Using pretty butter plates on the table is a centuries-old tradition that you can make work in new settings.
Victorian tableware of ceramic, porcelain, glass or even enamel included small plates for butter in the same pattern as the rest of the dishes. Butter was mostly homemade, and served in mounds, not squares or sticks like we see today. In those days, table settings, still called dinner service, included a dish for every part of the multi-course meal. A small indented plate held butter. The dinner service was also often highly decorative. Dining was a form of entertainment then as now, and nice dishes added much to the occasion. A luxurious dinner service emphasized the wealth of the family.
Today, small dishes from Victorian and more recent times can add grace and interest to your dining table. Try setting out a slab of butter on a lovely small plate.
Modern-day uses extend beyond the dining room. You can use one of these small dishes on your dresser to hold bobby pins, rings or co...
On Downton Abbey, afternoon tea is served in the library, with china tea cups. If you feel like your own swing into a country estate lifestyle, serve an elegant afternoon tea to celebrate Mother’s Day. Sandwiches, scones and dainties on a tiered cake plate (Things $20 - $50) make an easy and memorable event.
The tiered plate is more commonly known as a cake stand but, originally, it served more than just cake and saved many steps otherwise required to bring foods separately to the garden(1). For afternoon tea, lay sandwiches on the bottom tier, scones on the middle and dainties on top. Foods can be readied and loaded beforehand so you never miss a word of conversation when serving.
The raised plate gains attention for the yummy foods on offer. Fill the bottom layer with sandwiches containing your favourite fillings: salmon, cream cheese, or super thin salami from La Grotta. Buy ready-made sandwiches if pressed for time. Hungry- or nibble-sized, Sobey’s can supply sandwiches, too. Scon...