Monday, September 24, 2018

Napkin Etiquette at Teatime

Let's talk tea today.  What's in my teacup?  It's a loose tea "Florence Tea" from Harney Tea.  I know I carry on all the time on my Instagram about the fabulous teas from Harney, but there are so many to love!  This is a China black tea with hints of chocolate and traces of almond and hazelnut.  It's delightful y'all! 

From my etiquette book collection...I love this classic book by Dorothea Johnson, "Tea and Etiquette: Taking Tea for Business and Pleasure."  Of all the etiquette tips she taught me, napkin etiquette will remain with me forever!

Today, in all dining situations, the napkin is properly picked up and unfolded on the lap, not above the table level.  A large dinner napkin is folded in half with the fold facing the body, while a tea napkin (12" serviette) is opened completely on the lap. Don't iron the napkin folds flat (iron the napkin but not the folds).  Remember that all napkin folds on your table should face the same way. 

Wait for your hostess to take her napkin and place it on her lap.  Then pick up your napkin and place it on your lap. 



Please don't wipe your mouth with the napkin.  Blot it.  Lipstick is never blotted on a cloth napkin; discreetly blot the lipstick onto a tissue before you begin to eat.  Don't use a napkin as handkerchief.  The napkin should remain on the lap during tea.

If you need to leave the table temporarily, place your napkin on your chair, not on the table.  Push you chair back under the table if the setting is appropriate.  Return the napkin to your lap when you are seated.  The host or hostess picks up his or her napkin to signal the close of the tea.  At the end of the tea, the napkin is not refolded but picked up by the center and placed loosely to the left of the plate.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pumpkin Pretties and Goodies at Williams-Sonoma

It is that time of year when I become obsessed with everything pumpkin....the décor, the scents, and the tastes of pumpkin.  Williams-Sonoma never disappoints with their seasonal merchandise.  These are just a few of the autumn/pumpkin items on my wish list:

These pumpkin crackers will add a fun, festive look to any autumn tablescape.  They are stuffed with a party crown, jokes, riddles, and party games.


Botanical Pumpkin Crackers


I love the colors and print of this tablecloth.  It is machine washable and available in several sizes.

Botanical Pumpkin Orange Tablecloth, 70

The 20" square matching napkins...also machine washable.

Botanical Pumpkin Napkins

The pumpkin-motif porcelain dinnerware is gorgeous!

Botanical Pumpkin Rim Dinner Plates

The mugs would be perfect for sipping apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte.
Botanical Pumpkin Mugs

I already have these adorable pumpkin napkin rings...they can be used now through Thanksgiving and year after year.  They never go out of style.


Pumpkin Napkin Ring

Speaking of the scents of autumn...this candle has pumpkin, with scents of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves!  LOVE this candle.  Pumpkin scent...all through the house!

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Spice Candle
Pumpkin Spice hot chocolate?  Lord have mercy, this sounds good!  Just combine it with heated milk and voila!  This makes staying home on a Saturday night fun!



Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Since I fail at making my own pumpkin bisque, I must try this.  All I have to do is heat this soup starter with vegetable or chicken broth.  I think I could do this.

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Bisque Soup Starter

I need this because I LOVE pumpkin bread and the pecan pumpkin butter sounds delicious!  The bread mix makes 12 muffins or one 4" x 8" loaf.  The butter size is 13.5 oz.  I'm sure that pecan pumpkin butter would also be wonderful on scones or crumpets!

Williams Sonoma Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix & Pecan Pumpkin Butter Set

Yes, I think a shot of this pumpkin spice coffee syrup would go well with my coffee!  It will also be delish drizzled over ice cream and pancakes.
Williams Sonoma Coffee Syrup, Pumpkin Spice





Thursday, September 6, 2018

French Onion Soup Etiquette

Onion soups have been popular throughout history.  They were seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow.  French Onion Soup became famous in the 18th century with the opening of the gigantic food market Les Halles de Paris.  At dawn, workers and night owls sat together around a fragrant, yet cheap bowl of this delicious and heartwarming dish, made from beef broth, caramelized onions, a large bread slice, and grated and grilled Gruyere cheese.  The first bowls to get reinvigorated, the second bowls to avoid any hangover.  Soupe a' l'oignon (onion soup) has always been Paris's timeless hangover cure!


