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-

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