I AM RELIEVED TO say that there is a Plastics Historical Society based in London and it publishes the Plastiquarian journal twice a year. Why relieved? Because, as unfashionable as this is, I confess that I LOVE PLASTIC! Particularly plastic drinking tumblers. And the very existence of this venerable society and its academic journal makes my enthusiasm feel more legitimate.
This enthusiasm carries over to dinner dishes, but in that case I share my pleasure with a whole horde of people who love to eat outdoors, which is where most melamine plastic serveware is used, and therefore marketed.
(BTW, I don’t understand why people buy plastic for patio and pool, saying people are barefoot out there. From what I see, lots of people are barefoot indoors as well, and our household pets are always barefoot, but so be it.)
Until very recent years, big design brains have not focused on the Melamine Set, if I may call us that. Williams-Sonoma was early into it, selling melamine dinner and serving sets in patterns that mimic vivid Italian or Portuguese faience. There’s lots more out there now, some of it taking itself seriously in terms of price but some inexpensive enough to be an “extra” set for lunches out in the garden.
Come to my house for dinner and I’ll break out the Royal Crown Derby (“Aves Gold”; I’m still missing a few salad plates, if you’re so inclined). But if we sit outside before the mosquitoes swoop in, it’ll be melamine all the way.