Dozens of torn-out magazine pages fill my recipe files, and most don’t have recipes on them.
Instead, the worn sheets showcase beautiful images and tips for the second (food is No. 1) most important key to a good meal: dining table ambiance.
I recently visited the House of Waterford Crystal in Waterford, Ireland, which charged up my passion for entertaining friends and family and lingering at the table long after dessert is served. Beyond the coffee, after-dinner drinks, chitchat and big laughs that table-lingering offers, it’s just good for the soul to sit back, relax and enjoy a pretty tablescape peppered with everything from elegant crystal to rustic pottery.
After watching and listening to the Irish Waterford crystal blowers and cutters while they turned out gorgeous designs that adorn everything from vases and champagne flutes to centerpiece bowls and candelabra, I now have an even deeper appreciation of the crystal pieces I’ve received as gifts or collected over the years.
With spring here and Easter dinners, Mother’s Day brunches and more right around the corner, I’ll soon be setting tables accented with my favorite adornments.
Incidentally, while in Ireland, I also visited a replica of a ship that transported Irish potato famine victims to America in the 1840s. The museum where the ship is located features a room dedicated to famous Irish people, including our very own Henry Ford, whose parents were Irish immigrants to America. What, you may ask, does all of this have to do with crystal and tabletop beauty? Well, Henry and his family appreciated crystal’s attributes, and in fact, Edsel, Henry’s son, and his wife, Eleanor, often entertained at the stately Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores with a treasure trove of crystal.
Oh what dinner parties they must have hosted here at the grand manor. Who better to know about them than Edsel and Eleanor’s granddaughter, Charlotte Ford, who wrote a book called 21st Century Etiquette.
In the book, she offers lots of insights for dining table devotees, including:
“The Creative Table Setting: While bone-white chine, polished silver, and the flicker of candlelight presents and elegant setting, personal touches such as pareos (colorful wraps) that masquerade as a tablecloth or a centerpiece of seasonal fruit and exotic leaves have their own distinct aura. The table’s setting need not be a venue to showcase your wedding registries, but can be as creative and dazzling as the main course. Just keep in mind that the setting, notably the centerpiece, shouldn’t distract from dinner conversation.”
Eating Out? Where to go in Dearborn for Easter Brunch
If setting a pristine table isn't in the cards for your family this Easter, let one of several local spots take care of everything for you.
- The Henry Hotel's signature restaurant, TRIA, will be hosting an Easter brunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant will serve all the regular breakfast options, plus several freshly cooked entrees, a shrimp and crab clar ice bar, garden options and a dessert station. The cost is $59 per adult; $25 for children ages 12-16; and $12 for children ages 5-11.
- Head to the Dearborn Inn for another local Easter brunch option. Served in the Alexandria Ballroom or Edison's, brunch will include everything from omelets to prime rib, plus salads and desserts. A breakfast buffet will be served in the Ten Eyck Tavern. Make reservations by calling 313-271-2700, ext. 6209.
- Andiamo Dearborn is offering Easter brunch and dinner options, featuring all the usual favorite fares. Reservations recommended. Visit www.andiamoitalia.com for more information.
Whatever type of table we set this Easter, Mother’s Day or for a festive spring brunch, we can certainly be swept away to a different place or time with a nicely appointed or creative tabletop.
Here's a toast (in a crystal glass, preferably) to that!