This is for and about home cooks - the women all over the the world (and through the centuries) who put dinner on the table every night. They know how to cook quickly, easily, economically, healthily and satisfyingly whether for one or a dozen.

Part memoir, part diary of shopping, cooking, reading and thinking about putting supper on the table, by a former fashion/design writer/consultant whose secret love has always been food.  


Delicious Modern/Vintage Table Settings, Bakeware

ABC Carpets & Home, New York

ABC Carpets & Home, New York

I have a complete weakness for beautiful tableware. If it’s pretty and cheap, I’ll have it, and my collection of completely mismatched vintage and antique china overflows all of the spaces allotted to it.

It is a blessing that the junk shops that were once my main source of supply have vanished from my part of South London and I try to avoid antique fairs as far too tempting. (Once I mistakenly commented to a friend that I didn’t collect anything – she pointed silently to my over packed shelves. In my mind I didn’t “collect”, I simply accumulated.)

So when I discovered ABC Carpet’s beautiful basement tableware floor this past week in New York, I was completely overwhelmed.

The mix of vintage and new was what I loved most.

Ornate 19th & early 20th century plates placed with simple, modern coloured glass and hand thrown pottery, alongside vegetable dyed table linens and bone handled knives. Inspirational.  And to my delight, antique and vintage silver plated cutlery was here, too, as a new generation rediscovers the beauty of these often ornate old pieces. The current Victoria magazine in the US gave a whole spread to intricately decorated silverware. 

Note: shops such as Summerill & Bishop in London’s Notting Hill have been selling vintage silver cutlery for some time – in pairs or groups, beautifully tied with ribbon. Some other American stores have been offering these as well.

ABC Carpets & Home, New York

ABC Carpets & Home, New York

The same vintage/new mix was found in bake and kitchen ware

Among my newly identified “collection” are kitchen tools that date back to my mother’s early days as a young married – i.e. ice scrapers when “ice box” mean’t exactly that in a rural America not yet electrified.

Antique dealers call these “kitchenalia” – a much too defined term for what to me are purely sentimental objects.

The baking display at ABC Carpets mixed new and old with studied charm – fluted baking pans and hand carved chopping boards placed on rustic wood tables as casually as if just put down by the busy cook.  Vintage bentwood steamers held a selection of cookie/biscuit cutters., while more were piled into old wire baskets or laid out, ready to pick up and use, on a distressed metal table. 

Linens and other kitchen supplies were stored in an old, painted kitchen dresser.

I loved it all.

Easy Steak in the Style of the Pizza Baker

Southern Shrimp and Grits