Back in the day everyone ate meat and potatoes at dinner with cooked vegetables. Families could store carrots or turnips, root vegetables that keep well, but fresh vegetables like green beans in the winter were unheard of. Moms knew they needed to serve their family vegetables so they canned as much as they could themselves or bought “store bought” canned goods.
Everyone boiled vegetables. And boiled and boiled them until they were limp. I remember my Dad saying his mom used to cook cabbage till it was soggy. That’s a lot of cooking!
Now visualize how you will serve this. Meat was expensive, so frugal moms made it go a long way and served potatoes and bread with the meal, along with those nasty overcooked vegetables. One way to make food stay more appetizing and make small portions look larger is to serve on a divided plate like this one. This is the Mayfair or Open Rose pink depression glass grill plate from Hocking Glass.
Grill plates like this are among the signature pieces of the depression era. You can find a few later patterns with divided plates made from both glass and china, but the style was less common for home use after about 1950.
I did a quick check of the larger depression glass patterns and most, but not all included grill plates in their line up. Most of the grill plates are sized about the same as the dinner plate in the same pattern, but a few are larger. The Mayfair one shown is about 9 1/2 inches wide, about the same as the dinner plate. The Cameo grill plate is 10 1/2 inches wide with a big rim. There are several Cameo dinner plate styles, but the one we consider a regular dinner is smaller, only 9 1/2 inches.
You can make quite a rainbow of grill plates. Here’s an amber Patrician plate from Federal.
Grill plates can be bargains, often quite a bit less expensive than the dinner plate. The Mayfair one shown is under $35 including shipping and the Cameo is under $25 with shipping in our store.
Even though we know how to prepare vegetables so they taste good, and we can get fresh ones year around, grill plates are fun and a touch of vintage for dinner.