Table Settings

I find it interesting that not many people know how to set a table.  My parents entertained a lot and by helping my mother I learned the proper placement of silverware and plates.  I also realized I was a lousy teacher for my own children because they either are unaware of the correct way to set a table of they don’t really care.  I am not talking about where to place the fish fork or knife, (I am not an etiquette expert)  but just a normal everyday place setting. 20190428_143229.jpg

So, looking at the picture above the salad plate goes to the left, whether it is up higher like this or directly beside, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t have the smaller bread plates with this set of china, my mother’s “Sunnyvale” by Castleton (I love this pattern) but if I did the salad plate would be on the dinner plate and the bread and butter plate would go to the left.  I don’t have butter knives with my sterling set but if I did it would go on the bread and butter plate.  The forks go on the left – work from outside in – the first small fork would be used first for the salad.  The larger fork in the middle would be for dinner, the small inside fork would be for dinner. On the right is the knife and then the spoon. If you are serving soup and have a soup spoon that would be laid above the plate horizontally. Water and wine goblets would go on the right as well.  The napkin can be placed on the left with or without a napkin ring or laid on the plate.

Lastly, a fun way to present your napkin (in this case, only paper would work) is the following.  My mother and whoever showed her used this a lot and taught us how to do it.  I like it because it is different and reminds me of a bird with its wings in flight.

First: Fold the napkin in half, diagonally. Second: Fold in half again. Third: fold one side about 1/2″ from the fold.

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Fourth: Turn it over and do the same to the other side. Fifth and last step: If I look at the inside folded napkin I see a center fold.  Slide this fold into the space between the second and third tine of the fork and the two “wings” in the space between the 1st and 2nd tine and the 3rd and 4th tine.  Try it!

 

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Impromptu cookout (or last minute)

I play golf.  I play for fun and occasionally I play in a tournament.  Not often, but at least once a year.  I recently played in a two day tournament.  I wasn’t sure when I would be done but a friend invited my husband and me to come for a “porch night” – drinks and appetizers on their porch one beautiful summer night and then out to dinner after.  Unbeknownst to my friend or me, my husband decided to invite everyone to our house for dinner… and by so doing invited a few more to porch night as well. Needless to say when I walked off the golf course and heard this, I sort of panicked.  My house was in disarray (a nice way of saying a mess) and I had nothing prepared.

Typical of my husband, Don went and bought huge steaks and farm fresh corn on the cob.  I got home and took to broom and mop and at least made the kitchen presentable.  The extra friends that thought we were going out to eat after porchtime felt terrible that they had not brought something but that didn’t worry us.  After I collected myself, I sliced up some cukes and tomatoes fresh from the garden, boiled some water for the corn and marinaded thickly sliced zucchini, also from the garden, in oil and garlic.  Don seasoned the steaks and lighted the grill.

My friends kindly overlooked the mess that was outside of the somewhat cleaned up kitchen, we  set up a buffet and when the corn and steaks were done, we ate.  I had vanilla ice cream and strawberries at the read for dessert but we decided dessert wasn’t necessary.  Everything was loaded into the dishwasher and we retired to the patio to listen to music around the firepit. IMG_4321

Heavenly Brownies

You are going out to a friends for dinner and you volunteered to bring dessert and you are running out of time for anything creative and out of the ordinary.  There is a box of brownie mix in your cupboard but do you really want to resort to a box of preservatives and flavorings?  Here is my go to recipe, given to me by a friend who is a very good cook.

They are call Heavenly Brownies and the name couldn’t be more appropriate.  They are heavenly simple to make and heavenly delicious to eat.  What makes them so simple is that I make the batter in a saucepan, pour it into a foil lined 9×9 inch square pan for easy clean up and pop it in the oven.  The recipe is as follows:

Line a 9″x9″ square pan with foil, up the sides.  Spray with baking spray. Set aside.  Melt a stick of butter or margerine in a saucepan with 2 squares of semi sweet chocolate.  Remove from heat and pour in 1 cup of sugar, mix.  Next add 2 large eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Add 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 tsp of baking powder, again mix well. Lastly add 1 tsp of vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Pour into the foil lined greased pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 mins, check, do not over bake!!  If the center still feel really undone bake a few more minutes.  The brownies will continue to bake even when you take them out of the oven to cool so don’t leave in the oven too long.  When cool, lift foil out of pan, slice and serve or store in airtight container. Recycle the foil and put the pan away for easy clean up.

After you make this recipe, you will throw those brownie mixes out!

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High off the Hog

For the past two years to kick off the summer we have held at our home a pig roast for 150 of our nearest and dearest friends.  This year rain was threatening but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  Our three kids and their boy/friends/girlfriends arrived early to help set up. We set up five tents and a borrowed “carport” tent just in case the weather took a nasty turn.  I had rented five 6′ tables and fifty chairs.  We provided beverages and desserts, the rest was provided by the “caterer” Ray, my husband’s customer, and his wife put on a fabulous pig roast that is second to none.  Ray trailers his smoke/roaster from his truck and pulls in with the pig that has been cookin’ since the night before.  Image

Janet arrives with their staff in toe to set up the buffet.  Along with the pig, they provide they 30 racks of the meatiest ribs on the planet, BBQed beef brisket and hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids. We noticed that the kids opted for the ribs and pork, so next year, burgers and dos are out!.

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The sides consist of potato salad, cole slaw and cornbread.

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 We provided beverages and many of the desserts were brought by the invited guests.  For entertainment we had a Corn Hole competition, Volleyball, and our neighborhood band provided music all afternoon and into the night.  After the band cleared out at midnight, Whoever was left sat around the pit fire into the wee hours of the morning.  A great time was had by all.

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