Flowers, Summer

Contain Yourself!

The containers you choose for flower arrangements can make as much of a contribution to the visual impact of an arrangement as the flowers themselves do. To demonstrate, we’ve used the same flowers in four different containers to show how a little thing like using a basket instead of a vase (or a box, or even a hat!) can completely change the feel of the flowers. And by “we”, I mean my longtime friend and house manager, Nelly Salvacion and […]

My Recipes, Pasta, Vegetarian

Pasta and Raw Vegetable Salad

This is a salad I’ve been making for many years, and it remains a solid favorite with my family.  It’s never exactly the same each time I make it, because it depends on what fresh veggies are available when I’m putting it together.  Dress it with a simple vinaigrette, but you can easily use your favorite bottled vinaigrette as well.  Just give the salad a couple of hours to get cold before serving. Pasta and Raw Vegetable Salad Serves 6 […]

Etiquette, Formalities, Tales from the White House

Black Tie at the White House

Last week, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a reception in honor of Ford’s Theatre, the historic theatre used for various stage performances beginning in the 1860s, and the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  I’m posting some photos from the White House reception, to illustrate the level of detail that goes into the planning of a really good party.  That extra bit of ivy tucked into the flower arrangements, the careful placement of the canapés on the silver […]

My Recipes, Sides, Vegetarian

Corn on the Cob

Serves 6 Prep time: 30 minutes Corn picks are nice to have, but unless you’re eating in a more formal setting I prefer to do without them.  They tend to get thrown away by mistake, and hey, corn on the cob is a naturally messy food.  Part of the fun of eating it is having a devil-may-care attitude about the mess.