I invited a few friends for a Holiday lunch  and, vrai miracle!, they were all free and willing to sacrifice their precious Holiday time to come to my house. As they were so generous with their time, I was going to be generous with mine and set a table as special and sophisticated as I could make it with some of my favorite pieces. I decided on a Winter Theme: I had to go fish out a nice white tablecloth from the closet where it has hung for...months, and white napkins: a tad formal- it's the Holidays after all. I dug through my silverware boxes. I brought out the white and silver dishes and thought that the red striped Venetian glasses and coral porte-couteaux would warm up the look. With such a wintery setting, I opted for a soft mango-pearl irisé coffee set for after lunch café (the French way) On the menu...let's see: a  hot butternut squash soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and toasted Brie tartines, a plain green salad, and for dessert, poached pears (canned, oui, absoluement) with green tea/mint syrup? Ah, oui, pas mal.

A crisp white damask tablecloth with monogrammed napkins

A silvery centre de table: inexpensive silver ornaments mixed with antique ones including the 40's windmill which is my favorite one of all.

Art Deco dishes from the Brussels Antiques Market in the Woluwé part of town

 Water glasses from Venice and coral chunks as porte-couteaux

Small silver vases for a few holly cuttings here and there; they were used for holding cigarettes when smoking was still considered acceptable at the table... and everywhere else.

Silver serving pieces from both our families, some American, some French

An Art deco bowl from Paris for the coffee-time chocolate truffles

and a Holiday card as place card with each guest's name

et voilà,

The table is all dressed up

Le café is to be served in the mango-pearl service à café from the antiques market in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Provence

Soyez les bienvenues, mes amies 

 images JADHny

La soupe
butternut squash
Vidalia onion
chicken stock
half and half (may use fat free)
salt and pepper

Peel 1 large butternut squash. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Cut into 1-inch chunks. (what?  buy it all peeled and cut!)  Sauté 1/2 chopped Vidalia onion in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent. Add cubed squash and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken stock or low sodium bouillon. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree in blender. (Do not do this while squash is hot. Steam may crack the glass or cover of blender.)
Return pureed squash to a pot. Stir in 1 cup half and half or milk (more for a thinner soup). Add 2 tsp. dried dill, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh dill.
Serve with a French baguette.
(I also add  a dollop of cream and a little nutmeg and serve before we sit down)

Submitted by: Linda Sjogren to cooks.com

au revoir.


  1. margaret18/12/09

    Sublime!! The Art Deco dishes really caught my eye.

  2. Honestly, my chere, you are beyond chic. What a stunning table (and salle a manger). Who wouldn't rather be chez toi then out shopping.

    Even if one didn't know you were French, one would know you are French -- every detail, perfection.

    Thank you again, mille fois for your beautiful post.

    xo, Letitia