1.21.2013

Portion Control Tip: Use Your Antique China



I was recently given a set of antique china that belonged to my great-grandmother. The set is Syracuse China in the Briarcliff pattern, which was made in America, and dates back to the 1940s.

Because this set belonged to my great-grandmother, and then my grandmother, it is very special to me. We dined off of the china on Christmas day and have actually used it almost every day since. I love the delicate nature of the plates.

Immediately when I started to use the china, I noticed something very curious about the dinner plates. The area for food is much smaller on the antique plates, especially compared to my large, modern-day Pottery Barn dinner plates. Back in the 40s, plates were smaller and more delicate. Food portions were a lot smaller too.

This week's video shows you the difference between the antique china and modern-day earthenware plates and discusses the various unexpected merits of using your china daily. If you are unable to see my video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

This week I would love to know... do you have a treasured set of china in your family? If not, what type of set would you one day like to have?

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14 comments:

Senora Vargas said...

Great observation, Jennifer! My mom has been keeping our family china for me because I don't have enough space to keep it at my tiny apartment! I really like the idea of getting a few antique plates from a thrift store to use for dining. I may have to do that until I find the space to keep the family set.

Elizabeth Lukes said...

Lovely pattern! I think portion sizes were smaller in the 1930s and 1940s because food was not as easy to acquire as it is now. The comparison to the Pottery Barn plate is striking! An associate's husband owns an antique/used goods store, and he has temporarily stopped accepting China because he is having a difficult time selling the China already in stock. For anyone who is intimidated by the thought of collecting fine items, consider Jennifer's advice about visiting a thrift or antique shop. The shop owners will be happy to sell to you!

Russian Chic said...

Great post, Jennifer!

Your pendand/necklace is so delicate and lovely.
My I please ask for maker/style info? Thank you.

Greenjane72 said...

Hi Jennifer
Have only recently discovered your blog and videos and read your book. All wonderful, thank you! I am a big user of good china, love classical music etc and have always aspired to a capsule wardrobe but never really understood how to achieve it until now. Its been soothing and inspiring to watch your videos as I've been up feeding my baby over the past few months! Thanks for your company :-) I do find it challenging in a hot Australian summer with 3 children but we are all benefitting from my new goals of living calmly, using the best we have, appreciating what we have and looking presentable always. A big thank you and congratulations on your well deserved success. Jane x

BeccaA said...

Great observation about the difference in expected portion size today vs in the past. As far as raising the next generation to eat reasonable portions, I learned in France that the question to ask your child is, "Are you still hungry?" rather than, "Are you full?" I managed to do this with my daughter who at 19 has always been slender and never eats more than she is hungry for.

Carol White said...

I found wonderful china dinner plates at Home Goods - Royal Stafford - that also have a smaller food area. My real trick is to eat w/a small dessert fork. Slows you down and you eat more delicately. If I have yogurt, I use a demi-tasse or iced tea spoon.

Susan in St. Paul said...

It's 11:30pm and I just went and measure all my china! They range from 6.25-7.5 inches with the largest being Corelle. Corella is glass so I counted it.

Since I don't have a dishwasher I am going to start using my non dishwasher safe china.

Thanks Jennifer!

Charlene said...

So true. I made this observation while going through old china at my mother-in-law's house a few years ago. The dinner plates were more like modern salad plates! Your idea of using it for portion control is a good one and you have the added benefit of dining on lovely china. Another thing that struck me while looking at old family photos is that no one seemed to be overweight! We've done ourselves a disservice in this country with all you can eat buffets, huge restaurant portions, and giant plates.

Susan in St. Paul said...

I saw your book at my local library! St. Paul, MN!

It's also at Barnes and Noble. I turn it out whenever I see it ;)

Amy said...

Love this tip. I have white china for everyday. Even modern china is usually smaller than stoneware. I also like to pick up salad plates that I can mix in with my china. We usually use the salad plates as our dinner plates unless we are entertaining. Keeps portion sizes in check.

Shelley said...

Syracuse Briarcliff, 1949-1967
Beautiful! I love using good china.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hello Ladies,

Thank you for all of your lovely comments. I love talking about china with you! After doing more research (and thank you to Shelley as well for your comment!) My great-grandmother's plates are from 1949. These plates are so special to me and I love to use them everyday. I actually received a full set, complete with the most charming serving dishes. The only thing not there is a teapot, which I imagine broke somewhere along the way.

Russian Chic to answer your question about my necklace, it is a diamond solitaire pendant from our local family jeweler in Santa Monica.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Jennifer x

Robbiegirl said...

I have china from Bavaria which was very rare. I have it hid away! I am taking it out today!

Robbiegirl said...

I love this idea. I eat too quickly.

 
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