As you might have read in these pages, for some years I’ve been using polycarbonate crockery and “glasses” because the real stuff, especially earthenware, is either too heavy, or gets broken too often, or both. China is lighter, but more fragile.
The plates and bowls were originally part of my backpacking kit, promoted to the kitchen.
Polycarbonate, aka Lexan, is pretty much indestructible (it’s used for riot shields, bikers’ visors, bullet-proof screens and crockery for the outdoors community. The latter, though, has vanished, the manufacturer having, perhaps, realised the futility, in terms of future sales, of making a product that was essentially ever-lasting, and gone over to a recyclable version in – and this is my main objection to it – very loud colours. And the glasses weren’t a success, as polycarbonate might be bullet-proof but it is very prone to scratching, so the glasses soon became opaque.
Plates, too, got badly marked by cutlery (bowls not so much, spoons tending to be blunt), and were replaced every few years, But now I needed a substitute.
Melamine crockery is widely available, but all too often in garish colours and patterns aimed at the picnic market (white – and black – can be had, but only in trade packs in multiples of a dozen, no help when I want just 2). And it’s not unbreakable, but it is light.
Then I discovered that Lakeland had picnic crockery that I could live with, as it wasn’t too hideous, in a pattern called, mysteriously, Sea Breeze, which is evocative of neither sea nor zephyrs. Anyway, I bought a pair each of dinner and side plates, and they arrived today.
They look OK, individually packed so they didn’t get scratched in transit. Lighter and thinner than I anticipated – reflecting their picnic origins – but they should suffice as they’re mainly for the occasional guest.
For my own use I have a couple of small polyethylene chopping boards, measuring 25x14cm, which I use as platters for sandwiches, cake, cold pies, or whatever.
I do have another use for the plates, though.
I suffer terribly from insomnia, and most nights I’m up at around 02.30 to get a snack to help me sleep, the big problem being that, by then, my midnight Oramorph has worn off and the experience is agonising.** So now I plan to take a snack to bed with me – a few crackers, some cheese, maybe a tomato, and eat while I’m reading in bed.
** According to one of my nurses, 40ml, the dose I need (but can’t take as I don’t get enough!), to actually bring down my pain to a manageable level – not to eliminate it, just make it tolerable – is the dose common for treating cancer patients; that’ll give you an idea of how bad things are. And last year it was worse.
But back to the plates and, as I said, they are suitably light, but Melamine isn’t unbreakable. It won’t shatter like china, if you accidentally bang it on a tap while washing up, but if dropped on a hard floor, it will probably crack. Even so, it’s cheap and it will outlast conventional crockery (they do mugs, tumblers and bowls in the same pattern), so until and unless Lexan makes a comeback, this will do nicely.
I might even go on a picnic…