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Something Out of Nothing

January 15, 2010

I have a friend who is spectacular at making something out of nothing.  She invited me to her house once for leftover spaghetti and meatballs and I swear her dinner of leftovers was nicer than anything I could have done with an unlimited budget.   It’s all about the little touches she tells me…the sprig of rosemary as a garnish or the pieces of basil on top of the fresh mozzarella.  One Valentine’s Day she decorated the table with little pink and red chocolate hearts and had baby pink roses garnish her serving dishes.  It probably cost nothing but looked like a million bucks.  But my friend, you see, is an artist in all aspects of her life and she can visualize things that myself, a numbers person, just can’t see.  

When I have people over I really do make an attempt to make things look nice.  “Presentation is half the battle,” my mom always tells me.  The loose translation of that is, “No, Ameena, you cannot expect people to come to the kitchen and serve themselves.”  The entertainer in me wants to listen to my mom.  But the lazy side of me wants to serve out of my best Calphalon.  

The crazy thing is that even my dad is better at presentation than me.  My father is a stickler for silverware, serving dishes, and soup bowls.  Give him a paper plate and he will freak out.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  One might even call him obsessed.  I guess growing up in India without proper tableware will do that to you.  

Right before my wedding (about 100 years ago) my dad decided to rush out and buy a new set of dishes for a party my parents were hosting. So one Saturday he and my mom drove down to the Mikasa store and spent five hours debating the merits of the classic white set versus the pattern.  They went with the white, bought 100 place settings, and after that one wedding event those dishes went into storage and haven’t been taken out since.  Apparently my parents haven’t heard of this crazy, revolutionary concept called dish rental.  

Anyway, I’m not sure what happened to my sense of hospitality but I clearly didn’t inherit it from my parents.  As I get older though, I realize that these are the types of habits Maya is going pick up as she grows up.  Since Maya’s dad often eats his oatmeal out of a giant glass serving bowl and her uncle drinks his protein shakes straight out of a blender, it is pretty clear to me that I need to make more of an effort to offset the damage of my uncouth family’s habits. 

So lately I have been looking for nicer serving pieces.  Someone like me needs things that are foolproof!  During one of my half-hearted searches, I came across the most beautiful collection from Rosanna, Inc.  

I love these dishes!  All of them.  How can anything look bad if presented in these?  They look like something Anthropologie would carry but frankly, I haven’t been very impressed with the quality of Anthro’s housewares thus far.  I hope I can find these at a store near me to check their quality before committing to a purchase.  

Okay Mom, there may be hope for me yet!

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 10:30 pm

    Those look BEAUTIFUL!! your mom is right, presentation is very very important, esp since it is what makes first impressions.
    Anthro housewars are weird. I saw some weird rooster thingy. There seems to be a rooster theme.

  2. January 15, 2010 11:44 pm

    Hello there daaaaaaahling! I’ve left an award for you on my blog, come check it out.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  3. January 16, 2010 4:14 am

    Ooooh that teapot! It looks so magical!

    I know what you mean thouh, my grandma is so tasteful when it comes to decorating… Me? Not so much

  4. January 16, 2010 4:52 am

    I love playing the hostess– but I know what you mean about some people just having an “eye” for that type of thing. One of my friends is an artist, and she worked on some stuff for my wedding (program trays, my hair, etc.), and I swear, she was doing better work than our professional wedding planner!

    I know what you mean about anthro– I feel like their houseware goes in waves, and sometimes they have the cutest stuff, but then for six months, there will be nothing good.

    Love that line you’re looking at!

  5. January 16, 2010 4:58 am

    Those dishes are beautiful! I heavily believe that presentation is everything. My favorites are the the coffee mugs and cake stands 🙂

  6. January 16, 2010 5:06 am

    Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest impact.

