Proper Pasta

slide_435632_5700438_free{Alfred Eisenstaedt via Getty Images}

Spaghetti is among the difficult foods to handle gracefully. The subject is source of international debate. Research the topic and you will find a vast number of “authorities” offering varying views on the proper etiquette. Most agree that cutting the pasta is a huge no-no. But what about the spoon debate?  I’m referring to the practice of employing a large spoon along with fork as a means of transporting spaghetti from the plate to the mouth. Do you use a spoon or don’t you?

I guess this custom can vary depending on what country you are in. Emily Post herself wrote that, ”most restaurants (and hostesses) that feature pasta provide guests with a large spoon as well as the knife and fork. The fork is used to spear a few strands of spaghetti, the tips are placed against the spoon, which is held on its side, in the left havnd, and the fork is twirled, wrapping the spaghetti around itself as it turns. If no spoon is provided, the tips of the fork may be rested against the curve of the plate.” ‘– The New Emily Post’s Etiquette, Elizabeth L. Post, 1975

I might suggest that if you are at a restaurant or someones home, only use a spoon if one is served on the plate with the spaghetti; don’t ask for one. If you’re given a spoon to use, it is perfectly fine for you to use it. Otherwise, pasta should be twirled on the fork against the bottom of the plate.

All that being said, it can be stated unequivocally that Italians, in Italy, do not use a spoon.


Corks: To Sniff Or Not To Sniff?

20160721_083046By: Jaclyn Bressette

Most of you have been in the scenario of ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant. Typically, the bottle is brought to the table, and then the cork is removed and presented to the person who ordered it. But why? Most people have no clue what’s behind the ritual or what the heck to do with it. So most will stick it up to their noses and take a whiff. New rule: don’t do that, don’t sniff the cork! Honestly, there’s not terribly much that sniffing can tell you other than the obvious…. it smells like cork!

So, here’s the quick history to why this is done in the first place. Everyone knows France to be the producer of FABULOUS wines – especially from the Bordeaux region. Well, some pretty awful people decided they wanted in on the money that these magical wine producers were bringing in without any of the work required to create it. So, they made labels identical to some of the best Châteaus and smacked them on far inferior wines, making tons of money off of the counterfeit bottles. Now, of course this was NOT acceptable to the original wine houses, so they started using special inscriptions on the corks to signify the authenticity of the wine in the bottle. People would be able to know almost immediately when they had a counterfeit bottle of wine versus the real thing. So, the tradition of presenting the cork has remained and is considered more of a formality.

So, what do you do when they hand you a cork? Pick it up and look at it – you want a nice even line all the way around (this indicates a nice tight seal). For older wines, the cork will simply tell you how it’s been stored. You want the cork moist but not squishy of course! So yes, please inspect the cork. Other than that… hang onto it. If it’s a special occasion, I love to write on mine the date and occasion it was consumed before tossing it in my cork jar.

However, IF you are blessed enough in your wine fortune to be holding onto now or ever order a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, a Château Petrus, a Château Lafite Rothschild, or a Sassicaia (to name only a few of the most counterfeited wines)… PLEASE, I beg of you…. check the cork!!!…among other things.


Balloon Announcements – A DIY

While Wesley orchestrated our pregnancy announcement video for the world to see:

I enjoyed creating the hand-made small batch announcements that we sent to close friends and family. It completely slipped my mind to blog about these until I was pasting one into Tennyson’s baby book yesterday. These announcements were fun and easy to create. They would make for great save the dates, party invitations or everyday happy mail! Wanted to share…





Chip Clip

Craft Knife



Sharpie Oil Paint Pens




Print out your backing on card stock.

Using a craft knife, pierce holes in the card stock for twine to run through.

Carefully thread the twine through the punched holes.

Blow up your balloon, twist the end and clip with a chip clip.

Using the sharpie, write your message directly onto the balloon. Make certain your writing is dry before you deflate

Deflate the balloon.

Now simply tie the balloon onto your cardstock.

Not into the Sharpie idea? You can still use complete the project with custom printed balloons!