sturdy inexpensive dinnerware

dowbrightApril 20, 2013

We are installing a tiny kitchenette for guests downstairs, which leads out to our deck. We need plates and bowls, but I don't want them breakable, since they'll be eating outdoors almost all the time. Or at least they should be able to avoid easy breakage.

I haven't bought kitchen things for decades. What kind of material should I look for? Long ago there was something called Melmac that might have worked. I know nothing about this, and feel stupid even asking...but I'm not finding anything that sounds useful when I search. Any suggestions?

I could just use paper items down there, since it's a vacation place...but that bothers me because of the environment. What do you guys think? We were so lucky to move to a small lake home, despite never having much money. Who knew at my age I'd run into worries like a young woman just starting out would have?! :D (We love it here!)

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I would get the Corelle by Corning dishes. They are pretty and break resistant. I have used them for years. The only piece I have every broken was one I sat on the top of a hot stove top. Walmart sells some of it by the piece if you don't want a complete set.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:14PM
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I had melmac in 1966, and Corelle in 1986. Melmac will 'wear' and scratch over time, and the coffee cups can get pretty stained looking. Loved the Corelle, and very sturdy and durable. It is also at Corning outlet stores.

Were it me, I would put both paper and Corelle (or whatever you choose) there and let them pick how much cleanup they want to do.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:33AM
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I agree with the other posters. Corelle is light weight and easy to care for. I also have a set of temptations (qvc) purchased and I use it for outdoor use. Comes with 8-10 dishes and 3 various size bowls and a large container to use for whatever and a tray for a lid. Very compact. Various colors and designs.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Another vote for Corelle. Corelle is lighter and thinner than stonewear or china so when you stack it in a cupboard, it stacks lower.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I don't know about every one else, but something pretty/nice makes me feel good, it gives me a lift. I think it shows the hostess cares. I have Corelle's apple design.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:12AM
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The modern equivalent of melmac is melamine, I think. I don't have any, so I can't answer as to how it wears.

I've had the Corelle and while it can be broken (it does not fare well when used as a hockey puck), it is pretty sturdy and very suitable for guest quarters.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:24PM
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I love the Corelle too. Lots of nice, cheery designs, and it takes up very little space when stacked. Not sure if anybody else has mentioned it, or if it matters to you, but last I knew they were still made in the USA.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Some of the new melamine dinnerware sets are really pretty!

This one's really pretty!

Pottery Barn has a ton of them, but of course so do other people whose prices might be a bit lower. JCPenney has a couple of more modern-looking ones.

I know Corelle is really tough as well, but I confess that I always feel nervous about whether it will break, simply because it feels like glass.

One downside of melamine is that you can't put it in the microwave.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Melamine also scratches, although the new may not. I just try to stay away from plastic if I can. I do use it for storing dry stuff but never liquid. Usually I don't look at things as expensive or cheap, I do in this case. Plastic look cheap. Glass looks so much cleaner and nice.

Now if they are going play Frisbee with them, go with the plastic.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:06PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

One hint, if it is going to be used outside, do not get white. When I have used my white dishes outside, the reflection is blinding. I think that glass plates could be lovely. While anybody can break a plate, if it is not mainly kids using them, glass should be fine. If kids are involved too, some melamine to mix it up would be nice.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:36PM
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My local Goodwill stores frequently have pieces of Corelle for sale. They sell the dinner place for 99 cents and the other pieces for less than that. If you visit Goodwill often, you could put together a set for very little money.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 6:02PM
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