s lemonade pitchers, for juice, and as vases. The only collection I don’t use are the vases from my Ruskin art pottery. I’m afraid water and goop from flowers could damage the delicate glazes. Ruskin costs too much to risk it! Too bad though, my yellow and blue crystalline Ruskin vase looks wonderful with daffodils in it.

Jnett

Pencils- is the vase large enough to put something smaller in, as a liner, so it could be used without gooping?

we use our sterling silverware everyday. we love it. i love how beautifully it tarnishes cuz it makes it look like silver and not stainless steel. we don’t even own good “china”. we got the cheapest plain white ikea one where the set comes in a plastic-vacuumed box thing.

i figured the money should go toward the things you’re constantly touching with your hands, and yummy homemade food makes any cheap white plate look gorgeous (and they’re easy and fast to replace should they chip or break).

Elizabeth

I don’t like to have things that I don’t use (it seems impractical and a waste of space – which in my miniscule apartment is a tragedy!) and I also like having pretty things. For these two reasons, I do use my good china. Not everyday, but then again, I don’t eat at home every day. :) I also don’t have kids to worry about them dropping it – if I did, I think that would be a different story. But I even use my antique stuff, albeit not as often – maybe once a month. But I like to use that because it makes me feel connected to the past, and my family.

when I registered as a youngish bride I went for Limoges china.
Not something I would ever go for today. Anyway we use the heck out of it on holidays. The gold rims have been microwaved off on a few occasions (don’t try this at home) they have been chipped, dropped and abused but are a part of our holiday rituals. Who are we saving this stuff for?? I have 3 sons, and doubt they will ever want it!