The William Morris Project 2014 | New Dishes

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The William Morris Project

Every week Mikey’s teacher has her students write a weekly journal entry to share with their parents. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but if I haven’t, there you go. The parents are supposed to reply to the journal entry with their own faults. Mikey consistently writes things like “I want another sleepover, mom! Please!!” or “I can’t believe Mrs. Francis benched us at recess for running on the jungle gym. I know we’re not supposed to, but we always do it! Teachers are no fun.” This week he made an impassioned plea about X-Box Live, X-Box Gold, and being friends with lots of people, but especially Stampylongnose. “I WILL DO ANYTHING TO BE HIS FRIEND, MOM!!!”

Oh, really now? I can’t wait to discuss Generation Like.

I responded to him about friends and social media and typical parent stuff that I don’t think was my best effort. My delivery sounded more negative than I liked, but I at least closed with “this is something we need to talk more about in person. Love, Mama.” I’m not sure what I will say about social media, because in a lot of ways it’s excellent. Like, for example, today’s post and my new dishes. That’s all thanks to social media.

Corelle, 1

I know I’ve been talking about buying new dishes for years now. It took longer than I anticipated because I had it in my head to buy 10″ dishes. Standard dishes these days measure 12″-14″, which was the size of a charger in the 1960s. Some researchers believe our increase in weight as a society has a lot to do with the increase in plate size because, visually, people like to eat their meals off a plate that is 70% full. (You can read more about the small plate movement here.) Years ago, when I lost 50 pounds and was on a very, very strict meal plan, I started eating off of our salad plates because my dinner looked sparse and pathetic off our hubcap plates. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me ever since. In fact, our whole family eats off the salad plates. The regular plates are enormous and heavy. So heavy! Plus, they are our wedding plates so there is crazing and cracking. I needed to replace them.

Corelle, 2

If we didn’t eat off the salad plates, we ate off our melamine party plates. They were much lighter and less fragile–important since the boys now do the dishes–and, after 14 years of daily use, our 12 salad plates had been reduced to 3.

Corelle, 3

I didn’t go on an insane search for the perfect dishes. I figured they would pop up eventually, though I did underestimate how difficult it would be to find plates in a smaller size. I was complaining about this on instagram when several people mentioned Corelle. They said everything I wanted to hear: light weight, durable, small in size. I looked around our area, found an outlet, and took the family with me to see if they approved. I thought I would get plain white ones, but no. They wanted something with a pattern. This grandma pattern, in my favorite blue and white, pleased everyone. Except maybe Nico. He wanted lime green ones.

Corelle, 7

Corelle, 6

Corelle, 5

Corelle, 4

Here you can see the difference in size! Amazing. I can stack all 10 pieces (that’s what we bought of each) and keep it in one area as opposed to before where I had to spread everything across all the cabinets to fit. Loading the dishwasher is now a dream.

Corelle, 9

According to my dishwasher manual, that small row is supposed to be for salad plates or bowls. Never have I been able to fit bowls in that spot.

Corelle, 8

What used to take up an entire cabinet now fits easily on two shelves with room to spare. As far as the quality, well, I wouldn’t serve Beef Wellington to the Queen on them, but they are fine for everyday use. Corelle is a glass/porcelain mix. They are thin, very light weight, and chip resistant. They can go in the dishwasher, microwave, and oven. They have a 3 year warranty, so if they break or chip or show any sign of damage, I can go to my nearest store for a new plate/bowl/whatever. My store doesn’t ask for a receipt, so the manager told me that really the warranty is for longer than 3 years.

I just sounded like a commercial. I’m still getting used to them and still selling myself! I felt really weird donating all our dishes today, but I know months from now I will look back and wonder why I waited so long.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Jeannej says

    I went through the same dish ordeal and ended up with gigantic white Martha S plates from Macy’s. my husband eats off salad plate, with a salad fork no less, all the time. I wish I had known about Corelle, but always thought of them as plastic. We also have vintage inherited plates that are perfect but incomplete and I needed a set of something to host teenagers for pre-dance dinners (and not embarrass my daughter). Your cupboard looks great. Maybe I will come full circle to that option when I’m an empty nester perhaps. Also loved your post on catholic grade school. I too remember nothing from college. Looking back my 20s were the worst decade. But grade school was full of vivid memories, many involving really really mean nuns who hit kids … a lot. But what fodder for stories! And we had grest neighborhood camaraderie living in what our priest called a Catholic ghetto. And high school with all girls was a blast with pretty nice nuns. The great teachers stood out. Wouldn’t trade any of it.

  2. says

    Such a good idea–I need to lose some poundage, and I’ve been thinking using a salad plate might do the trick (plus, you know, maybe moving a bit).

    And I love that Nico wanted the lime green ones. :)

  3. Leigh says

    We almost always eat on out salad plates too. And our Corelle bowls are mostly surviving our two preschoolers.

