Blanc dishes are the blank canvases at restaurants. Like bright-hued brushstrokes, menu items stand out like an artistic composition on each white plate. Salads look so green, carrots so orange, cranberries so red and, well, you get the picture.
“You notice the food, not the plate,” says chef Renee Kelly of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Shawnee, Kan. “That’s why white dishes are synonymous with restaurants. They just work.”
For similar reasons and beyond, white dishware is a practical choice for the home, especially when entertaining.
It’s easy to find. Every store that carries housewares carries a wide array of basic white dishware. Some have an entire aisle or section dedicated to white.
Unusual pieces save it from being dull. In serving pieces, swooping oval bowls reminiscent of midcentury modern tableware are available at Bed, Bath & Beyond; Crate & Barrel; and Stein Mart. Pier 1 and Crate & Barrel sell small white plates for hors d’oeuvres and tapas.
It successfully mixes and matches. If you’re low on plates or serving pieces, guests can supplement with their pieces for Thanksgiving so the meal presentation doesn’t look like a mishmash. Just be sure your guests’ names are taped to the bottom of the dishes: That’s how well they blend in.
How to warm up white
Choose linens in a different color. White dishes with white napkins and a white tablecloth can come off as intimidating when brightly colored food is passed around. Renee Kelly often uses tea towels as napkins with white dishes when she entertains at home. “It makes white more approachable.”
Add chargers or placemats. Their texture and patina can soften white. Gold, out of fashion for years, is making a comeback and gives white a glow.
Mix in vintage. White dishes, even if they’re a few decades old, can look new and a bit severe. Kelly will use heirloom glassware in different colors with white. “It looks beautiful, and there’s a family connection.”