The "French" in "French Onion Soup" refers to the manner in which the onions are chopped ("frenched")--cut into thin lengthwise strips.
See the source image

Personally, I would never serve this soup to guests at a dinner party.  Nor would I order this soup in restaurant.  (Even though most restaurants in my small town serve it as a beef broth, with chopped onions, croutons, and shredded cheese, toasted).  If prepared correctly, it is just too difficult to break through the layer of cheese and maneuver your way through this gooey delight.  It lives up to its reputation as "one of the most difficult foods to eat."
See the source image

Although healthier than a creamy soup, the bread and melted cheese in this soup has lots of saturated fat, refined carbs, and a high sodium count.  So there's another reason I wouldn't order this...I don't want my cheat meal to be difficult to eat.
This French Onion Soup Recipe is the perfect appetizer for two! A flavorful beef and onion broth is topped with baguette, parmesan, and gooey swiss cheese! showmetheyummy.com #frenchonionsoup #appetizer

So, how do you eat French Onion Soup?  One of my etiquette teachers, Dorothea Johnson, suggests using a soup spoon to eat the soup, and a knife and fork to cut the cheese on the rim of the soup cup so that it does not trail from the mouth in a long string.  Don't mess with the cheese baked on the outside of the bowl.  Lord have mercy, I'm not going to be using a knife and fork to eat soup!Still interested in serving this soup?  Here's a recipe for you:

FRENCH ONION SOUP

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 sliced onions
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

    Sauté onions and garlic in oil over low heat until onions are tender and golden yellow. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook a few minutes more, browning the flour well. Add stock and wine and bring to a boil, add thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Meanwhile, slice French bread into 3/4 slices and butter both sides. Toast slices on griddle until golden brown. Ladle soup into an ovenproof bowl, add toasted bread and cover with cheese. Place ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 350 °F or 5 minutes under a hot broiler.
  • Friday, August 24, 2018

    London Collection at Talbots


    I am in love with the new London Collection from Talbots.  So. Much. Cute. Stuff.  I had to prioritize the items I wanted to purchase.  Until my husband hits the lottery, I can't buy every little thing I love.

    The cute London Destination Tee is on my list.  This is a must-have for me...it will be cute alone, with a denim jacket, or layered under a navy or red puffer vest.  Of course, I'd add a navy/red ponytail bow for me.

    I also love this London City Print Shirt.  It's adorable...would be cute worn alone with a multi-strand pearl necklace, a navy/red cardigan tied over the shoulders, or a navy/red puffer vest.  Again, a navy/red ponytail bow to coordinate.  All things must be matchy-matchy for me.


    How adorable is this London Charm Bracelet?!  I love it!

    Okay, I am obsessed with these brooches...The Crown, Palace Guard, Regal Crest, City Bus, and the cute London Charms.  I need to add them all to my brooch collection!!!  Every one of them.

    Okay, I'm ordering this fabulous London Tote today!  Priorities.  I just can't resist destination totes.


    Do I need these Palace Guard Loafers?  No.  But I want them.  They are too cute!


    There are lots of other items available in the London Collection.  It is all 25% off until September 3, 2018.  Enjoy browsing!

    Friday, August 17, 2018

    What Happens When the Queen Dies?

    See the source image


    The Queen has lived a long, remarkable life.  At the age of 92, she appears to get along better than most people her age, but has recently scaled back her official duties.  It's hard to face the fact that one day she will be gone, but unfortunately, she is not going to live forever.   How will those of us who admire her ever get on?  There will never be another royal quite like her.  She has lived through 13 British Prime Ministers and U.S. Presidents.

    The Queen's death has been recently rehearsed for the very first time by ministers.  The run-through exercise to prepare for the twelve days of mourning was given the code name "Castle Dove" by civil servants and politicians.  'D-1' will be the day after the Queen dies.  Oh my goodness, this talk of the Queen's death is just too much to handle.  Her Senior Doctor, Huw Thomas, will be in charge.  He will have full control over her room as he looks after her in her final moments.  He will even be in charge of what information goes public and what stays within the family.  "London Bridge" will be the secret code for her death. {not very secret now, is it?

    Upon her death, her private secretary, Edward Young, will contact the prime minister with the message "London Bridge is down."  Lord have mercy!  Following their conversation, the news will spread to the governments where the Queen is head of state and the Commonwealth countries--then onto the rest of the world.

    The sheer magnitude of her death will be an event unlike anything else in Britain.  The moment will be a sad one for people all over the world.  Expect people to be shell-shocked, expect mass public grief, and perhaps hysteria.  {ME}  The mourning period will be a disruptive event in Britain for sure.  The chaos is expected to cost the U.K. economy billions in lost earnings and the stock markets and banks will likely close.

    Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, there will be twelve days of official mourning.  The official mourning period will give both government officials and the British public enough time to pay their respects as the royal family makes funeral arrangements for the monarch. 