  4. says

    Yet another reason I love vintage plates is that they are smaller! I never thought about portion sizes, but the dishwasher is the reason I’ve never gone for today’s larger plates. I have one complete matching set (that I see pieces for in thrift stores all the time), and I have a mis-matched “set” that I’ve been collecting for the past 2 years or so. They are darker and heavier, so I’ve been using them in the winter. Will swap out for the matching lighter ones soon. No practical reason at all for that, and it’s the kind of thing I tend to mock. I just want a reason to collect the plates, because I love them and it’s a pretty harmless indulgence. So WM would approve!

  5. Susan G says

    I like them! I’m in the market for new plates also – we had Corelle growing up, so maybe I’ll look into it buying that. I hadn’t even thought about it. I like dishes with no pattern in the middle. When i was picking out good china for my first wedding, my grandmother said I should try to picture each plate with scrambled eggs on it before I decided. I’m glad she said that, as I ended up with dishes that are ornate on the edge but white in the middle and definitely look better with scrambled eggs. Well, they would if I ever used the good china for breakfast.

  6. Fairfax Avenue says

    Sorry to be negative, but I’m so thankful that I don’t have Corelle any more. It doesn’t chip or crack or craze, but instead when it finally breaks it shatters in to a gazillion tiny sharp edges. Use caution!

    • Amy says

      Yes, that is just what I was going to say. I love the size and weight of Corelle, but they Shatter!!! Be sure to get up all the little pieces!

      I think they used to be a lot tougher, but the Corelle of today doesn’t seem as durable.

  7. says

    My grandmother has a set of Corelle dishes that are as old as my mom, I think and she is still using them. Thus, my mom and I both have only Corelle and I love them. For awhile, I did have a set of their dishes that were heavier and took up a lot more space, but eventually I found my way back to a set very similar to yours. I actually have two different sets that are complimentary patterns to kind of mix it up. I love them and don’t worry about the kids doing the dishes – they’re tough and last forever (at least 50 years in my grandmother’s case.)

  8. says

    Fascinating. Interesting about the size differences regarding plates then and now. I never thought of it before, but now that I do it explains so much. Especially that not fitting into the dishwasher part. Your new plates are pretty– and with any luck you’ll have them for years to come.

  9. Shannon says

    I have plain white Corelle dishes and pretty much love them. I bought ours at Wally World because they sell them open stock and I could easily mix in berry bowls and other smaller sized dishes. They do chip (especially once the girls started loading & unloading the dishwasher) but they are still usable and more importantly, easy to replace w/o buying a whole new set. I love the idea of a small plate movement!!! I’ll be reading more about that today.

  10. says

    I love the look of the Corelle. But I’m really stuck on crate and barrels all white set called aspen. We use salad plate almost exclusively too. Crate and barrel dishes are very affordable so a chip or broken can easily be replaced for 3-5 dollars. I love dish sets, so I also have a colorful set of fiesta ware. And…well a few others too. Not minimalist but I love and use them all at different times.

    • says

      I use Aspen as well. They are holding up fabulously over four years (knock on wood). Funny thing is they are C&B’s least expensive pattern but the one I preferred over all the rest!

  11. says

    I am another salad-plate-as-dinner-plate fan. Our actually dinner plates go on the top shelf and only get used when we have guests who might want to use a larger plater…or if all the small plates are in the wash. :-)

  12. Didi says

    Interesting. I have Fiestaware and the dinner plate measures 10 1/2″ which isn’t so bad. But. I have vintage also and those plates are only 9 1/2″ as well as being flatter so that’s a bit of a size gain. Plus an increase in diameter really does cause a surprisingly large increase in surface area. Maybe I need to start chowing down on my 7″ salad plates.

  13. Shannon says

    And I’m curious, how did you decide on 10 as the magic number for dishes? I’ve been trying to find a recommendation on this for ages. Kills me when glasses are sold in sets of six but dishes in sets of four. Am I supposed to have 12? 8? 16? Ack!!!!!

  14. LauraC says

    Good for you! We are in the middle of an ambitious kitchen renovation (tear-out is Saturday, but we’ve already started some stuff) and months ago I bought new dishes (Ikea, so nothing fancy). I’m excited to open them – haven’t touched them since I got them, and will only do so when said kitchen is d-o-n-e. Our old ones I got for $30 back in 1998. I have a set of 8, but got 12 of the new ones. I’m not ready to get rid of our old ones totally yet, but I’m sure I will. As a first step they’ll go into the basement. I loved, loved, loved them and they were my first kitchen things ever, purchased (at Kmart) after moving out of my parents’.

  15. Marla says

    I bought a set of Corelle around 1979 when I got out of college and I’m still using it. Mine has a blue batchelor button pattern on white and I’ve supplemented it over the years with plain white. I feel sort of lame for using the same dishes for so many years and periodically look around for new dishes but it seems wasteful to spend money on new when there’s nothing wrong with these. I love them! I satisfy myself by buying different glasses every so often.

  16. jasi says

    I was heading to college, away from home for the first time. I was still in college and moving into my first apartment with my boyfriend (now husband). I was in my twenties and getting married. I was moving to my first home. I was moving to a bigger, newer home.

