Last week Anthropologie was called out on Twitter for its overly twee styling of their dinnerware. The styling includes many examples of food placed near or around dishes instead of, you know, on the actual plate where it belongs. There are mugs filled with marshmallows instead of drinks and, my personal favorite, teeny-tiny pancakes on a plate with the wimpiest bite cut out of them. The styling certainly is not a true representative of what women actually eat on these pretty dishes.
As a food stylist, I understand why brands take these types of pictures to sell their plates, bowls, and mugs — if you cover and fill the things up with food, people get distracted and they don't see the product. The eggs surrounding this beautiful blue casserole dish are supposed to inspire the consumer to imagine what they can make in it, but it's not supposed to be taken literally.
Even if it's not intended, I also understand the frustration around the message Anthropologie's styling might send: You need delicate food to eat on delicate dishes. Having your food take up space or be messy or not be 100% organic doesn't fit into this aesthetic. Forget about that cheesy casserole and put away those chicken nuggets, because those things don't belong on beautiful plates, right?
Well, I'm here to tell you this is one giant lie. You can have beautiful things and eat whatever you damn well want on them. Let me show you how I eat on Anthropologie dishes.
1. Real Women Eat Soup in Their Adorable Mugs
Is there anything better than curling up on the sofa with something delicious while you watch The Great British Bake Off? Nope. And as for the food in these situations, we always go for comfort and efficiency. This is no time to be messing around with some middle-man (aka utensils). Enter: the mug. It's the perfect vehicle for eating soup on the couch.
Eating soup from a mug, like this oversized gold-splattered guy, is at once comforting and highly efficient. And with no spoon to fuss about, it frees up a hand to press pause-rewind-play on every delightfully British phrase issued by Mary Berry.
2. Real Women Eat Pizza on Their Floral Plates
Here's a fun entertaining tip I picked up after reading this post on the art of the crappy dinner party: It's totally OK to just order pizza and make an easy salad for when you're entertaining friends. Also, wine doesn't hurt. Instead of eating the pizza off of paper plates, however, you can use these gorgeous floral plates to make things a little more special.
Do I need to be transported to a lush garden while I eat my dollar slice? No. Do I mind it? Not one bit.
3. Real Women Eat Mac and Cheese in Their Fancy Bowls
Mac and cheese is a quick and tasty meal, no matter your age. It's also incredibly easy to dress up with other ingredients, like broccoli, avocado, or bacon. But just because your food might come out of a box, it doesn't mean you have to eat out of one, too. These bowls with cute animals make things so much better.
So is it possible to enjoy an everyday, full-portioned meal from a beautiful mug, a plate, or a bowl from Anthropologie? Yes! And not only that, it can make the act of eating, something we all do often, feel a little more special.
Turns out, you can have your delicate flower plate reminiscent of the English countryside (which you bought on sale, because you're not a fool), and eat off it, too.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: What Real Food Looks Like on Dainty Dishes