Snack Sets or Party Dishes – What Are They?

My grandmother had a set of rectangular glass plates with small punch cups. We always called them party dishes

The plates had a little indent to fit the foot of the cup, to help keep it on the plate.

The cups were small, about 4 ounces, because they were intended only for punch. The plates were about 12 by 7 inches. Guests might sit at a table, or just as likely carry them around. The shape made them easier to balance on your lap while eating.

Party dishes were often used for wedding showers or receptions, christenings, anniversary parties or even ice cream socials. Remember those blocks of vanilla ice cream decorated with a single color stencil?

Of course their use was not limited to those events, but generally snack sets were designed to use at events where there was a limited menu, or a few desserts and appetizers.

Snack sets made in fine china, porcelain or stoneware often, but not always, have round plates. The cups are intended for tea or coffee, so they are a bit larger than the glass cups, yet not as large as more modern coffee cups. The plates included with these sets are often 9 or 10 inches in diameter.

Use snack sets any way you like.

The fashions and uses of snack sets may have changed, but their charm has lost no luster. Let them help you serve an intimate tea party, reception or shower, or a ladies afternoon or evening party. Vintage and old fashioned, with timeless beauty and style.

About the dishes, clockwise from upper left: Soreno in green by Anchor Hocking, Azure by Jonas Roberts (Mikasa), Inland Sea by Laurel, Colonial Lady by Anchor Hocking, White china set by Starbucks.

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