Could dieting be as simple as plate color?

Dinnerware and your waistline

I’ve always looked for an easier way to cut calories and eat healthier and this could be one of the easiest diet tips out there.  Researchers at the Cornell University Food & Brand Lab have uncovered that the color of your plate can dramatically effect your eating habits.  The researchers, Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Koert van Ittersum, set up a test to evaluate the effect that the color of the dinnerware had on the volume of food put on the plate.  The results were astounding.  Participants who had low contrast between their food and the plates they served themselves on actually served themselves 22% MORE food.  In other words – if the color of the food matches the color of your dinnerware, you will subconsciously serve yourself more food.

Imagine what a unique color of dinnerware could do for your waistline over time.  So all I have to do is use Dansk blue dinnerware and subconsciously I will eat 22% less?  Sounds a bit too good to be true.  Well CNN even did a video on the findings.

To quote the article directly.
“Change your dishware to better accommodate your dining needs. If your goal is to eat less, select plates that have high contrast with what you plan to serve for dinner. Want to eat more greens? Try serving them on a green plate! If replacing dinnerware is difficult, remember that tablecloths are important, too. By selecting a cloth with a low-contrast to the dinnerware, you can minimize the effect of the Delboeuf illusion and lower the likelihood of over-serving. Finally, remember The Large Plate Mistake! If you can’t change the color of your dinnerware, using smaller plates leads to choosing smaller portions.”

What do you think?  Is it worth a try?

Dinnerware Musings – The mind of an independent online retailer

Running your own online business isn’t what it used to be, say, way back in 2006.  That’s when I started  Back then there were a handful of us small online retailers that did battle for online sales.  Most were existing retail operators that moved their business to online, but none of the major bricks and mortar companies had found their way just yet – particularly in a slower moving industry like dinnerware and flatware.  Things were pretty good back then. I could work on my online retail business, and by living frugally, I could walk my kids to the bus stop and be there when they got home too.  I didn’t get rich, but it was a business that I really enjoyed.  I like talking to customers about flatware patterns or how to set a table for entertaining.  I made decent enough margins on the dinnerware sets so that I could afford to spend some time on the phone with customers and really providing the customer service that kept them happy.  Well here we are in 2014 and boy how things have changed.  Amazon was the first show up in the searches for just about everything.  Then the big box retailers saw those sales figures and proceeded to make the full press to enter into online sales – and our sales have plummeted. 

Even the manufacturers, like Lenox are now selling direct to customers.  Our sales have really suffered – and I am afraid so has the customer service.  Not only can we not afford to provide the type of customer service that we used to, but I have purchased some tableware items from Macy’s and I must say – their customer service is awful.  I think consumers have just come to expect that today’s level of customer service is satisfactory.  Well 15 years ago it was significantly better.  No one can afford to offer a better experience now days.  Everyone can offer a lower price, but at the sacrifice of service.

Try a search on Google.  Just look for a small unknown URL when you search for keywords like dinnerware, fine china, or even stainless flatware.  All you get are URL’s from the big box retailers.  Unfortunately there is no way us little guys can compete.  We don’t have the advertising budgets, we don’t have the ability to put out press releases every day, and we can’t garner the type of links to our website that the bit retailers can….and so they win.  The big retailer wins again, and the small guy gets squeezed out.  The internet is turning into one big WalMart.  The small, independent Mom & Pop is little by little finding it more difficult to survive.  And I am not sure we as consumers are all the better for it.

However – I am not giving up yet.

by Dinnerware ForLess


Formal Table Setting – Flatware as the Focal Point

Formal Table Setting – Flatware as the Focal Point

We all know the classic formal table setting.  Our parents taught us how to put the fork on the left and the spoon on the right, but sometimes you want to make a statement – even at a formal table setting.

It may be time to embrace a more casual table setting, or at least make the dinnerware setting more memorable – even on holidays or formal occasions. 

Why not make your new flatware the focal point of the table setting?  Any high polished stainless flatware can work, but particularly stunning is the Eternal set from Lenox.
Imaging wrapping the flatware set in a Christmas bow and putting it on top of the dinner plate.  Or maybe set the entire 5pc set of flatware to the right of the dinner set, off-setting the handles just a bit to create some depth perception.   Reed & Barton Country French is perfect.
untitled flatware

For a buffet, wrap each flatware set in a napkin and then tie with a colorful bow to represent the holiday or party occasion. 

It is almost too easy to accessorize your holiday party with ideas that will make a visual impact.  So why not stretch the rules a bit?  I don’t think your parents will send you to your room anymore. 

Dinnerware ForLess


Proper Table Setting This Holiday

I came across this great infographic on how to set a proper table and thought it totally relevant for this holiday season.  With the formal dining season upon us there is no reason one shouldn’t set a proper table with a clear idea for where to put the silverware, dishes and glasses.

Tip hat to

by Dinnerware ForLess

Can I put sterling silver flatware in the dishwasher?

We get this question all the time.  People want to be protective of their sterling flatware and are concerned about using it more frequently.  The answer is quite simple.  “Of course you can put your sterling silverware in the dishwasher.”

I always tell our customers, why wouldn’t you use your sterling flatware more often?  It is beautiful, you paid a ton for it, and you always feel great when you use it.  Now don’t be afraid, go ahead and use it.

Now with that said, we do recommend a few alterations to the typical dish washing procedure. 

  • First – Rinse your utensils thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher.  You don’t want food remnants left on the knives, forks and spoons.  Food contains strong acids and these can discolor your flatware if left stuck to the surface for a lengthy period of time.
  • Second – Use the plastic flatware basket.  You don’t want your sterling flatware to come into contact with any piece of stainless flatware.  It can scratch the sterling and cause additional discoloration.
  • Third – Use a very mild detergent (or none at all), and never use a detergent with a lemon or citrus additive.  The “lemon scent” detergent is VERY harsh (even on your everyday stainless) and will cause quick discoloration.  If you do use a detergent, make sure it is just a tiny bit.  Also, don’t use any detergent with the “little blue crystals” – these will stick to the blade of your knife or the fork tines and cause pitting.  Definitely don’t fill the reservoir.
  • Fourth – I don’t recommend using heated drying.  Others don’t mind and think it leaves a better result, but I have found some of our sterling has a resin near the knife blade, and I know the heat will effect this over time… I just don’t like to do it as I think it leaves more water marks. (Maybe I need to upgrade my dishwasher.)
  • Fifth – Be aware of patterns that may have hollow handles (rather than solid sterling silver).  Some patterns are made with hollow sterling handles (as this reduces the overall cost of the flatware).  The handles are filled with a cement like substance.  The only problem is if the silverware is older it can get cracks and you don’t want water to get lodged in the handle of any piece. 

If your silver is turning yellow… you could be using too much detergent.  The bleach in the detergent may cause the discoloration.  Polish your silver to remove the yellow coloring and use less detergent next time!

So use your silver everyday!  It is beautiful, solid, sturdy and fun.  Don’t fear letting your dishwasher do the cleaning for you.