Summer has officially begun, and you know what that means: Three months of outdoor parties and barbecues. Or as I like to call it, “The Season of Breaking Stuff Outside.”
Before September comes you just know someone is going to break a plate on the patio or bust a wine glass on the porch.
Sure you could use paper plates, but like to cut back on waste when I can. Plus, there are times when you just want something a little classier than a bleached cardboard disk. So here’s a better idea: Invest in some cool, unbreakable dishes that not only help you serve in style, but take the worry out of outdoor entertaining.
Because nothing ruins a party like the sound of shattering dishes — and then all the jerks applauding it.
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Ekobo Recycled Bamboo 4-Piece Place Setting ($40, Food52)
These plates and bowls made out of recycled bamboo are so gorgeous you’ll want to use them inside, too. They come in 7 vibrant colors that you can mix and match, and are made out of renewable bamboo with no BPA, PVC, or phthalates. You may want to snatch these up before I buy them all.
L’entramise Dinner Plates ($1.35, L’entramise)
No one likes doing dishes, and there’ll be those times – large parties, on-site events – when single-use plates are going to be the answer to your prayers. Enter new company L’entramise, which makes an entire line of single-use plates, drinkware and linens all in the most gorgeous colors and prints. I still hate the idea of tossing all of that plastic after one use, but the website claims their products are recyclable so I can live with that.
Rustic Outdoor Melamine Dinnerware ($7.95 each – $124.95/set, on sale at Williams Sonoma)
These look so much like beautiful antique earthenware it’s hard to believe they’re made out of shatterproof, BPA-free Melamine. They’re perfect for your barnhouse-themed dinner — or, if you are actually having dinner in a barn.
American Retro Swimsuit Appetizer Plates (Set of 4 for $14.95, Pier 1 Imports)
I’ll bet you’re thinking of July 4th treat recipes right now so you have an excuse to buy these Melamine plates. They’re just what you’ll need for your 4th of July celebration, Memorial Day get-together or backyard pool party, but I’d use them all summer long. Pair them with these gorgeous reusable Blue Gingham Dinner Plates and there’ll be salutes all around for your retro-cool Americana diner theme.
Caprice Medallion Melamine Bowl (On sale for $5.57, Crate and Barrel)
You’re going to need something to serve that fabulous quinoa salad (or those Cool Ranch Doritos — we don’t judge) and this elegant bowl will do nicely. Your guests will think you’re serving them food in a classy, expensive, delicate glazed ceramic vessel, instead of a classy, extremely-affordable BPA-free melamine one. Shhhh.
Modern White Melamine Dinner Set (12-piece set $24.99, Target)
You can never go wrong with classic white dishes, which makes any kind of food at all look fabulous, from rainbow veggie skewers to grilled chicken, to gooey s’mores. This 12-piece set is made so modern with the rounded square shapes, and will be the set you look forward to bringing out summer after summer. Or beyond. No one ever said anything about putting away the white dishes after Labor Day.
Reusable Organic Bamboo Cutlery Set (2 Sets for $6.95, Amazon)
If you’re being kind to the earth by eating off of reusable dishes, I thought I’d offer up a great option for reusable cutlery, too. This 3-piece set is made out of organic bamboo, and is great for outdoor dining — but also for camping, picnics, and travel. Also, they won’t scratch your brand-new outdoor dinnerware that you’re going to run out and buy after reading this article.
Note: All of the items here are described as “unbreakable,” meaning that they are extremely durable and will not shatter. However, they can always chip or crack if dropped at the right angle on a hard-enough surface.
We also suggest hand-washing Melamine, even if called dishwasher-safe, both for food safety reasons and because it will keep the dishes from breaking down over time and will last a whole lot longer!