underneath it all


I have a stack of 12 round white dinner plates I bought for some catering job 5 or 6 years ago which, when I moved out of relationship and into my new house, I began to put in service for myself. There is also a similarly sized stack of white salad plates, and 12 white coffee mugs. I have now been using these colorless, utilitarian dishes for 2-and-a-half-years.

About a year ago, on a visit to San Francisco, my mother brought with her two orange plates with gently rounded square sides. She had seen them in one of those stores that sells everything from t-shirts to tablecloths to papasan chairs, and because she knows I love the color orange, she saw those plates and thought of me.

I loved them immediately, of course, and trotted them out for hors d'oeuvres when people came over for dinner parties. But because I have other serving dishes - gathered over the years for personal and catering purposes - these orange plates remained largely unused, resting idly to the right of the stacked white dinner and salad plates, that jostle of white mugs.  And for a reason I can't figure out, I never, never ate on them myself.

Last night, though, I realized I'd had enough of my colorless dinnerware. That I am ready for a change in that monotonous, unremarkable white. I want color, a big bright burst of it. I want to really see what I'm eating. I want a sharp and deliberate contrast. I want boldness and shape and strength and joy.

Dinner is so different when orange is underneath it all.

And course, so is everything else. So is everything else.