Pineapples and Hospitality

Pineapples have a long-standing history of being associated with hospitality in the South. But do you know why that is?

Pineapples, over three hundred years ago, were exceedingly rare. They, also, are delicious and one of my favorite fruits. Pineapples were given to guests as a generous welcome gift. They helped signify the host family’s wealth, as well.

Similar to the “no white after Labor Day” rule, the pineapple was typically reserved for well-to-do families. Three hundred years ago, reading wasn’t as common as it is today, particularly among poorer citizens. Symbols were used like brands are today. The pineapple on an inn’s sign let people know they were welcome.

Today we still use the pineapple as a sign of hospitality. In fact, it’s one of my favorite symbols. I recently gave a very close friend a set of pineapple bookends, which, thankfully, she loves. You can get a similar set here:

They are a bit of a splurge, but I can just about guarantee they’ll be loved and treasured for many, many years. They’re perfect for a housewarming gift or for a close friend’s birthday gift.

Also, legend has it that if a guest overstayed his or her welcome, a pineapple would be placed at the foot of their bed fro a nonconfrontational way of saying, “Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?”

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’d love to hear of any other meanings behind the pineapple that you may know!

Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!


All Hallows’ Eve – Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a very safe and happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Y’all know I love holidays in general, but the magic of Halloween has always placed it at the top. I also love that it kind of “kicks off” the other holidays of this time of year, making it even more special to me.

So, for today, I’m here to give a brief history of Halloween, as well as a few traditions!

“Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.”

Following Halloween is All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.


Now for some traditions!Soul Cakes

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead.

In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday—with luck, by next Halloween—be married. In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.)

Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night she would dream about her future husband.

Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Wednesday’s Child Is Full Of Woe

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme that starts “Monday’s child is full of face?” Well, until just a couple of years ago (and I’m 31), my mom had always told me that I was born on a Tuesday. In this poem, Tuesday’s child was full of grace, which I loved. I long to have the grace of someone like Jackie Kennedy (my granny’s grace role model) or Duchess Catherine. I was always so proud of being a Tuesday’s child, especially since my brother decided to be born on Sunday, which, according to the poem, is the best day of all. Being a United Methodist, we are all about grace. So, it was a double whammy.

I’m here to tell you that 21 hours apparently does some funny things to your brain. My mom went into labor on Tuesday. I, however, did not make an appearance until Wednesday. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Sigh. (At least I’m keeping with my day).

Here’s the version of the poem I remember from my nursey rhyme books:

Monday’s child is fair of face. Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child is full of woe. Thursday’s child has far to go. Friday’s child is loving and giving. Saturday’s child works hard for a living. But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

Like many things, though, the definition of woe has gotten a little changed over the years. Woe, in addition to sadness, referred to having empathy for others. My husband would say that part does fit me. Here’s what else I found interesting!

{There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had ‘Christmas Day’ instead of the Sabbath.[1][not in citation given] Despite modern versions in which “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper’s Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which “Friday’s child is full of woe”, perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday – as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday’s and Friday’s children’s role reversal, the fates of Thursday’s and Saturday’s children were also exchanged and Sunday’s child is “happy and wise” instead of “blithe and good”.[4]   }

I’d also be pretty happy being “loving and giving” with the role reversal shown here. However, I will say, that, as a United Methodist, one of the holiest services, in strictly my opinion, is that of Ash Wednesday. This poem, which I randomly thought of, reminds me of that Wednesday and the preparation of our hearts. I think I’m okay being a Wednesday’s child after all.

Thank you for reading! I think nursery rhymes, which are so simple on the surface, are filled with tradition, and I’m excited to get to go over a few in the next couple of weeks! Which ones are your favorites?

It’s Tea Time!

It’s Tea Time!

I’m so excited to offer a summer garden tea on Sunday, June 25th from 3-5 in the afternoon at The Oaks Bed & Breakfast. Due to the generosity of The Oaks, (side note: if you haven’t seen this absolutely gorgeous B&B, this is the perfect chance!) tickets are only $20!! This truly helps everyone who would like to attend to be able to do so. ALSO! I will be giving away a pair of tickets! 🙂 The winner will be announced on Friday, June 23rd. All you need to do it like and share the facebook posts OR comment on THIS post. Do BOTH for additional entries. You can share the facebook post daily for additional entries, as well.

This is also the PERFECT time for me to tell you about my first adult tea set.

The first real tea set I received was passed down to me from my Grandma and Grandpa Wilder.

(Shown in picture are my parents with my aunt, uncle and church friend at my last tea with my heirloom tea set)

Like most good tales, the story behind my Granny and Big Daddy Wilder is almost as real as they are. For many, many years I have loved New Orleans, which is where they lived. The food, the traditions – everything there is so unique to the area that it makes you fall in love with it all while making you feel home sick for a place you never lived. This tea set was a gift from Big Daddy to Granny Wilder before they were married for St. Valentine’s Day. Now that’s a good man. 🙂

One of the stories I heard about Big Daddy was that once a man was making a pass at Granny Wilder (she was very beautiful) while she was riding a street car. The next part of the story varied from Big Daddy telling him off to the man coming up missing with the Mississippi River nearby. Half of the appeal for me as a kid was not knowing where the truth ended and the tale began. And I think about this particular story every time I use these beautiful dishes.

Have kids who want to play tea? Check out these cute tea sets here!

Want one for yourself? I’m in love with this one!