The dishwasher, the convenience of conveniences. Stack the dishes in, press a button and in a little while everything is sparkling clean, ready to be put back in it’s proper place. Saves hours of time, loads of water, some money too and many a homemakers’ frazzled nerves and aching feet.
Enter fine china. Most fine china patterns, until recently, could not be used in the dishwasher. Dishwashers are too rough, causing loss of trim and fading of their beautiful designs. Some dishwashers do have “fine china settings” that supposedly allow for china washing, but I’m not sure I’d risk my valuable place setting of Royal Doulton Sarabande or Lenox Windsong there. And a risk it is. I recently used my dishwasher on a set of four rectangular glass bowls each featuring a different color trim. After a few uses in the dishwasher I’m close to having four colorless glass bowls. It just rubbed the color right off.
This inconvenience/hardship has contributed greatly to the decline in fine china use in America nowadays. Many people would love to use their good china sets more often but forgo it reluctantly because they cannot bear the post dinner cleanup. Out comes the Corelle or some other plain-but-easy alternative. Which is a great shame. Fine china adds so much to the decor, to the atmosphere of a meal, that to lose this delightful ambiance due to outdated china making processes is a self-inflicted shot in the foot by china makers. It may have been fine in the 1950’s but in today’s convenience generation it’s a no-go.
The china manufacturers are beginning to wake up. Most of what Lenox makes today is safe for the dishwasher and many companies have followed suit. This may lead to a resurgence in the use of fine tableware to the great benefit of couples, families and us all.