  7. January 16, 2010 5:08 am

    Great post! Everything is beautiful! I have found a Bed Bath and Beyond near me…and now I’m addicted !! …of course, everything is twice as expensive as what I can buy for cheap-o at a Walmart or super-store…so I just browse and “dream”…;)

  8. January 16, 2010 5:37 am

    Nice post Ameena. Its funny how some people go crazy for the fine beautiful pieces…I am lucky to have a fork and plate 🙂
    If it makes you happy that is nice….but I am with u…my presentation skills lack bigtime!

  9. January 16, 2010 6:42 am

    For some reason, it’s the opposite in my family… My parents aren’t big on presentation… unless it’s a special occasion, they basically eat out of the pans they cooked the food in. I, on the other hand, need things to look nice. For whatever reason, it makes the food taste better (at least in my head) 🙂

  10. January 16, 2010 6:46 am

    Skillfully using leftovers is definitely an art! I had a friend in college who was SO good at that.

    Love those dishes!

  11. January 16, 2010 7:16 am

    Oooh, I love Rosanna stuff. It’s always so cute and the catalog has great ideas for presentation, too. I like the whole presentation part of entertaining, but my problem is that I don’t have enough room to have lots of serving dishes, plates, cake stands, etc. But the minute I get more cabinet space…

  12. January 16, 2010 7:43 am

    Those are SO pretty!!

    Hubby and I have been looking fir excuses to have people over for dinner (and to buy more servingware).

    Share what you decide to get!!

  13. January 16, 2010 8:34 am

    For Christmas my wife bought a new set of ‘everyday’ dishes, and a new set of Christmas dishes. She loves to play the hostess, but we don’t have guests over very often – much to her chagrin.

  14. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    January 16, 2010 8:52 am

    wow those are absolutely gorgeous! i think it’s good to have the at home atmosphere be a mix of straight from the blender slurping and white tablecloth dinners, not uptight but not like feral children either 😉

  15. January 16, 2010 9:04 am

    Hey, I’m not that great at choosing dinner sets either. But I didnt find those stuff in the pics great – mebbe I am not the creative sort either.
    BTW, you’ve been nominated:
    http://jeeney.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/i-have-received-so-i-give/

  16. January 16, 2010 2:25 pm

    I love eating out of pretty bowls too…it just lifts the whole dining experience and perhaps the food tastes even better? Hope you’ll manage to find a nice set of serving dishes!

  17. January 16, 2010 2:43 pm

    I love going to dinner parties and seeing how people set things up!
    It makes the food taste better! I am sure you do a lovely job!

  18. January 16, 2010 3:58 pm

    oh wow those dishes do look really good..

    TO be completely honest I am not really good at decorating when we have guests… heck I don’t like putting fall and Christmas decor out. I do think from time to time that I need to get better at it… in case we have a kiddo someday.

  19. January 16, 2010 7:07 pm

    I agree that presentation is important. I try to break out the nice dishes and other serving touches on Sunday for dinner. I even break out the nice table cloth or placements. The girls love having a “fancy” dinner on Sunday.

  20. January 16, 2010 8:43 pm

    Even a not so good meal will look yummy in fancy dishes . I totally agree about the presentation .:)
    http://2cupsofteaandacoffee.blogspot.com/

  21. January 17, 2010 6:50 am

    OMG I’m in love with that tea set! I’m a sucker for cute dishes but wouldn’t have any place to put them.

    I do have to agree that presentation makes the difference, since you eat with your eyes first. However, you don’t have to go crazy with it either.

  22. January 17, 2010 8:00 pm

    How cute is that tea set!

  23. January 20, 2010 4:10 pm

    Oh gosh. We barely have any dishes! All of ours are white, or black. I guess I like it simple.

    My mom is wonderful at wrapping things and decorating. I wish I would have picked that up. I keep meaning to ask her to teach me how to make a bow out of ribbon on a package.

  24. January 22, 2010 8:32 am

    Hey. I also adore tea and coffee. Just got back from China and they sell many amazing tea kinds there. If you get an opportunity, you must definitely consider going.

  25. May 15, 2010 12:18 am

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  26. May 15, 2010 12:19 am

    I like the layout of your blog and Im going to do the same for mine. Do you have any tips? Please PM ME.

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