Big, Bigger, Biggest – How Did We Get To Be So Big??

Recent discussions about beverage serving sizes and what our eyes get used to at The Atlantic made me recall this post that I started six months ago when contemplating the role, if any that crockery size may have on the amount we actually eat and drink. I’ll fess up now to being a bit of an orphan plate and cup collector, especially if those orphans are fabulously handpainted junk shop pieces from the fifties and sixties. What I have learned over the years of collecting bits and pieces from that era is that they are most definitely smaller that what we think of commonplace nowadays.

I see the growth of the dinner plate as a flow on from what I call the restaurantification of domestic kitchens with commercial style kitchen ware, complete with the giant plates that first graced our tables as we embraced the haute cuisine trend of miniscule servings of apparently exquisite morsels presented on a 30cm expanse of gleaming white china. Remember those artfully arranged trios of carefully blanched baby green beans placed just so across a minted roulade of organic watercress, dusted with dessicated fairy tears and a jus of seaweed foam…The irony of all that “stacking” isn’t lost on me – acres of plate real estate and we go upward!

What we seem to have done now though is ditched the miniature food and kept the plate, and now it’s become the common dinner plate – so much so that manufacturers of whitegoods (stainless steel goods?) like Fisher and Paykel have expanded the size of their dish washing machines to accommodate the mammoth platter sized dinners plates that have become commonplace in our households. The smaller patterned dinner plate below is from the early sixties. The big white one is from 1988.

 And so with beverages –

 And noodles, pasta and soup and cereal.

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