Friday, January 11, 2019

Breakfast At The Jewelry Store

The high-end design outfit in New York is offering a series of utilitarian tabletop amenities recreated in porcelain and precious metal. Just one of these things is enough to communicate to guests that one does, indeed, know good form and that one has the courage of one's convictions -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Mess Kit

Not long after an acquaintance who often visits France told me that it is now customary for restaurant patrons to carry their own flatware and napkin, I finally managed to find a coffee mug that slips neatly into my side bag. Armed with that mug and a clean cotton handkerchief, I shaved thirty seconds off my entry and exit times in my regular coffee place.


It wasn't long ago, relatively speaking, that guests at a generous medieval table toted their own flatware. Dishes weren't an issue, since people put their chow in sturdy small loaves of bread. When I contemplate the tabletop inventory, I think of these things. It's quite a statement of prosperity to be able to set a full table for a family, much less a crowd -30-
More after the jump.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Something Real

Edible sculptural confections decorated medieval tables. Of the custom, marzipan fruit remains. It is hard not to imagine that the insipid porcelain figurines of the eighteenth century might have been low-maintenance versions of the same thing, designed to support households that preferred not to carry a sculptor on their kitchen staff. I speak as someone who bit into a styrofoam bell from her wedding cake.

I can see that it might be irresistible to model a porcelain basket after one woven genuinely out of plant material or to throw a vase in the shape of a gourd. A gourd itself might be just the ticket for a one-shot version of that vase.


The simple kraft paper shopping bag with handles has revolutionized keeping in this particular house. The bags stand open and ready for whatever. One of my loved ones likes to give cutting edge design, and this year's product is way cool. It's a white politically correct plastic version of an open shopping bag that's been in constant use since the minute I opened the box. It took several mindless reps for my muscles to realize the thing doesn't fold flat, but I can't complain -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Soup to Nuts

The phrase may be unfamiliar at this point. It's shorthand for an old-style full dinner menu. Soup as a first course is a frugal way to dispose of leftovers from a previous meal. Keeping a pot of stock on the fire ensures food safety. Finishing a meal with nuts, that store without electricity, is a convenient way to ensure that no one leaves the table feeling at all hungry.


Many of the recipes from mid-twentieth century and earlier cookbooks look over-elaborate at first glance. They are clever ways of making the most of leftover food. Croutons, for example, repurpose and enrich day old bread. Potato pancakes are self-explanatory, as are fritters. Taking nearly every meal at home is the easiest way to eliminate food waste. A commercial meal interrupts the natural progression of ingredients from the pantry to the compost bucket -30-

More after the jump.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Pedestrian Wear

Street shoes with white soles make the moving foot obvious at night or during what passes for daylight in Seattle between November and February. A necklace or scarf offers a dangerous handhold to an attacker. Jewelry has been out of the question for years, as has a stylish handbag. Gloves are welcome warmth in the winter-I find that the inelegant practicality of sticky palmed garden gloves covers warmth, transit safety, and weight room needs all at once -30-
More after the jump.