Choosing the right serving pieces

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Choosing the right serving pieces is easy with some planning

Choosing the right serving pieces is easy with some planning

When people think about dining and entertaining, they often focus on the dishes and drinkware. While it?s true that guests will need plates to eat off of and glasses to drink out of, the platters or bowls needed for serving the meal often get pushed to the mental back burner. Here are a few tips about choosing the right serving pieces to have on hand.

Small to medium size bowls

Your day-to-day dish set is a great place to start looking for small bowls. Cereal bowls can be used for serving sides. Pasta bowls have a flat, wide bottom, which make them great for serving bread, rolls, rice, or pasta sides. To help keep heat in warm bread, or to add a festive touch, use a cloth napkin or tea towel folded in half to cover the bread. Small mixing bowls, especially if they are decorative crockery, also make nice serving containers.

Larger bowls

Think entr?e-sized salad serving bowl here. You want a bowl that is deep and wide, with enough room to hold main portions for four people. Serving bread and a hearty soup on a chilly winter night? Fill a tureen with the soup and have a large basket of bread ready to go on the table. If mashed potatoes or vast amount of spaghetti and meatballs go quickly at your table, a bowl large enough to hold these items will come in handy.



There are as many shapes and sizes of platters as there are types of food to go on the platters. Sizes range from small to oversized and can be used to hand out appetizers, hold carved chickens or an array of desserts. It?s useful to have a platter in at least two sizes, a medium and a large. Some are deeper, which is great if you have juicy items to serve.

Now that you have an idea of the serving pieces you might need, it?s time to think about where to buy them. Know your budget when you head out to the stores. Department stores have a great selection and you can get a decent price depending on the time of year and any sales or promotions. Be aware that the sales people may try to get you to purchase more than you need, especially if you?re just starting out. Keep your style and needs in mind, while listening to other perspectives that might be valuable later on.

Discount stores that sell overstock are a fantastic place to find quality items at a lower price. It might be difficult if you want all the pieces to match. But if you don?t mind a mix of patterns or colors, you could find items that work well and look great. Sometimes grocery stores will also sell serving ware, especially around the holidays. This way, you can pick up the platter and the food at the same time.

If the vintage or antique look is more your style, head out to estate sales, antique fairs and vintage resale shops. Here, you might find a piece that fits perfectly with your existing china set or a unique design that compliments your personal style. If you?re really lucky, you might be able to go shopping in your mother?s or grandmother?s cabinets. If more and more of the family entertaining is on your shoulders, they might be happy to give you their larger serving pieces.

Regardless of the pieces you choose, have fun with the process. Create your own set with a style that you will be proud to display to your guests. Who knows, you might even find the next family heirloom that will be passed on for generations to come!