The Tiny and Highly Functional Kitchen

 

4a835-traditional_household_small_functional_kitchenOne doesn’t need lots of space to have an elegant, organized kitchen like the one pictured here. Things just need to co-exist in coherent fashion. Large, white appliances combined with lemon yellow, orange and lime green  cookware can give a unified appearance;  I call the effect “harmonious clutter”. All the many tools in this kitchen are used frequently, so there really is no wasted space.

@M-J de Mesterton, May 2017

Please Visit M-J’s Traditional Household  for tips on kitchen essentials.

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M-J’s Old Classic Sweater by Red and Blue of Milan

 

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M-J’s 15-year-Old Classic Sweater by Red and Blue of Milan, Bought at an Italian Tailor Shop: Sir Roger Moore Wore the “Same” Sweater Several Times in His 1970s Series, “The Persuaders”, with Tony Curtis

 

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This elegant, double-breasted classic sweater by Red and Blue of Milan looks superb on all sides! It has brass buttons on its cuffs and front. The sweater is versatile charcoal grey and rib-knitted, just like Sir Roger’s. It even has double vents in the back.

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Take good care of your clothes,

and they will serve you well for decades!

©M-J de Mesterton

White Shoulders, a Scent from the 1940s

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M-J de Mesterton, Wearing White Shoulders Perfume Since 1960, Alternating in the 1970s and Beyond, with Givenchy III, Quartz by Molyneux, and Occasionally Youth Dew 

One of my favourite perfumes, White Shoulders was created in the 1943 by Hartnell, which by 1945 had become Evyan.  I had an acquaintance in Manhattan long ago, who often sang at the famous Michael’s Pub, and only wore White Shoulders. I cannot remember her name, but the ambrosial floral perfume is unforgettable. My two other favourite scents are Givenchy III, which is no longer available, and Quartz by Molyneux, a fresh but evanescent perfume, perfect for morning and daytime, which I discovered at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan circa 1985 when they were out of Givenchy III. Look at the following advert for White Shoulders. The featured drawing is of a glamorous woman who resembles actress Loretta Young.

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When I was five, my generous, chic uncle gave me a little grey fur stole, a string of pearls, and a  bottle of White Shoulders by Evyan Perfume.  Its sweet, classic scent always reminds me of Christmas, 1960.

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  1. White Shoulders Top Notes (The Following Material is from Basenotes.net)
  2. White Shoulders Heart Notes
  3. Base Notes of White Shoulders

M-J’s Elegant, Simple Christmas Table

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A simple Christmas Day luncheon for two included home-made waffles, strawberries cooked with cane sugar  into an elegant sauce, heavy cream whipped with powdered sugar and vanilla, crispy bacon, chopped walnuts, maple syrup and butter. A percolator of Eight O’Clock Columbian Peaks coffee* stood ready to serve.©M-J de Mesterton, Christmas 2016

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*Eight O’Clock coffee, the whole-bean Columbian Peaks, medium-roasted  variety, is my standard, as long as it’s available. I keep the opened, clipped bag in an air-tight red container as shown. Company instructions say to keep the beans or ground coffee at room-temperature, not in the freezer or refrigerator.

©M-Jeanne de Mesterton

Elegant Winter Dressing with M-J

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Above: M-J de Mesterton in a Tibbett Duffel Coat of Elysian Wool, Insulated Aigle Boots from France; a Mongolian Cashmere Scarf by Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland; a White Fox Hat Made in Helsinki; a Plaid Tweed Skirt, Black Leather Cashmere-Lined Gloves from Italy, and a Walking Stick Made of Scotch Broom

Wear warm clothes when it’s cold outside and inside. The days of women showing their bare arms year-round just because an occupant of the White House does it to show off her biceps are coming to a close in about three weeks.  The current president has, since 2009, kept the oval office at a balmy 85° year-round, as though he were in Hawai’i, while instructing the citizenry to “tighten your belts”. The rest of us, if we have heat at all, keep our places at 68° or even cooler, thanks to the punitive cost of fuel.

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Above: on Christmas Day, I’m wearing a turtleneck under a round-necked dress, nylon stockings, a silk & cashmere pashmina, and faux-fur-lined tall leather boots. Most winter days, I’d be wearing tweed and sweaters.

