1. Paper plates may serve as fine dinnerware in the dorm, but a "grown-up" five-piece essential place setting includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, soup/cereal bowl, and teacup with saucer.
2. The large dinner plate is designed for main courses at any meal, while the salad plate (measuring 4 to 8 inches in diameter) can be used for small meals, appetizers, desserts … or salads, of course!
3. Your soup/cereal bowl is also known as an all-purpose bowl, because it's the perfect size for a serving of just about anything - chili, rice, oatmeal, fresh fruit, or ice cream. OK, it might be too small for ice cream.
4. You've been hosting formal tea parties since you were a child, so make sure you can finally realize your dreams with a set of elegant teacups and coordinating saucers. For your everyday morning coffee, however, use a more generously sized (and less fragile) mug.
5. Combine a dinner plate with a bowl and you get a rim soup bowl, which is designed for saucy main courses like pasta or stew.
6. The large, decorative charger plate
stacks underneath the dinner plate and uses a peek-a-boo rim to frame your main course for extra drama at formal meals. Likewise, accent plates can make those fancy cupcakes really stand out.
7. We recommend having service on hand for 8 to 12 people so that you'll always be ready for guests. Many families have both formal and informal dinnerware sets.
8. "Fine china" refers to formal dinnerware in general, no matter what the actual material. Porcelain, a high-fired clay with a glowing surface, and bone china (porcelain with bone ash mixed in for a slightly translucent look) make for the finest fine china.
is made from fired clay that is dense, scratch-resistant, waterproof, and can be used for informal or formal dining depending on the color and design of the glaze.
10. Earthenware is one of the oldest industrial materials in the world and is still the most popular. It's affordable and has a hefty, homespun feel. On the other end of the spectrum, melamine dinnerware (plastic resin) is the modern option for everyday use