    As soon as news of Queen Elizabeth II's death goes to press, a mourning footman will place a black-edged notice on Buckingham Palace's gates.  Buckingham Palace's website will also go dark and transform into a single page featuring the same notice.

    See the source image


    When the Queen dies, BBC news anchors are expected to immediately change into funeral attire--a black suit with a black tie {which they have waiting on deck}--to announce the Queen's death to their audience.  For the 12 days between her death and her funeral, BBC and other public channels are strictly forbidden from airing any humorous programming.  Of course, the Queen has picked out specific documentaries about her life.  These documentaries have been pre-recorded and will air on TV following her death.

    Because the throne is never without a ruler, at the moment of Queen Elizabeth's death, Prince Charles will become the King of England and the supreme governor of the church of England.  He will pick his new name from any of his Christian or middle names.
    See the source image

    And...because there is never NOT a sovereign on the throne, this is why the Royal Standard is never flown at half mast.
    See the source image

    The union flag will be flown at half mast throughout the mourning period until 8am the morning after the funeral.

    See the source image


    During the twelve days of mourning, the Queen's coffin will be put on display--or in official terms, lie in state--for those who wish to pay their respects.  The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for 4 days.  It is estimated that almost a million people will walk past her catafalque.

    The day before the funeral, male members of the royal family will stand guard for a short period in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes.  This will be a sad day for the U.K., the Commonwealth, and the World.

    Vigil of The Princes, 8 April 2002
For The Queen Mother’s lying-in-state The Earl of Wessex (left), The Prince of Wales (center), The Duke of York (right) and Viscount Linley (not pictured, on the other corner) came to pay respects to their...
    Male members of the Royal Family stand guard at the catafalque of Queen Elizabeth I

    The Queen has been actively involved in planning parts of her funeral, which will be sure to be a elaborate event.  Her body will be transported via gun carriage to Westminster Abbey for her funeral, where it is planned that Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will lead the funeral service.

    See the source image
    Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
    See the source image
    Westminster Abbey
    The final resting place for the Queen might be next to her mother Queen Elizabeth I and her father King George at St. George's Castle.  Another option is for a burial at one of her private residences like Balmoral or Sandringham.

    Even though Prince Charles will become the King of England upon Queen Elizabeth's death, his coronation will not be held until one year later.  And...I'm pretty sure they have the new words to the National Anthem ready to go.  {sniff sniff}

    Sad post over.



    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Royal Tea

    Since it is National Afternoon Tea Week in the U.K., I decided to enjoy a tea here in Georgia today.  Actually, I am having a "Royal Tea."  What is the difference between an "Afternoon Tea" and a "Royal Tea?"  A "Royal Tea" is also served in the afternoon and in addition to serving savories, scones, and sweets, a special dessert is also offered.  A glass of champagne is offered along with hot tea.

    This book "Tea Fit for a Queen" was my inspiration for the tea, as I'm sure Queen Elizabeth II serves a "Royal Tea" to visitors at Buckingham Palace.

    "Tea Fit for a Queen" is published by the people at Historic Royal Palaces, with narratives by Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of the charity.  Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that manages some of the United Kingdom's unoccupied royal palaces; i.e., Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House, Kew Palace, and Hillsborough Castle. 

    This pretty little book reveals how the tradition of afternoon tea started in royal Britain.  Recipes for finger sandwiches, Victoria sponge cake, Chelsea Buns, and a Champagne Cocktail are some of the royal recipes included.  Naturally, the recipes are beautifully photographed, but the measurement quantities are U.K. based.  So, if you are in the USA, you will need to convert the measurements.



    I decided to use my Franciscan 'Desert Rose' dinner and tea ware for this tea.  I think any china pattern with a rose motif is so pretty at teatime.

    Menu
    Savories, Scones, and Sweets
    Apple Cobbler
    Champagne Cocktail
    Royal Palace Tea

    {
    I used the book's recipes for Cucumber and Mint Sandwiches, Egg Mayonnaise Sandwiches, and Champagne Cocktails}

    Etiquette Tip:  The savories {sandwiches} are always placed on the bottom tier and eaten first; followed by the scones eaten next from the middle tier; and the sweets from the top tier.  Don't forget to take dainty bites!  Take small bites, sip a little tea, and make pleasant conversation.

    The Royal Palace Tea may be purchased at Harney Tea...it is delightful, as one would expect!


    I hope you have enjoyed your visit today.  Tomorrow, I will be back with a very sad post.  "What Happens When the Queen Dies?"