Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The 411 on Napkins...

I have used cloth napkins since I was a young woman first living on my own. Over the last three decades I have learned much about napkins. I love the ritual of folding them and setting the table. Over the past 30 years (yikes where does the time go?) I have created a philosophy about not only the use of them but the design, construction and the best napkin buys on the market.
Like other fine linens, thread count and weight are important for longevity. I is important to buy the best napkin you can afford and add to your collection. Often times after the holiday season many stores have amazing sales. That is when I buy any new napkins for the coming year.

My Top Tips...
#1.Great napkins come from stores that carry quality products. If you can not afford full price, shop the sales. But buy the best, dollar for dollar it is money well spent.

#2.Heavier is better. A nicely weighted napkin will hold its shape and form and not require ironing. (I am not a fan of ironing!)

#3 Always make sure the Color is woven into the fabric and not printed on the surface.

#4 Consider your overall color-way. I usually buy napkins that generally go with each other. Blues and yellows and creams. This color-way goes with my dishes and if I have a large dinner party they always work together because each color works in harmony with one another.

These are my top tips and I follow them diligently, and because I do,
my napkins last for many years.

When you buy something as ordinary as a napkin are you thinking of the future? How long will this napkin last? Is it a color choice that you want to have around for the moment or are you going for longevity? I am still using some napkins from 12 years ago! They are soft and a bit worn however the color still sparkles and they are pretty enough to be used at a dinner party.
I buy napkins that are either made in Portugal or France. They are available at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table to name a few stores. The cost is around 15-17$ and worth every penny. Think about this, if each napkin lasts a decade, which they will, the actual cost is around 1.50-1.70 per year. WOW now that is cheap for such elegant style.
It is also important to note that unless you are eating fish/lobster you can re-use your everyday napkins for several days in a row. I have always done different things to keep everyones napkin separate and available for the next meal. Each person could have their own napkin hook on a wall or edge of a cabinet. You could give each person an antique silver napkin ring, or you can hang it over the back of the chair each person typically sits in.

I have always had a drawer or shelf devoted to napkins, and nearby in a small chest or adjacent drawer I keep my collection of antique and quirky napkin rings.Life is for living, we eat every day I believe we have a responsibility to make each moment wonderful. Consider cloth napkins and the pleasure of using them every day.


Anonymous said...

you should get the 411 on paper towels they are truly the next wave in modern table design

Lynn said...

It's funny how those who are so quick to criticize don't dare to leave their name! Isn't that right, Shorty?