Unbreakable Plates, Why Melamine?

Unbreakable Plates Melamine Gingerbread Men Pattern

I love unbreakable plates and use them daily for many snacks and meals – it’s not something a lot of people tend to do and I really don’t see why!

Technically, these are break-resistant, not unbreakable.  If you deliberately set out to break one it could be done, but break-resistant means they can tumble around in the cupboards, be packed/stacked and moved easily without fear and you can drop them on the floor and not think “oh no” as they head towards your tiles.

Melamine is a plastic resin made from organic compounds, that’s set at a high temperature. Melamine is 100% food safe, which you need if you’re eating from it! and is naturally BPA free.  Now, I don’t mind about these things (except the food safe bit), but I know some people have other drums to bang 🙂  Under normal usage, they’re fine in a dishwasher too, although I’ve never used a dishwasher so can’t give my opinion on that.

Maybe you think that unbreakable plates are just for picnics, the beach, holiday homes, using on your boat and for kids, but, for me, they’re an essential part of everyday life.  I’ve never been keen on the clatter of china plates being pulled out of the cupboard, or put away – then there’s the “danger” of dropping them, shattering pieces across the floor and making your “matching set” useless.

Melamine Patterned Plates

The beauty of using melamine plates is the variety of patterns available.  There are some smart looking, stylish, patterns – or, for me, I love the cheery scenes as they brighten my day with a bit of “fun with food”

I’m really “against” matching sets for things as a rule.  I like the variety of different plates and patterns, as well as being free of having to think in terms of “complete sets”.  When I look for kitchen plates or bowls, I tend to think in terms of individual pieces, rather than sets of 4 or 6.  I’ve no need for sets, preferring a variety of shapes, sizes, colours etc.  But that’s me 🙂

I do use “proper plates”, but just for hot meals – even then I’ll often use a bowl.  For everything else I find that melamine plates are better for me.  If I’m just wanting to use a plate for a simple sandwich, or toast, for a couple of crumpets or muffins, or to eat a piece of cake or a mince pie at Christmas, then I don’t need a “proper plate”, a melamine’s one easier to handle and use.

If food is cold, or cool, and not messy – it doesn’t need a china plate!  Melamine plates will actually cope with food temperatures up to 100°C for short periods of time, but I see them as a cold food serving dish.

When I visit my sibling’s house, with expensive plates at hand … I deliberately dig out the melamine plates there as I fear chipping or dropping an expensive plate!  I’m a bit like the neighbour of Mrs Bucket trying not to drop the expensive china 🙂

Easier Washing Up

I actually find it easier to grab and wash up a melamine plate – there’s no danger that I’ll drop it and break it, or that I’ll accidentally bash it against the tap and chip it.  I’ve got mild dyspraxia, or “clumsiness” as others might call it, so anything that makes it easier is a win.  I sometimes think “trying to be careful” with better quality and more expensive plates, causes accidents to happen!

In the past, when I was moving around a lot and travelling, it was much easier to pack and carry melamine plates, or even leave them behind, than to pack breakable and heavier plates too, which is how I first discovered the versatility.

Having a melamine plate and picnic plate “collection” means I don’t suddenly find I have to do a lot of washing up before I can eat my meal.  They’re cheaper, per item, than regular plates – and they don’t have to “match”.  I love “cheery” plates, so I’ve a few Christmas pattern plates, with gingerbread men, candy sticks and holly!

Although I’ve also got some simple picnic plates that I’ve used in the past for a similar purpose, melamine are longer lasting and there’s less degradation over the years of the finish and pattern.

Is Melamine Microwave Safe?

No, no, no.  No. Most melamine is not microwave safe.

Although I’m mad for using the microwave and it is a disappointment that melamine isn’t microwave safe, it’s a compromise I’m prepared to make.

If you put melamine in a microwave it’ll go black and bubble up.

However – SOME similar products are microwave safe, so check the individual product information; they’ll always tell you if it is microwave safe, if they don’t mention it then assume it’s not. Not all plastic ware is melamine; there are variations out on the market that use different materials.

What is the Best Melamine Brand?
Most people swear by the Corelle brand for being as close to “proper plates” as possible – this is the preferred brand among the boating and yachting types and those with holiday homes on very smart sites.  Corelle isn’t melamine though, it’s actually made of glass. For me, I’m more interested in the pattern; I’m such a peasant. Corelle has more tasteful patterns, in full matching dinner sets.

Corelle use a glass-based material that is microwave safe, so it’s “posher” than the melamine I buy.  You can check out the full range on Amazon, UK: Corelle
Would I Recommend Melamine?
Yes I would – this is a great kitchen cheat if you’re fed up with washing up – maybe a switch to melamine plates can make your life easier too!

I need some more really, I love the different patterns, so keep an eye out on ebay for melamine plates that catch my eye.