Monthly Archives: January 2012

Cocktail napkins

I’ve been eyeing hemstitched linen cocktail napkins for a while, but the cost at typical stores seemed ridiculous. ($36 for a set of four?!) I also had a very specific shade of blue in mind to complement my fainting couch.

I finally found a set of very reasonably-priced ones at Grandin Road. For $29, you get a set of twelve and they monogram for free!



Remembering a great man

Seventeen years ago today, we lost a wonderful Southern gentleman who was known to me as “Pepa,” a word I made up as a toddler trying to say “Grandpa.” After my parents divorced when I was seven, we lived with my mother’s parents until my junior year in high school. I owe Pepa a great deal for teaching me everything from the importance of an education, to having good posture and decent manners, to having an open mind about others’ beliefs and backgrounds (a sentiment not always found in the Deep South in the 1970s).

I miss him terribly and would love to spend an afternoon with him, asking questions about his early life, World War II, sites he saw when touring Europe. It’s hard to believe he has been gone from my life for almost two decades.


I’ll share one quick memory that I have of him. One night, I asked for special permission to stay up and watch the Grammy’s. I especially wanted to see the highlight of the show, a band that I’m now embarrassed to admit I liked as a pre-teen. (But won’t put here so that I don’t insult anyone…particularly the band.) The artists finally came on and he watched patiently without saying a word as they performed their hit . When the performance was over, I turned to him and said, “So…what did you think?”

He shrugged and gently said, “It was all just gimmicks, gal. All those neon drumsticks and silly dancing. Real musicians wouldn’t need all those props.”

Here’s to you, Pepa.

Hoppin’ John

My mother called this morning to wish us a Happy New Year. During the conversation, she checked to make certain that I was serving Hoppin’ John today. (Yes, ma’am!)

hoppinJohnI’ve heard several stories about what each ingredient means, but I tend to go with:

  • rice for luck
  • black-eyed peas for prosperity
  • pork for optimism (as it always forages forward)
  • I like to add tomatoes (let’s say it’s for love)
  • served with collards or other greens (again, prosperity)

This year, I roughly based my Hoppin’ John recipe on this find from Garden & Gun. I substituted fresh kale instead of collards and added a dash of Tobasco’s Green Chili for a little spice.

This afternoon, we’re cheering on the Broncos against the Bears. Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, & prosperous 2012.