As Easy As Pie

We inherit many things from generation to generation. Smiles, senses of humor, height, family china, family Bibles, etc. One of my favorite things that’s been passed down to me has little-to-no monetary value, but it is immeasurably valuable to me is family recipes. This past weekend I decided to cook some pies.

Now, in my household, pies are what the world revolves around. True story: When my nearly ninety year old grandmother starts to get full during a meal, she’ll stop eating to make sure she saves enough room for dessert. This sweet lady has, thankfully, never had diabetes or sugar issues. It’s a miracle, too, considering she sweetens even Lucky Charms. I think my body nearly went into a sugar shock once I learned that after I’d already started eating my cereal when I was staying with her once. Clearly, desserts, pies in particular, are important in my family.

In the South, pies are used to convey sorrow, joy and every emotion in between. They are proudly displayed at church pot lucks and are brought to homes to welcome new babies and comfort those who have lost loved ones. As easy as pies may seem to be, hence the saying “as easy as pie,” the immense number of recipes I have inherited for each type of pie seems to say differently, with subtle variations seemingly making big impacts in the results of the pie.

Debates in the pie world include everything from using cornstarch vs. flour to meringue vs. cream. Every family has their own “perfect” recipe for each part of the pie, including the crust, filling and meringue or cream.

As I combed over the many variations of a chocolate meringue pie I had received from my sweet granny, I realized no pie I make will ever be like hers, even if I followed each recipe to the T. She just knows “her” pie. She doesn’t need to measure each ingredient for the crust, because the recipe might warrant change, even by a teaspoon of flour, because of the weather. She cooks by feel and by heart, something I’m slowly learning to do. She’s taught me and given me so much over my life, but I’ve only started to realize how much she’s impacted who I am and my value system. I pray one day I pass on not only her recipes but her essence to my own daughter as we bake pies together.

In fact, a bit of that love is shared each time we bake for each other. It isn’t the ingredients but the time and care that we are putting into food that we give to others when we share our food with them. Not much is more Southern or hospitable than that. As I continue to go over various traditions, I hope you’ll join with me in sharing our food and our love with others.

What is your favorite thing to make for others?

As always, thank you for reading!
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Silver and Gold

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Ok, more silver than gold, but the silver is so tarnished, it has a golden appearance. Today, my mom and I headed east to Jefferson, a place that is near and dear to my heart, as it’s where my husband proposed (swoon). Anyhow, aside from being known for their numerous (though, sadly, declining) bed and breakfasts, a common past time for said B&B goers is, apparently, antiquing. I’m pretty sure I saw an antique store on every corner.

My mom is always on the prowl for a good deal. While she dug through piles and boxes in a search for old cast iron skillets (because there is no such thing as too many cast iron skillets to a Southern cook), I hung around the china area. My spirits were quickly dampened when I saw the prices, and I held my purse a little more closely, just in case.

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Imagine my surprise when my mom stumbled across some wooden boxes. Guess what they held? Anyone? That’s right. Silverware!!!!! I have wanted my own set for ever. Even though most of my mom’s side didn’t have kids, not much has been passed down, yet, so I have been silver-less. We’ve made do with our flatware just fine, but it’s still been something I’ve wanted for years.

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Given the prices I had already seen, my hopes weren’t too high. I still wanted to check things out, though. A perfect set for 12. Wow. Beautiful. The end was perfect for monogramming. I cautiously flipped over the white price tag and thought I missed a zero. It was actually affordable!! Actually, after checking out eBay, it was a steal, even though it’s silver plate, not sterling silver. With 79 pieces in excellent condition, I am still beyond excited for this find. The pattern is 1881 Rogers “Flirtation.” And I cannot wait to use it tduring Christmas. 🙂

Look at how happy my china is knowing it will be joined by this silverware at Christmas.

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I’d love to know your silver pattern! As always, thank you for reading.


 

For The Love Of The Glove

I was recently gifted a bag of beautiful, vintage gloves from my mother. She inherited them from my grandmother who passed them down from her mother. I was beyond ecstatic to inherit such beautiful works of art. Aside from their beauty, I am, apparently, my great-grandmother made over, and the gloves fit me, well, like a glove. 🙂

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This is especially exciting for me because I, like many Americans who do not have to deal with the day-to-day aspects of being royal, am a major Royal Family fan. HRH Duchess Catherine is the epitome of grace and glamour, and the world is at a point we could use a little more of both. Honestly, it makes me a little sad to hear that people think etiquette is antiquated. She’s doing quite a lot to counter that thought process. I much prefer this to the oh-so-popular pajama pants in public trend…I digress.

Here are my “new” gloves. Aren’t they amazing??!

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Gloves, while still worn, are primarily now used for warm and protection. My husband wears gloves weekly….to work on his jeep and the yard. I am actually going to start wearing my great-grandmother’s gloves to church on Sunday. We have relaxed so much in our way of living, which can be a good thing. It can have its cons, too, though. Please allow me to clear up a common misconception: Taking care of your appearance isn’t for you. It’s about respect for those around you. Many of you may disagree with me on this, but please allow me to explain. It is not about doing better than the person next to you but about being your best you. Clean hair, clean teeth, etc. all make a big impact on others.

When I was active in my sorority, we had a few “appearance” rules. They’re probably very different than what you’d expect. In general, the rules consisted of (1) wear clean clothes, (2) no pajama pants in public and (3) no wet hair in public.

Pajama pants may be easy, but a good blazer garners respect and credibility. It may not be fun to hear, but first impressions mean a lot. Gloves help make it an even better impression. I’ll let you know the results. 🙂

A few etiquette rules about gloves:

Don’ts:

  1. Wearing gloves while eating or drinking at a table; remove one glove (the one you will eat with) at a cocktail party,
  2. Wearing gloves after you arrive at an inside informal meal or luncheon,
  3. Wearing jewelry over the gloves, other than bracelets
  4. Wearing short gloves to a formal occasion.

Dos:

  1. Wear gloves to church or a place of worship; It’s a sign of respect.
  2. Wear gloves while dancing.
  3. Wear gloves to outdoor parties, such as a garden party.
  4. Wear gloves! 🙂

That’s it, folks! I hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to answer them. Thank you for reading!

Being a Hostess vs. Having People Over

New post, as promised! 🙂

Something has been on my mind, as I’ve engrossed myself recently in Southern movies like Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That is, the difference between being a hostess and simply having people over. Believe me, there IS a difference.

To start, I’m blessed with lots of wonderful Southern, hospitable friends. My friend, Kayla, is the epitome of class. If you haven’t checked out her blog, At Home with Kayla Price, you definitely need to. It’s wonderful and can be found at kaylaprice.com. She covers everything from making cloth napkins to toilet paper!

My wonderful friend, Dusty, makes everyone feel at home immediately. She never acts as though anything burdens her and goes out of her way to make sure you have everything you could want or need. Absolutely love her. Truly, she’s someone I felt sad about not having in my life for longer the moment I met her. She’s that wonderful.

I, of course, have more friends than I could possibly list, and I’m grateful for all of them. Today, though, as I write, I’m remembering a recent visit with a good friend, Sharla. She is someone who always comes to mind when I think of being a hostess. She is perfect when it comes to details. We often visit with her and her family, as our two older kids are good friends (as are the adults and younger kiddos, too), and she makes every impromptu visit seem like she’s planned it for months. She knows the difference between having people over versus being a hostess, and she excels at the latter.

When you just have people over, they can feel slightly unwelcome. They are there to do what you want and are not treated as guests. Here is the ugly truth: being a hostess is hard. It means your guests gets the larger piece of pie, and the good toy goes to them first. This is NOT to say guests can’t or shouldn’t help prepare a meal, etc. It means they’re helping you, not acting as your inferior.

Even in the closest of relationships, where both or all parties feel comfortable enough to makes oneself at home, you can be a hostess by making your visitors feel like guests, not a burden.

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A few “extras” if you want to take the occasion from “having people over” to “hostessing”:

  1. Have their favorite drink on hand, if you know someone is coming over
  2. Have a stash of quickly prepared appetizers – crackers, canned olives, canned chip dips, etc. It may not be glamorous, but it will mean a lot.
  3. Offer your guests to come inside in a warm manner
  4. Have a clean guest restroom – this is an easy way to make it seem like guests are always welcome
  5. Thank your guest for coming over. Let them know you appreciate their time spent with you.
  6. Follow the Golden Rule

Thank you for reading! I’d love to know what you’d like to know more about. Please feel free to request topics!

 

 

 

 

Baby Showers Vs. Baby Gifts

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A trend I’ve noticed is that people are willing to appreciate etiquette when it doesn’t interfere with their receiving of gifts. So, when it comes to having a second child, their appreciation of etiquette wanes. Ahh, to have or to not have. That is the question. Allow me to answer.

Truly, a shower for any child other than your first is inappropriate. “But every child should be celebrated.” Yes, they should. A common falsehood is that showers are for the child. They’re not. They’re for the parents, most often the mother in particular.

However, I recognize that people, for some reason, have stopped giving gifts unless there is a specific occasion to which one would bring a gift. This is beyond me, but at least I’ve found (humor me here) the root cause of second baby showers.

Normally I play nice. I try to allow for more gray areas than most. Showers are to “shower” the parents with attention and affection. You have them for the first major life change: i.e. a marriage (first time only here, people), becoming a parent (again, first time only). Even then, you are not entitled to being the guest of honor of any occasion at all. Hopefully, you have some sweet friends who are excited for you, though.

Yes, I realize that people now have divorce registries, but we’re trying to fight the good fight against entitled tackiness.

We’ve previously gone over appropriate occasions instead of a shower (sip and see, etc.), so I won’t rehash those here. Instead, allow me to drive a single point home: It is COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE to get people gifts FOR ANY REASON AT ALL. Honestly. If they’re having a second child, by all means, grab a sweet book and some diapers for the baby. If someone is simply having a bad day at work, feel free to bring them a cookie. Snickernoodle, preferably. My point is, a specific gathering does NOT need to happen to “allow” you to get someone a gift.

Maybe if this thought can penetrate peoples’ brains, we can finally rid ourselves of the subsequent baby and wedding showers…

Photo Credit: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/baby-child/baby-shower-ideas-and-gifts