Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Paper Plate Society

"Setting the Table", February 16, 1957

Years ago, in home economics class, we students learned how to set a pleasant table. We were told that dining together as a family was an experience. We felt that it was an essential part of family values.  The table didn't have to be fancy, but the basic elements were there:

Plates, silverware, a napkin at each place, cups, and serving bowls in the center.

I've noticed that families are using paper plates on a regular basis. Here is the problem:

- They tend to make people eat more. Why? Because we eat quickly. Paper plates are for fast and easy meals.  

When we sit together and dine at the table, the meal goes slower. We visit with one another, smile  and enjoy the food. We tend to eat less.  The experience is savored and enjoyed.

Our society loves paper plates because no one wants to clean. The plates are a modern substitute, creating a fast food environment.  Something is wrong when we are too busy to sit down together as a family to enjoy the blessing of food.

Are paper plates wrong? Certainly not. But they should be reserved for emergencies, when someone is ill, occasional dining, or for picnics.  Paper plates should be the rare exception, not the common rule.

What if you have a busy schedule and cannot find time to sit together? Does that mean you have to use paper plates? (gentle smiles) How about setting the table, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with real dishes and enjoying the meal with whoever happens to be there. Meal times are commonly at specific times and should be an expected routine. This helps keep order and security in the home.

Dine alone, at times, if you must, but please use real plates. (gentle smiles)

Mrs. White

Be comforted - Mother's Silent Influence in the Home.

A Precious Hymn - Be thou My Vision.

The meaning of Sitting Alone at the Kitchen Table.

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.



Cathy said...

Thank you for stating this. I don't care for paper plates, unless as you said, they're for BBQ, picnics in case of illness,etc. But for normal, daily meals, a nicely set table, with real dishes makes an important statement. It says someone cares, someone has made a place for you, someone is serving you by creating "home" for you. We are God's creatures, who enjoy creaturely things. Not only the food He gives, but also the welcoming dinner atmosphere, the calm feel of an orderly, nicely set table, where family members can slow down and breathe, and feel like they're Home.

Mary P said...

I love this post. Growing up in a large family, we kids could never understand why mom didn't let us always use paper plates. We thought that the simple clean-up was all that mattered. It's the same food no matter what plate it's on, right? Now that I have a home of my own I hate the thought of serving my husband a paper plate of food, as if he's an inconvenience and I'm trying to "deal with dinner" in the least difficult way possible. This is just one of the many things I used to think my mom was crazy about, but now... Well, sorry mom :-)

Kasey @ TFOMplus2 said...

Not a big fan of paper plates here, either! And I love a pretty table...sets the tone for a peaceful meal atmosphere!

By the way, you won the Moore Family Films Giveaway from my blog. If you will email your address to me at tfomplus2@gmail.com, I will see that it gets on the way to you! Blessings!

LeAnn said...

I always enjoy your homemaking thoughts. I don't like paper plates except when I have all my family here a plus 42 we use them.
I love to set my table and have a quiet meal with my husband.
I enjoy having a pretty table.
Blessings to you for your thoughts.

Cristi said...

I agree with not using paper plates on a regular basis. I once was staying away from home for 9 months and didn't have access to a kitchen. I got so tired of eating out of take-out containers that I bought some silverware, a glass that didn't have a lid and a straw, and some simple dishes. I'd put my take-out food onto a real plate and it was so much nicer.

Jessica@MakingHomeSweeter said...

Agreed - a house does not feel like a home where a pleasurable dining experience does not often occur.

Marbel said...

Pizza night is paper plate night here. Otherwise, it's china plates!

Christy said...

I started out years ago using only real dishes to "save the earth " and money but have realized over the years how much nicer and more "meal like " it is. I hope my girls do the same in their homes.

Anonymous said...

WOW, convicted me.
Tonight we will be eating on real plates.

Southern Ladye said...

Amen, amen! I very seldom use paper plates or cups unless it is one of the mentioned reasons and sometimes not even then. My son recently married, and at the bride's household shower, the comment was made that she needed to stock up on paper plates. She smiled and said, "He does not eat off of paper plates." Immediately ladies begin to make comments about it. I replied, "Please don't blame him. He has me to thank for that. It was the way he was raised." So I totally agree with this post. I hosted a dinner party for ten people last night, complete with REAL dishes and it did not kill anybody to wash a few dishes.

Patricia Ballard said...

I totally agree! No paper plates here! I honestly don't think I have ever purchased paper plates for home use. Setting a pretty table makes everyone feel so special. I like to use vintage plates and vintage tablecloths that I have found at antique stores or estate sales. Then I wonder - who ate off those plates and used those tablecloths? What were they like? What did they eat? Some of my vintage plates go back to the 1920's. Many, many folks must have enjoyed meals on those plates. Somehow this makes me feel connected to the past in a very special way. Paper plates seem cold and unfeeling. And cloth napkins are elegant, too! Those old cotton fabrics wash up better than modern fabric blends. I once set a table for guests with real cloth napkins, and the little girl (who probably never saw a cloth dinner napkin before) asked 'how come I gave everyone hankies'? When I explained to her that it was a dinner napkin to use like a paper towel she was horrified that she would actually have to dirty it with her soiled hands. I told her it was OK, that's what they are to be used for! I like to think I opened her eyes to a whole new world of table setting possibilities.

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