Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Of Linens and Laundry

We use real napkins . . . for every meal.     My mother always did and I do too!

Whether it is just for us . . . 

breakfast room table set for lunch -- our napkin by our plate.   We can tell which napkin is ours because of the napkin ring it's in.

Or when we have company . . .

A fresh napkin for each guest (and us) -- most always  old damask.

A napkin in a silver napkin ring is always at each place!

Ours, we use more than once -- actually for a whole week for when I clean on Monday, I trade out napkins.

Guests, get new ones (and we do, too!).

We've had quite a bit of company in the last few weeks . . .

And so today, I spent in the laundry room ironing . . .

I don't usually have this many napkins to iron but we've been gone and have had a lot of company!

Stacks of napkins!     On the dining room table ready to be put away.    The dinner napkins are stored in the Victorian armoire in the dining room.

The armoire, holds napkins as well as plates and lots and lots of glasses!

In the drawer in the bottom.

In an ideal world, I would have enough drawer space so that all the napkins are in one layer.   In a 1920s house, there is no perfect world and thus, they are layered!

It's perfect for napkin storage.    I've prefer white napkins -- damask or Irish linen.   And I look for them at Estate Sales although as full as the drawer is, I ought to stop!      There are some blue ones, too and the ones on the left are from Williams Sonoma and the "patina" of the fabric after numerous washings and ironings is soft and "comfortable".    I have other blue ones as well as some red ones which are perfect for Christmas or Valentine's.     Some red ones in the back (they look like they're polka dotted) were a gift from a dear friend.    The "olive drab" ones on the right were as well.    Friends know I love napkins!

The tea napkins get a drawer to themselves.

the Waterford and china and silver serving pieces are stored in this cabinet.

In the Asian cabinet in the dining room.

They have their own drawer as well.

The smaller drawers are perfect for the tea napkins.

White for tea, of course.   And two sets of wee napkins that are edged and embroidered.  

China, silver, crystal and napkins

The drawer in the cabinet which holds the tea napkins.    There is a bigger, deeper drawer in the cabinet which holds my tea cloths.     I have several sets and I'm sure they were "bridge sets" for they seem to come with bridge table sized tablecloth and 4 napkins.     But I use them all for tea!

We've been gone (hence the big pile of napkins to be ironed today) and I made dinner the easy way.    A rack of smoked ribs from the market (they are very good by the way), baked sweet potatoes and coleslaw.

Broccoli "slaw" with my grandmother's dressing -- if she knew that I dressed broccoli "slaw" with her dressing would cause her to roll over in her grave!

Not my regular coleslaw but slaw made from the broccoli slaw mix.    Dressed with my grandmother's dressing of equal amounts of oil, vinegar and sugar.   Put the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and heat until boiling and the sugar is dissolved.    Add oil and bring to boil again.    I add a 1/2 t. of dry mustard, a good palmful of celery seed (I adore celery seed so am always generous with it) and salt and pepper.

It's a colorful slaw and although not quite the same as "real" coleslaw, it was a good addition to a BBQ rib dinner.


Bookie said...

Tea napkins...I never knew there were special cloth tea ones!

Do you think I could substitute Splenda in your dressing recipe with no ill effects?


I love both your tables and I also adore cloth napkins for every kind of setting. I too have many tea napkins of my own and some that were my Mil's. I love the oriental chest, where you store your crystal, china and napkins. Happy SS.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I love napkins, too, though I don't always use them, I confess....But the older napkins are so much more absorbent and so much softer than the new ones that are often polyester or the slightly scratchy paper ones. I wish I were as organized as you are...

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

You certainly have lovely places to store your napkins. Mine are all in a drawer in the kitchen with the place mats.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

the slaw looks so good!
I have stacks of napkins I don't use..I use to, but I am only home 3-4 nights a week for dinner. Maybe someday they will get some use.

Pondside said...

You're a napkin-lover after my own heart. Paper napkins are for the beach or a picnic during a car trip. Linen is for at home, and I have a dresser in the hall that is devoted to table linen.
Broccoli slaw is something I've only recently discovered. I'll have to try your recipe!

On Crooked Creek said...

Dear Martha,
I agree that cloth napkins should be used for meals...but my "MEN" won't use them! Sometimes I set the table with one cloth and one paper napkin!!! You napkin collection is gorgeous! I normally don't "shake" homemade fressing...I prefer to slowly add the olive oil last and allow it to emulisify...but I was following the directions! Tell was prety darn good shaken!!! Ha! Have a blessed week ahead, dear friend!

Tammy at Tammy Loves Dishes said...

I love cloth napkins, also. I recently acquired some white damask napkins in a box of old linens from an estate sale. They were well used so I had to soak them for a while to remove most of the stains. They will be just perfect for everyday use.

podso said...

You and I were cut from the same napkin...or cloth ... this could have been my post and your drawers of napkins look like mine. We always use cloth napkins and have our own individual ring so we can tell which napkin is whose. One of my dearest possessions is my parents' silver sort of oval napkin rings with their initials engraved. I keep my eyes out for cloth napkins at estate sales, etc. I even got a young friend into using them with her toddlers!!!

Michelle said...

Love your use of the same napkin through several meals...very European! I learned that from my sisters-in-law in Germany when I was newly married. They both have an assortment of silver napkin rings just like you do and that's how each family member remembers which napkin is theirs. They replace the napkins once they are too soiled to re-use, sometimes after a couple of days and more often weekly. Love that practice...saves from throwing away a lot of paper and it is simple and elegant! Also, love your tea napkins! I need to hunt for more of those at estate sales. It always shocks me how inexpensive these beautiful linens sell for...but it's good for us!

Lottie said...

Martha, love your post on cloth napkins. I'm going to go back to using cloth again! With a messy husband and raising two boys, I always used paper at the table. Time for everyone to use cloth!
Thank you for sharing your collection!