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HENN dinnerwareOne of the staples of any kitchen is its versatile dinnerware. Stoneware (also called potteryware) is just one of those must-haves that combine strength with being microwavable, ovenproof, and dishwasher safe, but finding reputable manufacturers who can bring all of that to the table with good design sense are hard to find. One company, HENN Workshops in Warren, Ohio, began with a couple’s dream of furnishing their new home with antique collectibles that they could use every day. Unfortunately, that dream came with a huge price tag as well as the fear of breakage with collectibles. Even finding reproductions was problematic, so in 1982 Jerry and Cherie Henn decided to create their own handcrafted designs in a small workshop in Jerry’s farm, which his family had owned for five generations.

Today, HENN Workshops have 300 craftsmen in three manufacturing sites in Ohio and Pennsylvania. They are producing sturdy potteryware that would make our great grandmothers proud to use, but can be popped into the oven or in the microwave. And, most importantly, you can put them in the dishwasher without guilt. The dinnerware, in speckled pattern and jewel and pastel solids, is complemented serving pieces that fit every family’s needs. They have platters, giant spaghetti bowls, condiment crocks, and even baskets and tiered wrought iron holders that the dinner plates and serving bowls fit into.

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Salad PlateSummer is just the right time to show off your artistic side, not only in an edible collage of colors, tastes, shapes, and textures in your salads, but also in your tableware.  Though a colorful salad will look good on any plate or bowl, sometimes you just want to make a more intense visual splash at the table. Salad plates are just one way to slow off your creativity. Smaller than a dinner plate, salad china can match your dinnerware or they can be bold solid colors that complement your tableware.  Mediterranean designs and rustic stoneware can also add a summer feel to your salad course. But, serving up a green salad on a sunflower-painted plate or putting a pasta salad on a plate that looks like a cabbage leaf will get your guests talking. This is an especially nice touch to do when you are hosting a summer luncheon or tea. And, if you are having trouble getting your youngsters or even your spouse to eat their veggies, put your salads on red or red-orange plates.  Psychologists say that these warm colors stimulate the appetite.