By Nancy McKeon
NOT EVERYONE shares my enthusiasm for melamine dishes, even during outdoor-entertaining season. But I think most can be persuaded to opt for melamine when it comes to platters. After all, the burgers that have to be walked over from the grill don’t weigh nothing, and the caprese salad can be passed much more easily around the picnic table if the serving tray doesn’t require a personal trainer to heft it.
Here’s a selection of top-quality melamine platters of various sizes. A lot are splashy summer additions to the table, but there are a couple that would blend in with traditional table settings. Note: If there are any Royal Crown Derby or Herend patterns rendered in melamine, I didn’t find them. But some sweet Portmeirion botanicals, and even a William Morris pattern, have found their way onto the picnic table.
From French Bull , the “Sus” platter in cooling blues just begs to be poolside. It’s about 14 inches long by 10 inches, and $24.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond.
UK designer Sarah Campbell has a penchant for masses of florals that find their way into clothing, rugs, glassware and this sweet serving platter for Anthropologie, where she has an exclusive collaboration. It has a bamboo base coated with melamine resin. The center divider can separate the dogs from the burgers or the vegan from the not-so-much-so. At 14½ by 10 inches, it’s on sale for $19.95 at Anthropologie.
Portmeirion’s Pimpernel brand gives tradition a tweak with this “Blue Room Sunflower” Tray, derived from an 1812 Spode pattern. This substantial server is almost 19 inches long and 12 inches wide. It’s $20 at portmeirion.com. Pimpernel also has the beloved “Strawberry Thief” pattern by Morris & Co., descendant of 19th-century designer William Morris, in a handled tray. Same size as above, $30 at the Morgan Library & Museum.
The non-slip Northwind serving tray with handles from Marine Business is as classy as it is serious (think about bobbing boats and the non-slip aspect makes sense). It measures 15.75 by 12 inches and is $68.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond.
This lively guy will wake up the table. By TarHong, the innovative California-based tabletop design company, the Lemon Fresh Figural Platter is 17½ by 12 inches and is $29.97 at Nordstrom Rack. There are also coordinated lemon-pattern bowls and dishes, all in melamine.
Minimalists don’t have to miss out on melamine. The matte-black “Pebble” serving platter mimics the look of hand-thrown stoneware. It’s 15 by 17.75 inches and $7.95 at CB2, Crate & Barrel’s younger sibling.
From Williams-Sonoma comes a platter with a sunny vibe. “Sicily” is a hearty 20 by15 inches and is on sale for $23.96.
Another big statement from French Bull is the “Ring” platter. It’s 19 by 8 inches and $25.75 at Wayfair.
Portmeirion’s Pimpernel brand has also rendered its classic “Botanic Garden” into a handled melamine tray. It’s almost 19 inches long and 12 inches wide, and $20 at portmeirion.com.
From West Elm comes a pair of “Camp” platters, available in charcoal, shown, and a vivid blue, both with overall speckling. One platter is 14 by 9 inches, the other 11 by 7 inches. Coordinating bowls and plates are also available. The pair of platters is $35.
This oval platter sure looks happy-go-lucky. The “H for Happy” Lemon Stripe Melamine platter, is on sale for a very happy $5. It measures 14 by 10.4 inches and can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond.