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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Table Setting

As pretty as they are, I don't do tablescapes. I tried, I really did, but events and family conspired against me. One time I cut some gorgeous fall flowers and greenery and put them in a big vase in the center of the table. During dinner, someone found a bug, or two, maybe three. I told them the bugs were natural, but they didn't buy it. The kids wouldn't eat anything on the table after they saw bugs. I didn't really feel like eating either, but I faked it.

Next time, I put a bunch of candles in the center of the table. Long, beautiful tapers in holders of varying heights. I turned out the lights and it was gorgeous. Then, a candle fell over, or maybe it was knocked over when someone passed a bowl of food in the dark. In any case, it caused a chain reaction and several candles fell. There was a little screaming, chairs turned over, possibly some unpleasant words were spoken. I don't know why there was so much fuss, most of the candles went out when they hit the gravy. No one would eat the gravy after that. Oh sure, they'll eat birthday cake with candle wax on it, but not gravy.

After that, I took the safe but boring route with glass and ceramic objects, and the masses complained they took up too much room. Our table was small at that time. Then the truth came out. My mother-in-law doesn't like anything fancy. She uses paper plates or Corelle even at Christmas, and she thinks it is silly to dress up for holiday dinners. Seems she passed on those exasperating beliefs to Hubby and he in turn openly ridiculed my efforts so our girls picked up the idea that decorating the dinner table was pretentious.

So I gave up, and let food be our centerpieces. My china is Noritake Reverie, which we got as wedding gifts. I've probably used it five times in thirty-four years even though I keep telling myself it is to be used, not just displayed. Actually, it's not even displayed right now because I don't have a china cabinet. It's hidden in a cabinet in the kitchen, one of those bottom cabinets that are so hard to get to. I made the mistake of looking for a few more pieces on ebay and replacements.com; after seeing the cost I was apprehensive of using it. In fact, I bought some Corelle in a similar style for the kids' table and told them it was china. I thought about having the adults use plastic knives so they wouldn't scratch the plates, or casseroles that don't need a knife, but what is Thanksgiving without turkey? I bought the stainless (yes, stainless, I don't polish silver) a few years ago, Wallace Continental Bead, so I wanted to use it too. It did freak me out when a relative sawed on his soft-as-jello (well almost) turkey with his butter knife until it ground into the plate. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and this year he either gets the same plate or sits at the children's table - by himself. Maybe I'll serve the turkey precut into bite-sized pieces this year.

Anyway, I am posting this table setting so my daughters can see the Gramercy goblets I bought for my birthday. I guess technically they are from my mother or mother-in-law since they gave me money for my birthday. I was really pleased to find these lead crystal goblets because they are thick enough to use without fear of breaking and big enough to hold a good amount of tea or water. My other crystal is paper thin and I have already had a casualty when two relatives clicked their glasses together in a mock toast. And these were inexpensive so I won't freak out if one breaks. I might even use them at the children's table.

Now if you want to see some lovely tablescapes, go visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday. I am not participating in it because I think my simple display is sadly lacking in the frou-frou-edness necessary to impress those who like to look at such things.

Until next time, may you have blessings and non-violent centerpieces,


  1. I love the goblet!! I have two sets of china here, and one at the weekend house (one mine, one my mother's and one my step mother's china). I would love to use them more often, but the family hates to clean up after using these pieces!! I am fortunate they will do the cleaning after I cook, but they don't want to do china and silver!

    Young people don't even seem to want china these days! Many of the registries don't have china on them. That's a loss (to me anyway).

  2. Thank you! I think my family will like using them better than the thin ones. I don't like cleaning china and silver either, but it's because I'm afraid I'm going to knock a piece against the double sink divider and break it. My mil seldom used her china - once that I can remember - and she gave it to Lil when the in-laws moved into senior housing. I think Lil will use it though, she loves to entertain.

  3. I have some beautiful china, but have not used it for some time. Family has grown, have to serve buffet style now because of lack of space, but We are all together and that is what counts. No one in my bunch likes the clean up! :) Love the goblets.

  4. We serve buffet style most of the time too. I just hate having china and not using it. I need to loosen up and let it get used and abused.

  5. you make me laugh! love this. too funny. i am a corelle person too. :)


  6. I did a newspaper story a few years ago for a bridal section and found that most brides in my area weren't picking out china patterns either.

    I personally do have nice dishes and yes, I use them on appropriate occasions. I surprised one of the aunts who asked for a birthday luncheon "Why don't you just use paper plates?" I told her she was eating on our everyday dishes except for the dressed up glassware, and then pointed to my dishwasher.

    Besides, you will be doing the kids a favor to teach them that there are times and places for "tablescapes," so to speak. Even those of very modest means at home will be invited one day to formal dinners or luncheons for weddings or business events. They will feel far more comfortable in a fancy environment if they have some experience with it.

    By the way, thanks for listing me as "inspirational!"


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