It's the Fourth of July, a time for Americans to celebrate our independence from England and reflect on our country's history and heritage. I think it's more important than ever to learn and understand our history, for if we do so we will have a better idea of how to move forward and advance from these troubling times. For those who don't know, I am a historian by trade and by choice. My business isn't setting tables and collecting dinnerware-it's based in local history, historic preservation and tourism. My love of setting tables comes from childhood lessons, and I love to infuse all my passions together, to which I feel I do a fairly successful job. But-I am first and foremost a Montanan, historian and preservationist!
This year, I chose my table setting to be American products only on the table, with the exception of the napkins. I don't have any cloth napkins that are made in America, so the Living Quarters ones from Herberger's made in China would have to do. They went well with the antique red and white checked cloverleaf table cloth, found at a local thrift store and was well-loved. I chose Fiesta Lapis (Herberger's) for the dinner plates, and paired them with salad plates made for the Havre Masonic Lodge by Syracuse China (eBay), and topped with a frosted cobalt blue custard cup made by Anchor Hocking (thrift store). For the water, I used Central Park, also by Anchor Hocking (Walmart), and for the wine I used George and Martha Washington goblets made by Fostoria for Avon for our nation's Bicentennial (thrift store). Other pieces in that collection include a cobalt blue Mount Vernon little platter (thrift store) and a clear glass eagle and shield little platter (thrift store), used in this setting for the rolls. A large creamer or small pitcher featuring the image of Mount Vernon rounds off that collection (thrift store). The silver plated flatware is Grenoble by Oneida (estate sale from friends). I used the same Fiesta Scarlet and White ball style salt and pepper shakers from the Canada Day setting. For the butter, I used a marriage of two different glass companies: a cover in a grape and leaf pattern by Mosser Glass in cobalt blue on an Anchor Hocking Presence Cobalt Blue salad plate (both thrift store finds). The centerpiece is comprised of American made crocks and two ruffled Fenton Art Glass small vases in milk white hobnail (various sources).
On the Pepin Sideboard are the dessert and tea service. Fiesta Lapis salad plates and fruit bowls (Herberger's) are set for dessert, while the matching Lapis cups and saucers (Herberger's) wait for tea to be poured from the Fiesta White teapot (eBay). Fiesta Scarlet covered sugar and creamer on a figure 8 tray wait to season the tea, if desired (gift). Water was served out of a handmade pitcher made by Salmon Falls Stoneware of Dover, New Hampshire in 1995 and is in the Blueberry Basket pattern (thrift store). At the left of the Pepin Sideboard is a beautiful bronze eagle head sculpture by Montana artist Mike Hollern (thrift store, can you believe it??). A fitting addition to the Pepin Sideboard vignette, don't you agree?
Because Canada Day and the Fourth of July are so close together, and I really wanted the feeling of Colonial America, I chose a New England menu for the holiday. On the menu was:
Tossed Green Salad with Ranch Dressing
Boiled Salmon with Egg Sauce
Boiled New Potatoes with Butter
Strawberry and Blueberry Shortcakes