Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday's Wants, July 21, 2010

Recently, I have been spending evenings with my mother going through things at her house to get ready for our Antiques Roadshow adventure this weekend. For the show each ticket holder gets to bring two items for appraisal. Fortunately for me, my mother let me pick one of the items I get to take (she chose the other 3 items, since they were her tickets and I am just going as the lackey to help fetch her stuff-LOL). So I decided to take the set of three sterling silver chargers (or service plates), inherited from my great-grandmother as our part of the original 12, used in her home in Atlanta in the 1920’s. My choice of item has lead to this week’s Wednesday’s Wants.

You got it-this week I am obsessed with silver! Sterling, Silver plated, Silver over copper-flatware, hollowware, serving pieces, utensils, trays, trophies, epergnes, goblets, juleps, & punch bowls; I love it all! I will say after my purchase of a 3rd silver punch bowl-decided that was enough & that the Sis could have Mother’s when the time comes-but can I still have the large tray? I have searched out speciality silver shops,  estate sales, antique shops, etc. for my finds and every little sparkling item finds a home in my butler’s pantry style kitchen, china cabinet or silver chest.

I think my love for all things shiny, sparkly, and silver stems from growing up with my mother’s fabulous silver collection and the interest truly blossomed the summer my mother read aloud to us “The Southern Belle Primer or Why Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma” by Maryln Schwartz. Our copy is so well-read that at one time the book’s spine came loose from the cover (never fear the original copy has been repaired and a replacement purchased for future generations). One of my favorite quotes paraphrased from the book states to this effect “Your hair may be fake, your bosom may be fake, but your pearls and your silver must always be real”. She is speaking of the high sheen sterling flatware found in the homes of so many well-brought up Southern ladies(even it is only seen at holidays & other special occasions). If you do see a copy of this book for heaven’s sake don’t forget to learn the silver pattern zodiac (I am Chantilly by Gorham, but will let you decide if that description fits).

Now to share some of my favorite finds:

Sterling Flatware-First and foremost is my silver pattern, being a single Southern Socialite, I have not had the pleasure of registering and receiving the majority of mine as gifts, but since it was chosen for me at birth (Chantilly is my mother’s and my grandmother’s pattern), it made sensible and lovely birthday, Christmas, and graduation gifts. Oh goody, just what every teenage girl wants! Trust me no matter how they tire of seeing that same jewelry store long box wrapped in their signature bridal registry paper-one day they will appreciate more than ever! I also have decided tradition be damned, I will purchase my own pieces and place settings whenever I can-for I am a Modern Belle! There is nothing like being able to pull out your sterling cake knife to use for that homemade birthday cake!

Punch Bowls-Obviously, since for some reason I have bought so many! But don’t be confused by the name, this bowl can serve many a function! Great for serving beverages, chilled soups, large seafood/crab salad, chilling down individual shrimp cocktails, or other items. Now let’s not forget its potential for great flower arrangements, my mother’s served as a beautiful silver for many a bridge or antique club luncheon!

Mint Julep Cups-Since most of us below the Mason-Dixon maybe only serve this famous drink on Derby Day, many other uses have been found for this simple style cup. Perfect for that small little nosegay of flowers, or to serve flavored iced-tea, the perfect Bloody Mary, or chilled soup. The possibilities are endless! Fill with candy canes at Christmas or foiled covered chocolate eggs at Easter.  Note: Have them monogrammed by an engraver, so you will be able to tell yours apart at a large event!

Compotes-Originally used for nuts, mints, and bridge mix, these are perfect to put out cheese straws or wafers for a last minute cocktail hour. Also fabulous for flowers!  My collection of these in various styles, sizes, and heights is growing & growing-even in sterling these can be found very reasonably.

Trophies, Revere Bowls, & Urns-OH MY! These I am stockpiling for that perfect Kentucky Derby Party-how great would a tableau of trophies in various sizes filled with roses be? Revere Bowls and Urns-the same-can never have too many in various shapes, sizes, and styles!

Some of my favorite places to start this treasure hunt are:
As You Like It Silver Shop, Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
Beverly Bremer Silver, Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia
Your local bridal registry store, estate sales, antique shops, etc.

Now get out the polish and make your silver “shine like the top of the Chrysler Building”
Happy Wednesday & Y’all have a Fab one!!

The Southern Socialite

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Southern Socialite: Wednesday’s Wants, July 7, 2010

This week I am totally obsessed with books on cooking and entertaining. As many of you know, I have been working non-stop on a charity cookbook; I think my obsession stems from reviewing & editing all those wonderful recipes submitted. Right now My Ebay lists are loaded down with cookbooks and books on entertaining. I am a lady obsessed-so much obsessed am having new shelves built for my kitchen library! Vintage books from renown hostesses, community cookbooks, pamphlets from the CAI, to current day entertaining tomes; it doesn’t matter who, what, where, when, or why- I bid, I watch, I buy them like there is no tomorrow (luckily most of them are very reasonably priced to help feed my obsession).

The creativity & resourcefulness of these hostesses who forged the way for us modern day entertainers, is just mind-blowing. The recipes and parties in these books were created by ladies who were involved in their parties from the invitation until the last plate was washed. The recipes-WOW-no matter how delish they sound and how badly I would like to try them-they are from days gone by and not sure even the most talented of 21st century hostesses can resurrect them! But, let me tell you this SS is going to try-have the calendar out and have started planning for the luncheons, brunches, cocktail buffets, game-day cookouts, and midnight suppers I am going to host. Now who to invite!

Over the past few weeks the following books have become some of my faves for the kitchen library:

Entertaining is FUN: How to be a Popular Hostess By Dorothy Draper-This book as been reprinted and can be found new at bookstores. Also, get the companion book Decorating is FUN! How to be you own Decorator

The Complete Book of Parties By Margaret Lockwood Andrews- Published 1942 (Obviously loved this one so much, I bought it twice-who knew-Oh well, guess the SS sis now has her own copy!)

Good Housekeeping Party Book- by Dorothy Marsh & Carol Brock- Published 1958

Menu Maker & Party Planner by Elizabeth Hedgecock Sparks- Published 1957

All About Entertaining by Kay Corinth & Mary Sargent- Published 1966 Tagline says “Everything you need to know to have a Fabulous Social Life” –look ladies there it is all in this book!!

The Glamour Magazine Party Book by Eleanor Elliot- Published 1965

Come for Cocktails, Stay for Supper by Marian Burros & Lois Levine- Published 1970

The Perfect Hostess by Madeline Knopf- Published 1965

Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, & Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life by Julia Reed- Published 2008  All you need is the Menu from the introduction to have a talk of the town party! This is one my absolute favorites for the recipes and the fun, fabulous stories.

Socialites now that you have your summer reading assignments, fix yourself a cocktail, prop your feet up and take yourself back to a time where the napkins were starched, the cocktails stirred, the silver polished, the salads congealed, and the guests truly dazzled!

Happy Wednesday & Y’all have a Fab one!!

The Southern Socialite