Living by the ocean, it’s impossible to escape crustacean and fish-themed decor, and I have my share of it in tableware. 

These Rosalie Nadeau Fish plates were one of our earlier acquisitions from Tree’s Place Gallery in Chatham, MA. Though the gift shop closed in 2015, the plates are still available; they’re an excellent size and shape for the often liquidy presentation seafood dishes entail.

The plates are all handmade; the detail of the scales on the fish is remarkable, and the glazes run from gold to a briny blue.

I elected to keep the colour of the accoutrements neutral and let the texture of the plates do the talking.

The glasses are antique smoke-coloured Bohemian etched goblets from Laurel Leaf Farms and Trestle water glasses by Fitz & Floyd in Indigo. 

I pulled out my antique fish knives and forks with mother-of-pearl handles for a little bit of upmarket interest. We can’t have a more appropriate setting for them to shine. The Victorians really knew what they were doing with speciality implements. However, the emerging middle class took some flack for it among the landed gentry, whose silverware had been passed down through many generations and did not include such new-fangled items as fish knives and forks. Only the nouveau riche had such vulgar instruments, the wealthy, well-established sniffed.

The large fish slice is perfectly suited for lifting the flesh of the fish away from the skin and allowing the excess juices to drain away before transferring individual portions to plates.

All set for an outdoor meal. Simple, but casually elegant.

The centrepiece is a selection of spheres made of grapevine and other natural materials from Home Goods. 

I almost forgot—you can see the salt and pepper shakers from Pier 1 peeking around the first plate. They’re encased in a woven rope pattern and fit right in.

In addition to the entrée-sized fish plates, I have one or two serving pieces. Here is the small bowl, perfect for tartar sauce or sections of lemon. There is also a huge platter (not shown) which I use for whole fish, steamed crab legs or lobsters.

It’s a cold, wet weekend here on the Cape, much to the disgust of the residents whose houses are overflowing with disappointed family and friends. 

We took a long walk with the dogs this morning in between downpours and speculated on how many board games had been played in the last three days, particularly in the houses with six or eight cars in the driveway. I’m gathering from neighbours that tempers are starting to run a little short all around, and we are betting we will see an exodus of cars this afternoon! Memorial Day weekend had similar weather—just one of those years…

Happy 4th of July, everyone!