Dining Basics – Part 3: Glasses, Cups & Mugs

You might notice that my posts in the area of dinnerware are short and lacking in detail. There are good reasons for this.

Number One: I just don’t know that much about these things. To me, plates, flatware and everything else on the table are just practical ways to get the food to your mouth. I am not impressed by fancy china, silver utensils or crystal glassware.

Number Two: So much about these things are so very subjective. As noted in Number One, I don’t care that much as long as the stuff is clean and does the job. But some people DO pay attention. Some even know a lot about these things. I had a friend who collected fine china. Another collected fine crystal. They could talk for hours about the differences between different makers and patterns.

Number Three: Most of us just want decent looking stuff to eat and drink from that appeals to our taste and our budgets. With so many selections available from so many sources, it’s hard for someone like me to really say that much about what you may or may not want or like.

But in this section, we should quickly talk about the basics. We’ve talked about plates and eating utensils. Now it’s time to talk about the drinking stuff.

Let’s start with mugs. These are usually things most people don’t have to buy because they are given so often as gifts. Again, the kind of mug you like will be up to you. Mugs usually are used for hot drinks like coffee, cocoa and even soup. You’ll probably need two or four.

Cups are smaller and usually more delicate. They usually are used for tea or coffee and often come with saucers. These are not really needed for most bachelors. They are usually reserved for more formal situations. Put these on the Intermediate or Host level lists.

The range of glasses is tremendous. There are water glasses, juice glasses, wine glasses, rocks glasses, cocktail glasses, martini glasses and lots more that I can’t think of right now.

With all that, what should you get? I’d start with some basic water glasses. These are the most versatile and be used for everything from ice tea to shakes to cocktails. A basic set of four will do, but more wouldn’t hurt. Plastic will work if money is a problem. It’s also handy if you have someone very young or very clumsy. Glass is probably not too expensive and is the most popular choice. It comes in many styles, patterns and colors. Stay away from metal. Not only will it ruin the taste of many drinks, but will react with some liquids.

If you really want wine or rocks glasses because you would use them a lot, by all means get them. But for many bachelors, these can wait until later. And we’ll talk about them more when we get to our discussions of Intermediate Level kitchen and table goods.