Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Cousin's Anniversary

Posh Dinner for Four
I held our dinner for four in our sun room's round dining area using my best, Herend, china and beautiful antique blue "Versailles" crystal for our menu of fresh garden corn and zucchini chowder with Ciabatta croutons, standing rib roast, baked potatoes, gold zucchini stewed with red onions and tomatoes from the garden, croissants, and for dessert, cheesecake with glazed fresh fruit on top.
The first layer on the table was a round, pin-tucked green cloth to the floor.
The next layer was a square white organdy cloth with white embroidery imported from Switzerland by a wonderful china & linens shop in Austin.  
A close-up of the embroidery.
Our centerpiece was six big balls of blue hydrangea in a new mercury glass bucket-shaped vase.
The dinner plate is the "Princess" pattern from the Queen Victoria line of Herend china.  This pattern is a relatively new addition to the line that was added when people began wanting a plainer pattern to show off the food more.
The soup bowl is the more classic Queen Victoria botanical pattern with flowers and butterflies.  Each piece is different.
Because I don't have the small bread plates, I used the larger dessert plates for bread.  These too have different flowers and butterflies.
Unless you are a minimalist, in which case you would not be reading my blog anyway, building up layers adds interest, dimension, and richness to the table the same way it would if you were decorating your mantel for Christmas.  This is true whether you are using paper goods for a picnic in the park or your best china and silver in the dining room.

The silverware for this dinner was Grande Baroque by Wallace.  In the 1960's a china shop in Oklahoma City had a bridal plan whereby the newly wed could pay out the purchase but got to take the goods home in the mean time.  (Can you imagine any store being that trusting today?)  That is how I got my sterling.  I would buy two place settings at a time and pay on them for six months and then buy two more.   For this menu I used the dinner fork and knife for the main course, the soup spoon for the first course, and the salad fork for dessert.
I also used the butter spreader on the bread plate.  In the 50 years I've been buying it, the shape of the butter spreader changed once so I have butter knives with the same handle, but different shaped blades.  This is the newer of the two.
Mixed in with new linens and china are my antique mercury glass salt cellars.  I have them in several shapes but for this dinner, I used four that match.  Along side are the little Grande Baroque salt spoons.
The white napkins are solid, lightweight cotton that went well with the organdy cloth.  The ring is new but looks vintage with it's gold and silver beads and freshwater pearls.
The blue etched crystal is vintage Fostoria in their "Versailles" pattern.  I've gotten most of it from a glass dealer in Coles antiques mall at Warrenton.  The taller is for water and I used the balloon-shaped for our red Italian Barolo wine.
Never limit yourself to what a piece is supposed to be used for!  I think technically this is a martini pitcher, but I used it for water.  It, and the balloon wines, would also be great for lemonade at a lady's tea.
This cute wine pourer is made to look like a butler in uniform.  We collect all things wine related for our round wine room that is off the dining room.  During our England trips, my husband looks for antique cork screws, some more than 200 years old, champagne corkers, wine bottle coasters, etc.
The architect who designed our round wine room was Paige Wilburn, our daughter-in-law, who's married to our oldest, Sam.  (She designed the whole house.)
The table, as set for four.

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