Friday, November 18, 2016

The Loaner

Keep a small pocket knife in your collection of guest amenities. Back yourself up at airport security by carrying a self-addressed padded mailer for items that won't pass inspection -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Vital Sign

The amount of edible food that goes into the compost receptacle is an unerring indication of how the household is being managed. The USDA web site lists shelf lives of various products. Now and then I am horrified by a listing.

We are fortunate to be able to have too much food on hand to eat it in a timely manner. Being careful about the timing of procurement means eating good ingredients at their freshest. I don't much worry about the composition of an informal meal any more-we just eat what's on hand, knowing it's tasty and taking satisfaction in not adding unnecessarily to the massive energy consumption it takes to bring a calorie to the table -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Field Skills

Concerning an off-grid Thanksgiving dinner for twenty, a gifted local hostess observed, "I've done that. I know how. Let's do something else." -30-

More after the jump.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Grandmother's Dishes

A dear neighbor looked around her dining room and observed that she never used her grandmother's place settings because they couldn't go in the dishwasher. Then she, the last person in the world I ever expected to say such a thing, declared that this will be the year the best goes on the table.

A young friend known for joking about a fussy tabletop recently married. After planning table settings for ninety, he was able to empathize.

Etiquette maven Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, recommends setting a proper table once a week, "Wednesday best" if another day is not convenient. I find it efficient to set a careful table now and then, because doing so ensures that the best dishes and flatware are clean and ready to use at any time. I reshelve to the bottom of the stack to make sure things are rotated.

When I was young and even more foolish, vintage damask linen napkins from a thrift shop were cheaper than paper. For a while, I ironed the hand towels I set out in the powder room. The behavior was not rational in a contemporary economy, but it was a genuine pleasure to dry my hands -30- More after the jump.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Grunt

Chatting with an acquaintance, I learned that she had Mayflower ancestry. I also learned that, from her perspective, anyone who came over on a later boat, even the next one, was a "grunt", "immigrunt", she explained. A Mic-Mac liked to joke about his people meeting the vessel -30-
More after the jump.