In This Small Kitchen: When to Switch to Paper Plates

Noodle Bar Party

When I think of hosting dinners, I think of Mrs. Dalloway. Everything set up perfectly—platters, food, and flowers—and from that beautiful core, the party flows.

Our parties are a couple clicks more improvisational than Clarissa’s. Sometimes, as I’m running to the supermarket for a last-minute lemon or a roll of paper towels we’ll use as napkins, I wonder how much this matters. From our imperfect core—a delicious if frugal buffet, a policy of BYOB, makeshift seating around the coffee table—good parties flow too.

All of this is to say that though we own some beautiful platters, functional dinner plates, and brand new silverware, plus enough glassware for eight whole people to drink from matching cups, as soon as our group will be larger than six, I switch to paper plates and cups. They’re not pretty, and they hardly set the scene for anything fancy, but since we don’t have a dishwasher, they eliminate about half the post-party clean up. That makes entertaining a million times more fun.

So, I’m curious: when you have friends over, where do you draw the line between attention to detail and convenience? The more I think about it, the more I’m considering taking the leap to using nice-looking paper plates, like Bambu.

P.S. How to host a noodle bar party.

  • Catherine Odson

    I actually use paper bowls for my own meals (breakfast and some dinners) during really busy times at work. One small step for much less stress. I wouldn’t hesitate to use paper plates and cups for any size party, especially if I was still putting out real serving dishes. I only have so much space for drying dishes, so too many dirty dishes = impossible situation.

    • BGSK

      You’re right, it really does reduce the stress of just knowing you’ll have to spend a while in the kitchen washing up.

  • GoodRay

    Up to 5 people I use real plates. After that Number I use those organic/fair trade banana-leaf plates. They are really pretty, sturdy and can be trown in the fireplace (or campfire) afterwards, whitout polluting or stinking too much. Or I serve no-plate food. Like focaccias, quiches and finger food. But I always use real (old non-precious) silverware. If it really is necessary to have silverware at all.
    I like to decorate with different candles , depending on the evening/style/event. For glasses though I’m in conflict. I really like real gasses, but hate broken glass and like to walk around barefoot/in socks..

  • Renia Carsillo

    I keep it simple, true dinner parties–sit around a table and serve courses type parties–get real dishes. Everything else is paper. But this is Florida, where everything is more casual.

  • kiziyepi

    THANK YOU!! This is a very vivid, emotional, and inspiring
    blog post. An excellent motivational read…

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