Charger plates are large plates that go right underneath a bowl of soup or a plate of salad on a dining table. Used primarily for decorative purposes, these plates can definitely make your dinning table look elegant.
Well, it’s been awhile that I have heard or seen the existence of charger plates in the setting of a formal dining table. For once, I had heard from my forefathers that these plates were considered as the most essential accessory for an elegant table setting. Factually, since the later 20th century, such table setting ideas have been set aside. But again, I suppose, this style has been emerging back into the picture slowly and steadily.
Definition and Varieties
Charger plates are ordinary plates which are handily placed under a soup bowl, a salad plate, or a plate consisting of starters. They are larger in size than regular dinner or salad plates. These plates are not used for food, but only for decorative purposes. Charger plates are also known as service plates, underplates, and chop plates.
There are a couple of varieties. Earlier, influential families used gold charger plates, where the metal was simply coated on ordinary stainless steel plates. At times, it was available in pewter material too. Today, they are manufactured by using a lot of materials. Manufacturers have this freedom because food is never directly served in these plates.
The basic purpose these plates solve is of holding plates or bowls. It’s easier for everyone to serve directly in a plate already placed on the table, than arranging plates and then going ahead with the serving. Charger plates also make sure that the tablecloth is kept comparatively clean. On an important occasion, if you are considering using an expensive tablecloth, make sure you bring out your chargers too.
These plates can be used easily to enhance the look of your dining table. A simple, drab-looking table can look striking elegant with a colorful placement of charger plates. Some people hang these plates on their walls, giving their walls a unique, contemporary look.
Sometimes, chargers are heated and then the food is placed on them. This helps the food to remain warm throughout the meal. However, this may not be possible now, if materials such as plastic are used.
Since food is never directly served in these plates, you can decorate them the way you want. Which means, you can use elements that you otherwise wouldn’t on a food plate. Chargers are a must for any household; you never know when you’ll need them.