Do men love pretty dishes as much as women do? With a passion that they seem to reserve for football or NASCAR?
Do they fall in love with as many patterns as we do or would they not notice if their dinner was served on the same plate since 1973?
I can't picture them squealing with delight at Goodwill upon finding a dozen hand-painted French plates taped together on a low shelf, not unless they're professional pickers. Do men have the patience to hand wash old delicate dishes instead of sticking them in a dishwasher?
I have never met a man who loves pretty dishes as much as I do but then I've yet to meet every man.
R.H. and I are in the midst of some repairs and repainting in my bathroom and dressing room due to damage from the old shower leaking, and the only main room not stuffed now with building supplies, tools, and items from those two rooms is our kitchen. I decided to bring a spot of spring prettiness somewhere in this cluttered house and set the supper table as if we were company.
It was one of those days I forgot to take meat out of the freezer for supper so this is a pantry meal, mostly soup and salad with homemade buttermilk biscuits, but it all tasted so much better served on some nice dishes found at Goodwill rather than our everyday Fiesta dishes. The table lifted my spirits and I think even R.H. enjoyed it.
Men may love their horses and their dogs,
Their guns and games, but since the world began,
And homes were built of clay or sod or logs,
Women have loved a dish, a bowl, a pan.
Have set them on high shelves to catch the gleam
Of sunlight through a window or a door,
Bright symbols of an ancient lovely dream,
Dreamed by women centuries before.
A dream of home, and of a table spread
In some dear spot made sweet by wind and sun
Where a family could be gathered to break bread,
After their simple daily tasks were done.
A woman's love of dishes is as old
As roofs or sills, or firelight on a hearth.
They are her emblems, her receptacles to hold
The fibres and the essences of earth.
Grace Noll Crowell
The Farmer's Wife Magazine
Everyone has a favorite biscuit recipe and the soup is simply Mr. Campbell's Beef Consomme mixed with his Tomato, some sherry vinegar and onion powder. The salad I almost hesitate to name lest you make that guttural sound in your throat that my husband utters when he phones home to ask what's for supper and I say, "Pasta-Sardine Salad." See there, I knew you'd make a face, but maybe you would do like my husband does every single time after he takes a few bites. He says, "This is good!"
Surprise is written all over his face.
Lots of Omega 3s there, friends, and crisp organic celery for crunch along with the pretty green celery leaves chopped, olives, champagne vinegar, bell peppers, jalapeño, Old Bay Seasoning and any others you like, cooked pasta--Rotini is my choice-- frozen green peas, and after it all chills add some mayonnaise. There you are, somewhat of a recipe for those of us who like sardines and even for some who think they don't. And since there are biscuits to go with it, reserve some hot buttered ones to make individual strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Our whipping cream can was on its last gasp and as much went on the vintage tablecloth as on our desserts.
Do you see this padded envelope that came in our mail? I have never had mail delivered by Royal Mail and I was thrilled!
This came from my friend Maureen at Random Distractions here and is a result of my name being chosen on her blog for a year's subscription to a quarterly literary review magazine called Slightly Foxed. Thank you so much, Maureen! I read the one by your son Andrew about J.P. Donleavy's The Wild Ginger Man first thing. Maureen, your brilliant son's review of The Wild Ginger Man convinced me that I'm better off sticking with his review only and not risk my tender emotions with Mr. Donleavy's book. I bet you're not surprised at my reaction even though you're bound to be extremely proud of your talented son!
However, I do want to read Ysenda Maxtone Graham's The Real Mrs Minerva after reading another review in Slightly Foxed. Jan Struther's Mrs Miniver is a well loved book of mine and Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon as Kay and Clem Minerva were my dream Hollywood film couple. I'm sure there will be many surprises in Struther's granddaughter's biography of her.
Slightly Foxed is a beautiful magazine from cover to cover, including the pretty yellow ribbon that was wrapped around it and the gift card accompanying it.
Here is what Alexander McCall Smith was quoted as saying about Slightly Foxed:
'The arrival of Slightly Foxed makes me drop everything.
I read it from cover to cover and it immediately sends me off
to order a number of the books that it features.'
I am going to be in such good company reading this magazine! I wonder if this author of some of our favorite books loves nice dishes? Surely he would have to since he brings such beauty to his readers.
I'll think of Alexander McCall Smith as I read Slightly Foxed and especially of Maureen who lives in lovely coastal Devon and blogs at http://www.randomdistractions.blogspot.com