Can I have a plate with my meal, please?


Dear waiter: Can I have a plate with my meal please? Just a plate. Preferably a round one. Definitely not square, and i’d rather not a ridiculously thin rectangular one. Just a plain old plate. Actually, it could be patterned. I’m okay with that. Flowered or flecked with colour is fine, too. It could have a deep rim, a dimpled rim, or be more of a shallow bowl kind of thing. I really don’t mind. It could be made of bone china, chunky ceramics, be hand-crafted, or mass produced. But i’d like to have a plate, please.

Not a small chopping board, or rustic piece of wood. It’s no longer trendy; time to find another bandwagon to jump on. That piece of slate you served my steak on recently was just plain wrong. The steak knife that you kindly supplied (many restaurants don’t bother, I know) scraped across that piece of slate like finger nails on a blackboard. And I could have turned a blind eye to the faux baking tray you served my burger and chips on last week, if you hadn’t also used it to serve the paella.

I like the concept of serving certain dishes in the paraphernalia they’re cooked in: ochre coloured terracotta bowls for tapas, garlic prawns served sizzling in a small pan, stainless steel ‘balti’ bowls for curries — as long as plates are provided to eat from. But since when was paella made on a baking tray? Plus, that tacky piece of tin had no grip and spun annoyingly on the table top every time food was extracted from it. Stop trying to be trendy. You’re mostly just behind the times. Just give me a plate, please. Any old plate will do.



Filed under Reflections

32 responses to “Can I have a plate with my meal, please?

  1. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things

    Excellent! I’m not a fan of those slate tiles either… or the boards, actually… who knows how thoroughly they have been cleaned!


  2. Samantha Gowing

    Well said!
    I’ve been waiting for someone worthy to speak up and announce once and for all that we are officially bored with the board.
    Show us a china plate, Mate.


  3. Wayne

    I think its time banana leaves made a comeback. And call me square, but I still like those wooden boards 🙂


  4. Hopefully the jam jars and Mason jars for drinks (and salads!) will be shown the door soon too.


  5. Heh, I don’t mind non-plates, but yes, they should be functional.


  6. Amen! I got a steak on a chopping block the other day that drove me nuts. I asked the server if anyone else complained about eating counter-top style and what happened to plates?

    He said that it was trendy and for me to get used to it. He said it was all Jamie Oliver’s fault. I reminded him that Jamie serves his food on those things but he eats off a damn plate.

    Great post!


  7. Absolutely agree … novelty in dining as in anything just for the sake of novelty never really succeeds. Interestingly any kind of food looks at its best on a plain white china plate, I think. Forget the slabs, slates, jugs, jars and all that nonsense.


  8. Hahaha…had enough of stuff coming out on a Jamie Oliver inspired bit of wood? Pete once had a work colleague from Hong Kong, and every week they’d go out to an Indian restaurant for lunch. Without fail, Andrew would whinge like mad that they were serving him curry out of a dog bowl.. 🙂


  9. what a funny post, and everyone’s comments, too! i’ve seen the jam jars for coffee and they look silly! but i’ve never seen a baking tray for a plate – it’ all the fault of food stylists, surely, tryign to outdo one another with photos spreads that look ‘cool’ or ‘cute’ or – whatever! thanks for a good chuckle!


  10. Thought you might like this – it’s an article on beef stew the way it’s meant to be but at the end the writer makes a similar point about a bowl.


    • Great piece – thanks for sharing. I guess there are lots of ways to interpret dishes and that interpretation also plays a role in presentation … some i can appreciate, some i can’t.


  11. Lol. You cracked me up! I do like shooting on slate plates though – the dark grey tones can work really well with brightly coloured food. But chopping board are annoying to both eat and shoot on.


  12. Lol – great point food sage, although I do appreciate inventive food presentations. 🙂 How about paper plates, vintage plates or perhaps wooden plates?


    • Inventive food presentations are all well and good as long as they’re also practical. I love a place that uses vintage – even un-matched second hand – crockery. I love thinking about the stories behind the pieces.


  13. Paella served in a paella pan, tagine served in a tagine, and so forth? No problem. But I agree, the rectangular patio slate with ice cream on it isn’t exactly functional. In some cases for me it takes away from the labor and skill of the chef. Not to say that I don’t admire creative presentation! But function does need to be considered.

    May I also add to this discussion: Dear waiter, can I have a glass with my drink, please? Not a jar, or a can, but a glass.


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