When we were growing up, Mum had the good dinner set.
It was put in a special cupboard, out of the kitchen so it was unable to mix with the riff raff that was our daily flatware and other (matching) crockery. It came out on special occasions, usually when she had friends from her workplace, or my Dad’s, over for one of her highly regarded dinner parties.
It was The Good Dinner Set.
I, too, have carried on this tradition, having requested a specific, elegant, but not overly expensive dinner set for a wedding gift over a decade ago. Over the years I have added pieces; a platter here, a gravy boat there. It stays in a special cupboard, with the good wine glasses, out of the kitchen, so it may not mix with the riff raff of the rest of our flatware and crockery.
Of course, having kids, stuff gets scratched, broken and shattered into a billion pieces all over the kitchen floor and not swept up because ‘IT’S NOT MY FAULT!’ (it never is) and picked out of feet a week or so later.
I used to pride myself on having a matching dinner set. Not The Good Dinner Set. Just the day to day, breakfast-lunch-dinner stuff in the cupboards.
After a couple of years, we just gave up. Bowls where the most decimated, followed closely by the dinner plates. Bowl after bowl after bowl met it’s demise on our kitchen floor, mostly at the hands of our Middlest child, but not always. We started to just wander up to the local op shop when running low on bowls and just see if we could just grab a pile of bowls, and not have to purchase any of the rest of the set.
It got to a point where we were even discussing things like “These are thirty cents each and there’s nine of them” with a reply along the lines of “Well, there’s six here, but they’re twenty cents each”, and generally buying the cheapest we could get our hands on, for we knew their fate.
Thus, our daily-use crockery is made up from approximately seven different ‘sets’. Also, we have a massive pile of small, side plates, because no one ever uses them, therefore, they rarely see the light of day. Certainly not enough light of day to ensure their Death By Kitchen Floor.
Over the years I’ve been forced to let go some of my perfectionisms,change my mindset and accept that I will have to be ok with chipped and non-matching plates.
The alternative is to go the way of the plate – i.e. ‘broke’.
Wine and other glasses have also suffered the same fate. There are the Daily Glasses; cheap, nasty and of no consequence when they throw themselves to the floor. Then there are the others, Bohemian crystal, special gifts from special people in our lives, stashed away in a cupboard, and now featuring in odd, rather than even, numbers.
It was a tragic day when the last of our Daily Wine Glasses met it’s maker. Or, the tiled floor, really. I expressed my dismay on social media, only to have the profound response of “All glasses are your good glasses – don’t put them aside for special occasions, every day is special and worth celebrating.”
This is sound advice that I agree with. Except that out Daily Wine Glasses were so because they fit into the fridge door to chill before having wine added. The other glasses didn’t and would only fit in The Special Cupboard, where they stayed until we had occasion to bring them out, decide they needed dusting and washing before use and resorting to the pre-chilled glasses in the fridge, anyway.
I’ve learnt to think carefully about what I am “saving for good use”, for special occasions and even what, indeed, constitutes ‘special’, certainly ‘special enough for good’. I took some of the never-used, intricately designed wine glasses out of The Special Cupboard and into the kitchen cupboard where they could easily be reached in times of need, and made myself ok with that.
On the flip side is, I’ve also found myself, at times, grasping onto anything that I can refer to as The Good Whatever, so that I may have something –