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Sprucing Up your Serveware Collection

he ultimate hostess makes entertaining look easy, and with an eye for detail she can make her guests feel she spent hours preparing. But even the simplest last-minute hors d’oeuvres like sliced fruit, chips and dip or charcuterie of aged cheeses and meats are impressive when served on beautiful serveware.

As a matter of fact, a study conducted at City University of NY found that people waste more food when eating with disposable plates and actually eat more when offered permanent plates.

This means that having the right serveware handy is an important component to any soirée.

Step one to building your serveware collection is to find out what you need. Unusual pieces that can be used for different functions are always a good idea.

Platters can be used for many purposes and even gravy boats can be used to pour chocolate sauce or hollandaise. Olive boats can serve as a lovely way to serve nuts or fruit. Shop for antique, vintage or mid-century modern pieces online or consignment shops or visit a museum for unique ideas.

Get creative. Here are a few things you might need:

CHEESE/CHARCUTERIE BOARD

Whether it’s marble, stone or wood, these make an elegant way to serve appetizers or main events. Spread meat, cheese, fruit, nuts and more and it looks like you’ve worked all day.

SERVING UTENSILS

Oversized forks are helpful when serving meat, while large spoons work well for most sides. Think about colorful tongs for salad or pasta or a ladle for soups and stews.

PITCHER

Use a fluted or colorful pitcher for iced tea, punch, margaritas or even filtered water to take it up a notch. It also doubles nicely as a flower vase when not in use.

DUTCH OVEN OR CASSEROLE DISH

Not only do they make life easier by serving as both cookware and serveware, but these can make a beautiful accent on the table in bright orange or peacock blue.

CAKE STAND OR PIE PLATE

Add a bit of flair by using a cake stand instead of a plate. And don’t forget that doughnuts, cookies, bars and cupcakes look equally elegant atop a lovely cake stand. For pies, ditch the usual baking dish for a sturdy colorful ceramic version.

Consider small additions that make a big impact.

There’s no need to go overboard and buy everything; even minor touches can turn the event into something special. Think about an unusual butter keeper on the table, a ceramic or metal taco stand, a bamboo sushi tray or multitiered serving trays. Guests will feel pampered by the pour-over coffee stand rather than your standard coffee machine.

Whatever you choose, make it your own.

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