Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Night Soup

I’m no tablescape designer by any stretch of the word, but when company comes over for a meal I try to make it a special experience for them no matter what the menu may be. I found a recipe for bean and ham soup on a blog I visited and I thought with the weather cooling down it would be an excellent time to have a few people over for some comfort food.


I love soup tureens and I think it’s such a shame people don’t use them anymore. They’re really pretty. I bought one several years ago and I use it to take my next door neighbors soup as a treat in the winter time. They’re elderly and hate getting out in the cold weather. I thought it was a nice idea, but she always says, “Oh, let me dump this in a pot so you can take your pretty bowl back I wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.” Well, my intentions were good anyway…

I have to admit last night the lazy side of me said, oh just leave it in the pot on the stove and dip it out of there. I’ve changed my mentality about that kind of stuff lately, when it comes to meals. I’ve decided to treat myself more often.


I surrounded the tureen with pink and white camellias, pink azaleas and Nandina foliage. I love the leathery green leaves of Nandina, it’s great to use in all sorts of arrangements. I really like the fan shape of the limbs.


I thought far enough ahead to sit the butter out to soften this time. I never seem to remember to do it. I knew I would be having cornbread with the soup so I wanted it to be easy to spread. I thought it would add a nice little bit of sparkle to the table in the candle light.


I have two sets of stainless steel flatware in my closet that I now, never use. The silverware that’s been in the closet for years and years I now use every day. I saved it to use for special occasions and guess what? It was never being used.  We fill our homes with this gorgeous stuff and say it’s for special occasions and we deprive ourselves of the pleasure of using it. Not me, not anymore I’m using mine. I have very, very fine Italian china that’s been boxed up for years in the closet. It’s in my cabinet now and I ate lasagna off of it Friday night. After all it is Italian and if I break a piece, I’ll get another one from Ebay or


The dishes I used last night are from the 40’s. The pattern is called ‘Sayonora” and it’s by Nasco. See the little people sitting on the bank watching the person in the boat leave? I’m sure there is a larger story to this pattern but I’ve never found it. I discovered most of these Asian patterns tell a story. I'm certain the majority of you are familiar with the legend of ‘Blue Willow’.


My guest list decreased from 6 down to three before the night was over, but I was okay with that. It actually freed up more room on my small table for the bread and a couple of candlesticks. Something about the dancing flames of a candles just completes the mood for any dinner. Don’t you think so?


The original recipe for the bean soup turned out to be extremely bland in my opinion. I thought it was some great recipe that had been circulating online and it turns out it’s just the one on the back of the bag of dried beans. Here’s the Ham and Bean recipe Randy style:

Sausage and Bean Soup

1- 1lb. bag of assorted dried soup beans
2 quarts of water
1lb. of smoked pork sausage links cut into 1 inch sections
1 large onion, diced
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1- 16oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of tomato paste
The juice and pulp of 1 lemon
4 tbsp. of good Chili powder

Soak the beans in water overnight and cook on medium for several hours until done. I can’t give you an exact time because I started in a crock pot and ended up in a pot on the stove. But it took a loooooooooog time. Next time I’ll just find out what kind of beans are in that bag and buy them canned. I just knew for sure we were going to eat crunch soup, but they finally got fit to be eaten. I added ground red pepper to my bowl and it was really good.



  1. Wow! I'd say you *are* a wonderful tablescape designer!

    It's the most impressive tablesetting I've seen outside of a restaurant in a long time -- but maybe I just don't go to the right parties ;-)

    And what a nice soup/chili recipe too!

    1. Well load up and head south, Aaron!LOL

  2. That is beautiful Randy and I'm sure it was delicious!

    1. Thank you Phillip! It was good, we ate almos all of it. I've gained 10 pounds the last couple of months, I've got to stop eating like this!

  3. Absolutely fabulous table. One that you could sit around after eating, glowing in the candle light. I too use the best every day. I love soup tureens. My DB thinks I am a little over the top with them. Soup tastes better out of a tureen. :) Mmmmm pass the corn bread.

    1. Lisa,
      Thats very sweet of you to say! If your DB thinks your are over the top with the tureen, imagine how he would feel 60 years ago when men dressed in coat and tie for the family dinners. I like soup tureens, but I REALLY considered collecting gravy boats once upon a time. They come in so many beautiul shapes and designs.

  4. Randy I for sure you have filled you spot!! slooks way better than anything Ive done lately...I just had to cancel a get together because of illnesss...I adore the dishes.....I am into Asian design of late and these are vintage!! I like these colors better than blue....they would look great in my dining room with the bungundy cherry bloom motif on the walls and floor!!..haha

    1. And Sharon you would have certainly been a welcome guest! You could pass the cornbread to Lisa from Greenbow. I got a great deal on these, 12 place settings with everything you can think of, including oil and vinegar bottles. It even has a teapot with a music box that plays when you pick it up to serve. :0)

  5. I love this post, Randy, and all the sentiments you expressed about using nice things everyday. So important, or, as you said they will never get used! I should be cleaning my house in preparation for Thanksgiving, but the only thing important thing in my mind is how the table looks! I am jealous of your camellias and azaleas.

    1. Well don't be too jealous of the Camellias. Only the white ones are mine. The pink one that looks like a carnation came out of my neighbors yard. I've tried to root one severa times and have failed with each attempt. I don't know what the name of it is and she planted it in 71'. Maybe Les will know what it is. I'm sure your Turkey Day table will be gorgeous!

  6. That's a beautifully set table. Yes, the candles do make it extra special. I agree we never use all these beautiful things we tend to collect-such a shame too. That bean soup sounds so good! Happy Holidays to you! I know they'll be extra special for you this year.

  7. Forgot to say how much I love those camelias. They look like peonies and are simply gorgeous!

    1. The ruffled pink one is my neighbors. I think I'm going to hunt for it in a nursery this weekend. Fingers crossed...

  8. Hi Randy,

    What a beautiful setting. I love the soup tureen. I don't own one but you've got me rethinking that. I really love the butter dish and the candles and the flowers... and the soup looks delicious. Comfort food at its finest. Kudos!

  9. Dear Randy
    This is such a lovely setting! .. I would have loved to have been one of your guests (would you let me come in my pajamas? LOL)
    It looks so relaxing and intimate and ready for great conversation while the wonderful meal was enjoyed. (did you mention what was for desert ??) .. paring down to three made it even more so comfortable .. I'm sure everyone enjoyed themselves immensely .. full of great food and conversation !
    I didn't know that about the Bluejay and Shaman connection .. now you have me constantly looking for that spare feather!!
    You are VERY naughty !! LOL
    Joy : )

    1. Joy you can absolutely come in your PJ's! I don't usually serve a dessert except in the supper club I started. When I have just a few guest over I like to serve a nice liquer for dessert and a digestif. This time it was Raspberry Di Amore which had a delicious raspberry flavor with heavy chocolate undertones. Yum yum!


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