The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Hot plates

platesMy maternal grandmother had a bit of a reputation for making a fuss in hotels and restaurants. She would complain vociferously about a nail in her chair or a plate that was inappropriately hot or cold.

During the nail complaint episode she was silenced by being lifted aside, still seated in the chair and then seamlessly and gently deposited into the new replacement chair. Apparently, the operation was as swift and satisfying as a frog catching a fly.

The incident that was flared by strawberries being served on a warm plate was not so smoothly managed.

My grandfather kept a little black book with the names of hotels and restaurants that they couldn’t return to. Eventually the list must have filled several little black tomes.

Danny doesn’t make a fuss if I’ve forgotten to warm the plates for a meal but everything is put on hold until the plates are warmed. I can understand where he’s coming from – they are a key element that add the gloss to a meal.

Warm plates with hot food, a large glass of wine, good conversation. The latter is never guaranteed over our mid week suppers when there it’s just the two of us but I have grown accustomed to his penchant for warm plates. And now I appreciate them. A small but perfect touch.

If we are eating elsewhere and the plates are cold my antennae instantly twirl remembering his comment about cold plates.
“The juices chill, the meal is only at it’s best for a few minutes, and then it’s like eating greasy leftovers.”

In an ideal world, Danny’s plate would sit on a plate warmer. He’d probably get repetitive strain injury accessing the plate but he would be happy. He never makes a fuss in a restaurant or hotel but I’m sure that he has a virtual little black book where these things are noted. And somewhere in the fuzziness of my mind they are probably inscribed too.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Richard

    You were right.

    Hot food needs warm plates.

    I have always found warm plates but have complained about wine. I’m not a prinky Wineuse- just know what to expect. Badly stored wine can ruin a meal.
    “Do I/don’t I complain?”

    If I don’t have the neck to complain I never, ever go back. If I do mention it I risks the wrath of the manager – even in ‘good’ restaurants, where the bottle is replaced in a trice. Bad wine like cold plates happens, once in a while. But cold plates should never be part of a restaurant. Apart from summer restaurants serving salad and shellfish.

    If you are reasonable, restaurants exist to serve you.

  2. Richard WIlliams

    I complained in a restaurant last night as the plates were cold and the bowls that carried the curry and rice were also cold. I wasn’t sure if I was a little out of place (I never complain, I usually just grin and bear it) but I am glad to see there are others out there just like me! It just seems careless.


  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jane

    The best treat of all are chilled glasses for the ultimate in cold summer drinks!

    Glad that you are enjoying the blog.

    Hi Pamela

    I so agree about air conditioning in restaurants. I hate feeling chilly too.

    Love the story about you warming your cup and your Dad insisting that tea should be drunk scalding hot.

    I like cold tea (tea that has left to go cold).

    Hot plates to make a big difference to the enjoyment of a hot meal. Particularly at the serving stage.

    Hi Michelle

    My grandfather was a very patient man as my grandmother was a bit of a handful.

    In the end they didn’t go out much as there were few establisments that they could visit!

    Hi Pat

    So pleased that you enjoyed the tale!

    Hi Amanda

    I think that men are possibly a bit more obsessed than women over this issue! I prefer warm plates with hot food but the meal isn’t ruined if I don’t get one. It’s a disaster for D!

  4. Amanda

    When we used to rent the barn there was an old cooker that had a hood that got warm no matter what part of the cooker you were using. I used to put the plates on the tob and they’d warm through. Hubs having grown up in Spain was not accustomed to warm plates but grew to love them. When the babies were born I suddenly ate food cold or luke warm and learned that I didn’t mind what temperature my food was so long as I could eat. Hubs on the other hand, oh no! If I serve a meal on a cold plate it goes down as if I’d served a cup of cold sick. If he notices that his plate isn’t being warmed and I’m about to serve up he has to quickly jump into action adding hot water, or if the oven is on shoving it in, or balancing it on the top of bubbling pans. I’ve never quite got my love of warm plates back and now prefer my food served on a cold plate. Odd but true.

  5. I got a kick out of reading about your grandfathers black book. Still giggling here.

  6. michelle sheets

    Hi Fiona,
    One of the things I love about your posts is how many facets they have, and the one I find myself focusing on is your Grandmother. She sounds like quite a woman! Someone who was not shy about wanting things exactly the way she wanted them. Your Grandfather must of been a very patient man. It would be very intereting to know what the final tally of restaurants they weren’t welcome in was!
    I do agree with the hot plate issue, it is very dissapointing to get a salad on a plate fresh from the dishwaher, and a hot fish dish on a cold plate, yikes!

  7. Pamela

    I like to warm the cup before pouring my tea – not really sure why as I then wait until the tea has cooled considerably before drinking it. This used to drive my Dad mad as he would drink his tea scalding hot and be finishing his second cup (he always drank two cups)while my first remainded untouched. He would never fail to point out that my tea was going cold and this barely 10 minutes after it was poured. However, the thing I really object to is being seated under the air-conditioning unit in a restaurant which is guaranteed to render any food placed on the table stone cold in seconds. So I’m with Danny on the need for plates of an appropriate temperature although sometimes it is really hard to drag a large pile of hot plates out of the back of the bottom oven of the Aga at my Mum’s.

  8. moggymerlin

    Hot/cold plates – oh how familiar. I too cringe when they are the wrong temperature. It seems so important and such a simple thing to achieve. The same applies to a warm glass straight out of the dishwasher for a cold summer drink. Thanks for a great blog. Jane.

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