    I’ve always liked thick, plain white dishes. I bought a set serving 20 from IKEA and never looked back. There has not been a single meal or event that didn’t look awesome on it and I’ve never felt that it didn’t “go” with my interior, from cheap castaways and craigslist to more quality and custom pieces. I think I bought them all for something near $25, nearly 20 years ago. They’re still around that price and restaurant quality. One girlfriend used to say “When will you grow up and buy Wedgwood?” It’s not me. It’s simply not.

  17. says

    Oh! This is fantastic. I did something similar with my glassware a couple of years ago. We’d registered for this fancy Bodum glassware and stemless wine glasses that didn’t stack and broke easily and a handful of years into our marriage (we only married in 2007), they were nearly all broken. And I wasn’t touching the wine glasses with the long stems, and I don’t like champagne, so the sheer storage needed to house all these things was insane.

    At my brother’s wedding, we received a gift card from a family member for our wedding, because she realized she hadn’t given us a gift yet, and I ran-not-walked to Crate and Barrel to purchase stacking (rings) glasses (6 tall, 9 short) and 9 stacking wine glasses, and packed the rest up. What took (easily) four full cabinet shelves now fits in a skinny glass-front cabinet right by the sink. And it makes me happy every time I look at it.

    We did well for wedding dishes; I ordered a simple pattern from Macy’s that is plain white and can be dressed up or down, and those all fit in the companion skinny glass-front cabinet on the other side of our stove. They are pretty lightweight (for ceramic/porcelain) and neither too fussy nor too casual. I often eat my dinner off the salad plates, or take dessert or a snack from the saucers.


  18. Karen F says

    I got a set of Corelle plates about 2 years ago, and haven’t looked back – I love them so much! I had kind of forgotten they existed. My family had Corelle when I was a kid, and even though I got the plain white (instead of a pattern), they still seem nostalgic to me – it must be the shape/size/weight. I see no downside to the Corelle plates. They’re kid friendly, they stack neatly (I gained an entire kitchen shelf when I replaced my old plates with these), they don’t show wear, and they’re easily replaced. I bought a set that included mugs – apparently the mugs aren’t made of the same material as the plates, so they break more easily (but I rarely use the mugs, anyway). .Love love love Corelle (and no, I don’t work for them!).

  19. says

    I swear those are the same plates/bowls we had growing up, only our pattern was in that 1970s pea green. I miss the feel of them. They are super lightweight! And they don’t get scorching hot in the microwave.

    Where was this store you went to? *Plotting day trip.*

  20. Kathlene says

    That pattern is “Old Town Blue.” We had a big set growing up and my mom lamented for 10 years that she sold them in her moving sale before coming to California. I thought it was discontinued so I bought a used set last year on Ebay. Yay for outlet shoppping!

  21. sarah says

    Too funny! My family still uses the Corelle plates from when I grew up, so it was really funny to see that familiar first picture. They are SO light, it rocks!

  22. says

    LIFE SAVER! I have been on the hunt for new dishes for a few years now. The dishes we put on our wedding registry were something I picked on a whim that, while pretty enough, do not reflect my style, nor are they microwave safe. However, they at least are holding up better than the plain white dishes my mother in law grabbed for me from Ikea (they chip and scratch quite badly, and pretty much every plain white dish in my house is now marked with grey scratches and several chips).

    I don’t know if there is a Corelle store near us, but I found the pattern I like on Amazon for $27 a set (16 pieces, service for 4) so I’m just going to go ahead and order 3 of those and call it a day. Thank you so much for the great recommendation – I can see from the Amazon reviews that these dishes are universally loved!

  23. says

    I always eat off our salad plates because dinner plates are enormous! I use them as serving platters most of the time. D does chide me if I get out our salad plates when we have dinner guests. I think he feels like smaller plates aren’t hospitable? So that’s our only exception.

  24. says

    Those are the dishes I grew up eating on. It’s the only set of dishes my mom’s ever owned — she’s had them at least 35 years. So I hope yours last as long, too :)

  25. Darcy says

    Those are the plates my parents got before they had me — I am 41! I LOVE those plates!!!
    I NEVER thought in a million years that they still sell that pattern — I can’t wait to call my mom tonight to tell her! Very few have broken, but after all these years, they do have the grey lines in the center, so I know my mom would love to buy a few new ones! You just made my day! Enjoy them for as many years as we have!!

  26. Anne says

    I love my Corelle dishes. I have a fancy set I use a few times a year but I love that I don’t have to worry about my Corelle. Easy to stack, wash, unload, replace, everything. I have the fluted plain white plates so they have a little pizazz but are pretty nondescript. I have a few of hook handle cups in your pattern (found at Goodwill) like my Grandma used to have. They are perfect for eating fruit or ice cream or snacks for the kids. Plus, they double as a measuring cup (gotta love that!)

    Don’t forget to get some bar keepers friend to scrub off any grey marks if they accumulate over time. I do that every few years and mine still look brand new (11 years and going strong!)

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