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John
Fiske

Green Plates

I could argue that eating off antique plates is about as green as you can get. Ceramics require a lot of energy to produce, and in the past, this energy was extremely dirty – the Potteries were among the filthiest places in 19th-century Britain. There’s a lot of embedded energy in an antique plate, and it’s dirty energy at that, so the more use we can make of this embedded pollution, the greener we are.

Need another reason? Antique “china” is currently dirt cheap.

There’s another reason that’s healthy for you as well as for the planet. Eating off antique plates makes you slimmer. Yes, read that again.  Brian Wansink, a behavioral economist from Iowa, has just written a book called Mindless Eating. Brian and his team of researchers discovered that people ate more if their food was served on large plates – the plates made the portions look smaller. Obvious, isn’t it?

The researchers were so convinced by their own findings that they all rushed home to swap out their large (i.e. normal size) dinner plates for smaller ones, but downsizing their dinner plates was a bigger problem than they’d expected. Today, apparently, nobody makes nine-inch dinner plates. In fact, the only place where they could buy nine-inch dinner plates, was, wait for it, in an antiques shop!  “Fifty years ago,” said Brian, “when Americans were a lot skinnier, plates were a lot smaller.”

Using antique plates, we are happy to report, will make both you and the planet live longer.