Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Those French Plates" A Tablescape for Show n Tell + Foodie Friday

It's Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home, and Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum, plus I'm working my daily tablescape into this same post. Multi-tasking is going to be the norm I think, as we all move toward the coming holidays.

"Those French Plates" is how my family always referred to these plates, don't know why, maybe because they came from the Paris flea market. I've always loved them and the detail is wonderful, with a story to be told by each plate. They have a maker's mark on the back which I haven't identified and an incised stamped number 2235P.

We have the "Public Writer"

The "Shoemaker For Ladies and Young Girls"

"Soloman Commercial Second-hand Dealer"

A farm girl feeding her goat.

Girls in the gazebo playing with bubbles.

A woman street minstrel with her children, something about "Blind Love" and charity.

This is a tablescape filled with memories and family histories.  The dinner plates are Haviland and belonged to my folks.

The candelabra also came from the Paris flea market, along with the sterling pie server.

The salt-cellars are German and the butter knife belongs to the set of American Directoire sterling left to me by my mother-in-law, who also left me this cut-work German candy dish.

My mother-in-law also left me most of the crystal pieces, while the little glass pitcher was my maternal grandmother's.

One of the few wedding gifts still around after 45+ years is this sterling butter dish.

From my collections comes a set of Vera Wang crystal stemware and the roses from my garden.

A darling little dog's head jam pot by Homer Laughlin from my collection.

And a Bennett's stein from my collection.

All the generations of women from these families who loved and cherished their special things brings me comfort in this seaon of Thanksgiving. The blending of styles and periods brings together the memories on a table that could tell enough stories to last more than a single life-time.

And the food?

The menu was a small baby spinach salad w/fresh mandarin orange slices and a lemon vinegarette dressing, country fried slices of red potatoes w/parsley sprinkles, thinly sliced medium rare beef tenderloin, and to start my favorite French Onion Soup.  I use Alton Brown's recipe and find it is consistantly the hit of the meal. Keep the portions of the other courses small because the soup is really a meal in itself! I have used all of the onions from my garden, so next time it will have to be store bought veggies. :(

Alton Brown's French Onion Soup

5 sweet onions (like Vidalias) or a combination of sweet and red onions (about 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white wine
10 ounces canned beef consume
10 ounces chicken broth ( I use the organic stuff from Costco)
10 ounces apple cider (unfiltered is best)

Bouquet garni; thyme sprigs, bay leaf and parsley tied together with kitchen string (DH doesn't like bay so I leave that out)
1 loaf country style bread
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Splash of Cognac (optional)
1 cup Fontina or Gruyere cheese, grated

Trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise. Remove peel and finely slice into half moon shapes. Set electric skillet to 300 degrees and add butter. Once butter has melted add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet. Do not try stirring until onions have sweated down for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and reduced to approximately 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not worry about burning.

Add enough wine to cover the onions and turn heat to high, reducing the wine to a syrup consistency. Add consume, chicken broth, apple cider and bouquet garni. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Place oven rack in top 1/3 of oven and heat broiler.

Cut country bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 minute.

Season soup mixture with salt, pepper and cognac. Remove bouquet garni and ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round, toasted side down, on top of soup and top with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.


  1. I make onion soup but have never seen a recipe with apple cider in it. Interesting. Your table is very lovely too.

  2. Hi Candy!

    OMG! Where do I even start? This table is just stunning! Every single piece on it...I WANT!!! LOL You have some truly BEAUTIFUL things here! Each time I would scroll down to look at the next picture I had to wipe off my keyboard due to all the drool!!! LOL Each and every piece on that table is a treasure! thank you so much for sharing all your special pretties!

    Oh, and I love that soup recipe from E.B.! My husband and I have made it a couple times now and love it!

  3. What beautiful pieces you have accumulated...and how lovely they all look together.

  4. And you actually USE your beautiful china! Bravo!

  5. Beautiful table! And that soup in now on my menu next week!
    Have a wonderful week end!
    ~Really Rainey~

  6. ALL the pieces are great.. but my favorite one was the butter dish... Thanks for sharing... It's not the first time a visit you... I think I NEED to become a follower....

  7. Everything....
    EVERYTHING is so beautiful!!

    My show n tell this week is glass, glass antiques. A couple of them. Come by if you can. Have a glorious weekend. Click Here

  8. Oh la la! J'adore les assiettes!

  9. Love those "LITTLE FRENCH PLATES" how charming and what a wonderful table scape. My first visit to your Blog but not my last!

  10. I love the candle holders---very striking. My favorite on the Frenchy plates is the girl feeding the goat--makes me think of Heidi. I think it is cool how you have used things that bring memories to your mind--I love doing that!

  11. What a pretty table setting, and with memories. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh thank you for sharing such an elegant setting. I am in love with your jam pot as much as I am your blog.

    Be sure to stop by & take time to browse. Click the "Follow" button so we can inspire each other. Just above "Follow" is my Gold Frame of Roses Button which you can add to your site for easy access to the boutique. If you love the posts and want updates hot off the press, be sure to click "Subscribe" for instant news notifications at what's going on at Tesoro Fino and in my crazy Italian home.

  13. Your table is quite beautiful and your menu sounds delicious. You made every one who sat at that table feel special. Kudos.

  14. I love those plates! I've never seen anything like them. Beautiful!

  15. The plates are so unique and I love the way the love shows through your words as you describe the special pieces in your collection.


  16. What a special table with all your family treasures. Jean

  17. What a BEAUTIFUL!!! table and the menu sounds WONDERFUL!!!

  18. Stopping by for the first time and what a delight to my eyes! Your table looks stunning and I have enjoyed the close-up detail of your pictures.

    So nice to visit your Show & Tell.

    Kindly, ldh

  19. What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, including cherished pieces of family history!

    You have set a beautiful table!!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  20. My goodness!! Everything is beautiful!! I especially LOVE the plate of the little girl playing with bubbles!! Everything looks so beautiful.. you did a fabulous job! -April

  21. Those are the most charming plates ever! I have two cut work plates from my mom that look alot like your pedestal one. It is so fun to have things that have a history isn't it?

  22. I'm so happy that so many of you enjoyed this "Frenchy" tablescape!! I love using my pretties and even if my family would be satisfied with paper plates, the joy of entertaining for me includes using all the things that make the meal so pleasing to me.

    And do try the soup! It's a true wonder!

  23. Your table is lovely, inviting and heart warming. So wonderful to have so much family history at your table.

  24. Thanks for stopping by Sweet Bee, and I'm glad you enjoyed my table!

  25. oooh! Lots of pretty things! I love the plate with the girls blowing bubbles!

  26. Hi Cindy -

    I'm glad you stopped by, and I could have bet money on you liking the "bubble" girls best! :-)

  27. Candy, I'm hopping around on your blog this evening. I may just camp out here tonight. LOL Your have the most interesting things. I love it!
    These French plates are really tugging at my heart strings. They are so wonderful. I love everything about them from the beautiful borders to the lovely scenes that are different on each plate. What a find! One of my favorite things about traveling in France is exploring the flea markets and the antique markets. Thank you for sharing these. ~ Sarah

  28. Hi Sarah -

    I'm pleased that you are enjoying your visits to TLRT!

    Make sure to check the following link for an update on those French Plates:



  30. Just enter French Plates in the Search box on the sidebar. Several links to posts will come up and you can learn the whole history of the plates by following the links and reading the comments on them. :-)



Thank you for your lovely comments.

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