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Wood If You Could

July 27th, 2011 Issue dayid

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You can dish it out, no problem. It's the taking-it part that needs work.

Ross Sveback's faux bois dishes can help. The chic, too-cool-for-school plates can handle whatever you want to lay out on the table -- and hit you back with style and wit you'll gladly accept.

Made in England, the fine dishware feature a faux bois (fake wood) pattern that he had to convince the manufacturer would, indeed, be a hit. Ross was definitely right: It's now sold in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and 26 independent stores across the country, including Ampersand. The world's number one fan of faux bois (Ms. Martha) put in a request for it. (You can buy it online.)

Though based in Minneapolis, Ross is a lifestyle expert on WGN in Chicago and constantly offers recipes and ideas on his "Elevate the Everday" blog. Load crock-pot chow mein into the soup bowl. Use the large platter to display a cheese spread.

And when a guest gripes that your chicken is too dry, distract them with hot chocolate topped with a fluffy homemade vanilla marshmallow in a tea cup with the hypnotic pattern.

Serves them right.

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