And, if you don’t why don’t you?
I’m talking about your best porcelain, bone china, silver, glasses (they don’t have to be crystal) and all the attendant accessories in those categories — every day? Never mind every day, how about often?
There are moments in our lives when the really good stuff does not make sense for a busy family even if we are conscientious about sitting down at the dinner table en famille. We all understand those days, but even then we can set a pretty table. It takes little or no effort. At the same time it’s a gesture of amour and an example for children.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about these rather precious accoutrements most of us have in our cupboards and closets and rarely use because a friend of mine is downsizing and has discovered that neither of her adult children is interested in her major collections of silver, porcelain and crystal. And, both of her children have daughters which begs the question about whether some day they might like to use family heirlooms.
To celebrate Andrea’s and Will’s engagement I gave them a pair of candelabra that was always on the buffet in our dining room throughout my childhood. They now sit on the buffet in their dining room although I’m not sure they are actually used as they were every evening when I was a child.
Another reason I’ve been ruminating on the subject: An acquaintance, French, was invited to her niece’s wedding and decided to start a collection of Limoges china for the couple. She called her contact at the boutique she has been frequenting for decades to talk about patterns. Her idea was to gradually give her niece place settings and service pieces on special occasions, building a collection for her.
The woman in the boutique told her, “Choose white. Young couples today do not want formal dinnerware.”
She did just that.
A long time friend of mine, once married to an American ambassador, has the most exquisite collection of silver and at least 10 exceptional porcelain and bone china dinnerware collections all with every imaginable serving piece as well as soup and bouillon bowls, extra plates and on and on. The collections also include tea cups and saucers and demitasse sets.
For Andrea and Will’s wedding she gave them a gorgeous 12-piece setting of Limoges porcelain, again including the service pieces and the tea and coffee ensembles. We went to her pantry, threw open the doors, and she said: “Choose the pattern you like best and that you think Andrea will like.”
(It’s true, I have some exceptional and exceptionally generous friends.)
She then added a silver ice bucket to her gift.
As far as I know, Drea uses the ice bucket but has rarely if ever used the porcelain. Her every day service is white with a basket weave border, French, from Williams Sonoma.
She does make an effort to set a pretty, though very simple, table every evening and always with cloth napkins.
They do entertain relatively often and Drea will add pretty, coloured side and dessert dishes to her white base.
Apart from those “big occasions” like Thanksgiving for example, do you use your best relatively often?