Suddenly, it’s summer. After a long spell of wet, chilly days, the sun is shining, and the mercury is rising. But before we get too deeply into summer produce and vibrant colours, let’s pause a minute and say farewell to the lilies of the valley. 


Their delicate bells and delectable fragrance graces us for only a short while every spring. Sniff, sniff…

I have had these napkins for donkey’s years and never seem to be in the same place that they are residing when the lily of the valley is blooming. So this year, I was determined they would get their chance to shine and packed them when we left for the Cape. 

The French Blue grosgrain trim sets off the creamy shades of the floral pattern. I have only six of them, purchased from long-defunct Country Dining Room Antiques, lately of Great Barrington, MA,   

The blue gingham tablecloth (Pottery Barn) picked up the grosgrain ribbon colour and edged the scalloped placemat from Rebecca Udall in the UK. 

My oft-used Aerin green scalloped-edge dinner and salad plates added a layer of contrast to all the blue.

Fostoria Minuet yellow Depression glass sherbet bowls and footed tumblers are a recent acquisition.



The bases are clear, adding another note of interest to a lovely etched pattern.

The garden is filling in at a great rate now. But, first, I have to tuck in a few more annuals, and after that, the battle with weeds commences in earnest!

But that’s for later. Meanwhile, let’s celebrate these glorious days of early summer and remember the intoxicating fragrance of the lily of the valley.

Setting this table was a welcome respite from editing Entertablement—Much Depends on Dinner. Sending the final draft off to the proofreader, I was startled to discover the manuscript was more than 47,000 words. Good grief! No wonder it seemed to take longer than The Four Seasons. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover. 

Much Depends on Dinner takes a look at how food preparation and household management have evolved (or not!) since the Industrial Revolution, when most of us moved from subsistence farming to the modern mechanized world. We visit some grand houses in England, and meet Domestic Divas from each of the eras I’ve called Class Distinction (roughly 1750 to 1890), the Highest Highs and Lowest Lows (1890 to 1945), mid-Century Modern (post-WWII to the ’70s), The Development of the Dinner Party (the ’80s to 2000) and So Much Food Porn…So Little Cooking (the last two decades).

And, of course, there are lots of table settings and recipes! 

I’m anticipating the hardcover book will be available by mid-July, and I will know more about the timing on both it and the Kindle version in the next couple of weeks. However, most of it is out of my hands now, and I’m eager to get back to cooking and table setting. 

Salted caramel chocolate mousse is on the docket for today. Along with some sugar cookies with edible wafers. It’ll be a garden-themed table. Stay tuned!

Happy Sunday, all.