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Serving Dishes

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Food52's Editorial Assistant (and college student) Brette Warshaw is curating her very own first kitchen -- and she needs your help. Today: what serving dishes does a First Kitchen need?

Serving dishes

Put me in front of a plate of food -- especially a good one -- and it’s clear: I’m an eater.

But as I’ve gotten older, more mature, more self-aware, and more confident -- things that tend to happen when you go away to college -- I’ve found something I love just as much as eating. 

I found out that I’m a feeder.

I love feeding people. I love piling cookies into jars and distributing them in class. I love stirring giant vats of things that smell good, and then ladling them into bowls. I love walking into a room with a tray and watching faces light up. I love sending sheets of things into the oven, and knowing that when they emerge, my friends will start grabbing at them before they hit the counter. (And when I cook for myself, I cook triple, with hopes that my roommates come home hungry.)

I feed people the way I eat: heartily, generously, happily. With gusto. With a grin. 

And it’s hard to feed people without serving dishes. 


Which is why my First Kitchen needs them, lots of them, and ones that fit the food that will be served on them: quirky, mismatched, and functional. The whole plunking-the-cast-iron-pan-on-the-table-and-calling-it-dinner-thing is getting old. I’m growing up, and I need serving dishes to prove it.

My first thought: I need place settings, super-sized. I need a big serving bowl; I need a big serving plate. And since side dishes are usually served in bowls, and so are salads, and so are grains, I’ll probably need three or four. Maybe five. Maybe six.


I’ll also need serving dishes for hors d’oeuvres. I’m a fan of the board method: put a board of something on a table, and watch people gather around it. If the board can also function as a smaller cutting board, even better. This is a First Kitchen, scrappiness is encouraged.


And then there’s desserts. I have a vision of myself in a kitchen with a cake stand devoted to the beautiful-dessert-of-the-week: a layer cake, or a pile of scones, or a nubby, crumby coffee cake. That may stay a dream. Gorgeous cake stands usually don’t live in First Kitchens.

Luckily, I have you: you are seasoned hosts and hostesses. You serve things on platters, not in chipped pans. You are probably hosting a holiday party this season, or you’ve gone to ones that have served as inspiration. What kinds of serving dishes should a First Kitchen have? And what are you serving on them?

Email me at [email protected] with your First Kitchen recommendations -- your favorite tools, your favorite cookware. All wisdom is appreciated.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Entertaining, Burnt Toast Dinner Brigade, First Kitchen