I know this blog has been about my obsession with paper, and the ways I use it to bring joy and peace into my life. However, I want to write about my other great love, tableware. I own seven sets of tableware, that’s right seven! Four of the sets are fine China, and i’m willing to admit that may be an overabundance of tableware. But very little of what I own was purchased by me, so who really is to blame here?
Breaking bread with others brings me joy in a way that little else does. I love the term breaking bread. I do not merely want to eat a meal with someone but share a meal with them. I want to share ideas, stories, memories, passions, and problems. My favorite memories with Joe are of dinners that last for hours. I love the sound of his voice. I love hearing his stories, his ideas, and his worries. I love when we are able to talk through a problem together.
My favorite way to celebrate an occasion is with a meal. A celebratory meal should be had on fine China. Sure, we can eat meals with any kind of tableware, but there is something special about China. Paper plates fall apart, and are made to be used quickly and thrown away. When the food and plates are gone, what else is left to do but leave the party? Plastic plates are made to be awkwardly balanced on laps. But China? China is used for meals around a table, which is a far more intimate setting, ideal for great conversation. The plates themselves offer up a conversation topic. When and why was the China purchased? How often it sees the light of day? China also tells your companions that this is an occasion to be celebrated, and that they are worth the effort of hand washing dishes after the meal and conversation have ended.
Even washing the dishes offers up opportunities. If you ever want a break from a dinner party, chance to be alone with your thoughts, start washing the dishes. People will consider you a saint, a hero, a true friend, and you get some time to yourself. Want to know who truly loves you? See who is willing to dry while you wash. I personally love to wash the dishes the next morning. Leave the dishes overnight, and savor the conversation with your loved ones. The dishes will be there in the morning, and no one will judge you for that overflowing sink.
For me, there is something about the smell of lemon dish soap and the suds on my hands that just relaxes me and lets me think back on the night before. I enjoy thinking about the conversations from the previous night. I can hear the laughter, and see the smiles while I lovingly take care of something that is precious to me. All of my China is vintage, and I enjoy thinking about the life of those plates. I like to imagine all the meals they have held, and the celebrations they have been apart of.
I want to take the time to defend my love of China, not just because I find it to be beautiful, but because it offers so much more than its beauty. It tells your loved ones that they are special and that this particular occasion is worth celebrating. It also magically slows down the meal. I am desperately trying to find ways to slow down, and be present in life. Breaking bread with someone is a special way to do that. Fine China is highly recommended, but not mandatory.