For the sake of being as clear as possible, I want you to know a more appropriate title for this post would have been Serving Pieces I Cannot Live Without And The Only Ones That I Have Kept For Over Twenty Years Because I Use Them Over And Over Again. Hopefully you can appreciate why I went with a shorter title.
Truly, after twenty years of purchasing and purging through a lot of different serving pieces, these are the nine I cannot imagine doing without.
As I hone my hospitality practice, and as I continue to cook for both large family gatherings and simple weeknight suppers, I continue to grab the same serving pieces over and over. When it comes down to it, the job of a serving piece is to present the food in a way that draws attention to the food itself and makes it easily accessible. These nine pieces hit the mark.
I want to mention two pieces of equipment that I am not including in this line up.
First, white bowls in a variety of small sizes. Ramekins and cereal bowls (both in white) come in so handy in a number of different situations, and I lean heavily on both when serving certain foods.
Second, enameled cookware and cast iron skillets. If I have prepared a soup, stew, risotto, or side dish in enameled cookware (such as Le Creuset), I am going to serve it directly out of the pot in which I made it. The same goes for cast-iron skillets. I find these pieces to be beautiful in their own right, not requiring another serving piece.
That being said, let’s dive in to my collection of Can’t-Live-Without-Them Serving Pieces! You can shop all of these items at the end of the post.
Whether it is for literal water, or perhaps iced tea or a large batch of a cocktail, a pitcher provides a beautiful and practical way to serve beverages. I like this white one but also have a clear slender one that comes in handy too.
I own several cake stands, and all of them have one thing in common: a flat base. The best cake stands are flat and never sloping. The larger the better, and although I own a cake dome, I find myself using is less than you would expect. Cake stands can also elevate other serving dishes on a buffet, adding height and visual interest.
LARGE, BUT NOT-TOO-LARGE BOWL
I own a white bowl that is larger than my largest cereal bowl, but smaller than the shallow serving bowl I will mention below. It comes in so handy for dips, sauces, fruit salad, popcorn, and dinner rolls. It’s just the right size for certain jobs, and I consider it an invaluable part of my serving piece collection.
We all need a beautiful wooden board for displaying appetizers, cheese, or even desserts. I have used cutting boards as serving pieces too, but a long, slender board adds a special touch to a table.
LARGE WHITE PLATTER
Large, white, flat, and free from any distracting patterns, a white platter is the work horse of my serving dishes. You can literally fit two roasted chickens surrounded by carrots and potatoes on one of these platters. Or, you can slice and serve pork tenderloin, short ribs swimming on a pool of grits, or even line up cocktail glasses on them.
SMALL WHITE PLATTER
Equally as handy as the large white platter, but better suited for smaller jobs, I love having a more petite version of my large white platter. Pile up scones or dinner rolls, lay out a vegetable platter and dip, or bring mini meatloaf to the table on a small white platter.
A trifle bowl is a one-trick pony, but when you need it, you really need it. Layered desserts like banana pudding or tiramisu are the obvious choices for this piece, but you can also serve pasta salads, fruit salads, slaws, and some green salads in a trifle dish. Funny, but true, we always store our holiday cards in our trifle bowl.
LARGE WOODEN BOWL
Large wooden bowls are always a bit costly, but they will reward you with years of beauty and service. If you are choosing between two sizes, always get the bigger one. Perfect for tossing salad, large wooden bowls also do double duty holding tortilla chips as well as home decor items like mini pumpkins during the fall months.
LARGE SHALLOW WHITE BOWL
Food always looks beautiful on white serving pieces, and a large shallow bowl beautifully displays pastas, salads, biscuits, fruit, or popcorn. The gorgeous photo in the Sharp Green Salad post shows my favorite white shallow bowl in action.