Several outdoor tabletop products have resurfaced this summer that you may remember from picnics with your grandmother. I believe that enamelware, melamine, and rattan have come back into vogue, because they contribute to easy entertaining.
At the core of my summer place-setting is enamelware and cutlery made by The Golden Rabbit. Years ago, I purchased the set because I knew that someday--in the far distant future--the whimsey of the ants crawling across the plates, knives, forks, and spoons would capture the imagination of grandchildren. The far distant future is now, and I was right! The plates and cutlery are favorites of the little people in my life, and they are unbreakable!
Enamelware originated in the mid-1700s in Germany; then it grew in popularity here in the mid-1800s. Do you remember your grandmother's spatterware tea kettle? Well, today, enamelware is manufactured in China and Indonesia, but can be purchased in the United States anywhere from Walmart to Neiman Marcus.
The Golden Rabbit company no longer makes my pattern, but they have replaced it with a vintage-looking spatterware pattern,
A number of companies make enamelware, and the public has jumped back on this bandwagon. No wonder; being shatterproof, it is perfect for outdoor use.
|MacKensie-Childs enamelware available at Neiman Marcus.|
A second easy-to-use staple I have added to my picnic basket this summer is melamine.
|The Food and Drug Administration has pronounced melamine safe for kitchen use |
with the caveat that it should not be microwaved or used for acidic substances.
Neither big kids nor little kids can break these "glasses". However, these aren't your grandmother's melmac dishes. No, they are thinner, have more texture, and come in prettier colors. Actually, they are quite current. I have seen melamine plates and glasses in almost every store carrying summer tableware. Again, this is no surprise. Melamine is light-weight, dish-washer safe, and perfect for easy entertaining.
|Rope pattern melamine on sale now at Pottery Barn.|
|The best chargers for quality and cost can be found at World Market. |
They are well-made, sit level, and are reasonably priced.