Diner-Unfriendly Dinnerware

I recently found myself at a cocktail party, with a baseless champagne flute in one hand, and a carrot-ginger mini-soup in a mod boxy spoon in the other. What to do? Chug the champagne? I've yet to figure out a way to politely slurp from those so-called spoons, or, manage to politely eat anything messy at because you can't put a baseless glass down before emptying it of liquid.


As I wiped the carrots from my dress, I realized it's not me, but all of the form-without-function, style-without-substance shelves of overdesigned glasses, forks and spoons.


Now, don't get me wrong. I daydream as much as any girl about a kitchen dripping in the sexy curves of Nambe serving trays and the clean lines of Orrefors high ball glasses. But somewhere between all the mini-spoons and coupe glasses, the robot wine openers and stainless steel toast racks, something has been lost in design translation. And that's functionality. 


After remembering more painful memories of party fouls past and hearing more from chefs and foodie friends, I came up with this Dinnerware Hall of Shame.


The offending cutlery, glasses, and trays have been singled out for a number of crimes. Some work against the food and beverages they're meant to highlight, ruining the temperature or the bouquet, or just plain complicating our enjoyment of it. Others failed in the usability department—indistinguishable salt and pepper shakers, wine openers that require an engineering degree to operate. 


The rest are just plain weird:  Plates covered in beetles? Mutant Japanese pasta forks? This list is a plea to all the restaurateurs, designers and party hosts out there. We welcome ingenious and quirky designs, but you must save us (and our dry-clean-only clothes) from ourselves. Keep it simple — and make dining fun again.


Click here to see the Diner-Unfriendly Dinnerware Slide Show.