I’ve been a collector of leaf, lettuce and cabbage ware for many years. There is something neat about serving a cold gazpacho in a cabbage leaf bowl.
A beautiful salad looks correctly “done-up” on a salad plate of green vines and leaves. And who could resist a beautiful plate of pasta primavera served on a dinner plate that resembles the leaves of the lowly geranium. Not I.
Added to the dinner ware are a collection of whimsical salt and pepper shakers that resemble vegetables. Fat red tomatoes, skinny carrots and bunches of broccoli finish off a meal with personality.
Most of what I’ve collected over the years came from spur-of-the-moment purchases. You have to buy leaf ware when you see it because you don’t find it often. I found several corn-on-the-cob plates in the shape of ears of corn several years ago at a thrift shop. I was in tall cotton.
I don’t own a “formal” set of expensive dishes. Instead I have a dozen or so different sets of dishes that I mix up and match when the mood strikes or the thought of serving Mexican food on a beautiful blue and white dish seems correct.
Pottery and porcelain table wares in naturalistic forms such as fruits and vegetables were widely produced in England and Europe throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. A lot of leaf ware that is now out there comes stamped from Portugal. There was an American company, now defunct, called Wannopee Pottery, which produced lettuce ware in the late 1800s and a more costly version that was produced out of Palm Beach, Fla., from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. Those from Florida were a line much prised by the C.Z. Guests and Jackie Os of the world.
Completely out of my reach, I remain thoroughly satisfied with my outlet, thrift store and tag sale sets that continue to make me smile and friends happy when they are invited to dinner, lunch or the occasional breakfast.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is an advanced master gardener.