It seems that nobody takes the time any more to set a table for dinner in today’s whirlwind world of fast food and microwave ready-made meals, unless the in-laws or the boss or somebody else that has to be impressed is coming over. Yet it is quite nice to sit down at a table now and again and to be served from a serving dish. This kind of special dinner need not be the whole shebang with half-a-dozen knives and forks, crystal glasses and the expensive porcelain! In fact, each setting can be just a plate, knife, fork and paper napkin (that only takes a few minutes) and the meal in a one step serving piece that goes from the oven straight to the table, and afterwards if anything’s left, back to the refrigerator. This leaves the cook with a minimum of washing up and the glow of having made an effort to serve the meal in a way that speaks of caring!
The serving dish
A one step serving dish is the ideal way to make a stew, casserole, pie or even grilled or roast chicken or meat with some vegetables without generating a load of dirty dishes – which is one of the main reasons why cooks do not go to the trouble of serving food at the table too often. The best kind to buy is a lidded casserole of a size sufficient to feed everybody in the family. This kind of serving dish is versatile as well as good-looking and often becomes a favourite utensil. Corningware is probably the best-known manufacturer of these kind of dishes and is not restricted to the old blue flower pattern any more.
For ease of cleaning a round dish is more convenient since it has no corners where the food sticks, but square or rectangular dishes do look more formal. A glass lid is more practical since the food is visible and can be checked for readiness without having to remove the lid and risking a steam burn.
Another one step serving dish which would look good with rustic pottery or earthenware plates is the roman clay pot. This is a rectangular clay pot with matching lid that cooks food without water and, it is claimed, results in healthier food. It takes a while to get the hang of it but there is a recipe booklet included which covers meats as well as vegetables. The best-known brand is Romertopf and they are very durable, good-looking pots.
In summer a good lunch can be served by placing assorted cold meats, cheeses, olives, small tomatoes and other finger food on a big wooden board. Decorate with fresh herbs and sit outside. Healthy as well as conducive to conversation!
The same old boring meals can be transformed into something special and interesting without creating a lot of washing up by using one step server pieces. Let the imagination free and enjoy!