Elegant Dressing for Autumn: Classic Tweed Travelling Suit
M-J de Mesterton in Aquascutum Tweed Suit, Her Perennial Favourite

Rugged, traditional, and elegant tweed made from Scottish wool is the best material for fall and winter dressing. Easily covered with a trench-coat or embellished with a pashmina or long wool scarves, tweed will keep you warm and dry. Tweed suits, skirts, trousers and jackets are always fashionable.

My husband and I found it odd, if not historically-incorrect, to see the inhabitants of Downton Abbey wearing sleeveless flapper dresses all over the huge, inevitably cold and difficult-to-heat house, at all hours, without wraps or sweaters. Those dresses were made to be worn at nightclubs while dancing the Charleston, where  hyper-activity and body-heat of the crowd made it possible to stay warm while baring arms.

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Dining at Downton: thanks to cocktails, aperitifs and wines, scantily-clad ladies there could abide the evening without shivering. Or maybe not; Ralph Lauren designed wardrobes for the series, and may have just assumed that women dressed like flappers in most situations because it was the Roaring Twenties. I doubt that 1920s women were so silly, but there have always been nonsensical followers of fashion, like the ones who are now wearing peep-toed shoes without stockings all winter long in cold climates. My grandmother, who was born in the Victorian Age, told me that to be beautiful, one must suffer–I know that freezing’s not what she meant. Even body-heat from large groups at table does not take the chill off England’s grand country houses for most months of the year; shoulders are usually covered with something at dinner, such as a little fur garment or shawl that could be removed later in the evening for dancing. And no self-respecting woman would be standing about the house during winter in just a sleeveless gown.

Speaking of winter dressing and silly followers of fashion, here is a post that I made here at Elegant Survival News in December, 2011:

Talking Heads Clad Badly and Barely-Shod

Summer Dress and Peep-Toe Shoes in December?!

Why is the anchorwoman wearing a sleeveless summer dress in cold NYC on December 6th? Are biceps something that female talking heads suddenly find a crying need to bare, even in freezing temperatures? Are they using too much energy, in an effort to keep tropically warm indoors? Is it seasonally appropriate to wear bare-toed shoes on wintry days, as the woman in red is doing, or sandals (the first lady wore sandals at a Kennedy Center gala last weekend) in December? I don’t think so. These women are on a national television show, displaying their irresponsible, energy-inefficient lifestyles before the public, as if to say that a size XXX carbon-footprint is desirable. The rest of us are wearing wool and tweed, living in homes with little-or-no  heat most of the time.

In an Alpine Climate, January: Dressing in Furry Boots, a Scottish Hand-Made Fair Isle Sweater, and an Austrian Wool Skirt

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M-J’s Sautéed Tofu

Extra-Firm Tofu is Marinated and Dusted with Soy Flour, before Being Sautéed in Safflower and Sesame Oils

Tofu was introduced in the United States by famous Japanese macrobiotic cook, author and painter Aveline Kushi.

Marinated in soy sauce or miso, dusted with soy flour, then fried in safflower and sesame oils, this tofu makes an elegant hors d’oeuvre or a health-promoting meal.

©M-J de Mesterton 2012

Southwestern Salad

M-J’s Southwestern Salad: Chopped Lettuce, Red and Orange Bell Peppers, Spanish Olive, Finely-Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, and Chile-Spiced Ground Beef with Home-Made Ranch-Style Dressing and Sautéed Tortilla Halves

Elegant Kitchen Cupboard Arrangement

To achieve a uniform and elegant look in even the most modest of kitchen cupboards, clean and fill containers recycled from products you use regularly, as well as glass jars purchased from health stores, which usually cost a couple of dollars each. The red-lidded glasses are by Luminarc of France. The gold-lidded jars are from Buen Día instant coffee.

©M-J de Mesterton, 2012

Home-Made French Bread

French Bread Made at Home: Worth the Trial and Error, Time and Effort

The internet is full of recipes for pain Français. Choose the one that seems right for your kitchen, because people have varied results depending on many factors. There is a detailed tutorial at The Sour Dough blog, based upon the French bread recipe and method of Julia Child. Here is another instructive page, at the Smithsonian museum, which houses Julia Child’s television kitchen. Remember to use only unbleached white flour, and to create moisture in the oven while your loaves are baking.

©M-J de Mesterton 2012

Elegant Christmas Gifts

Aloe vera plants make excellent hostess gifts. Their neat habit and elegant shape make them welcome in any room. They are low-maintenance and useful in wound-care applications. Because aloe vera needs very little water, it is also the perfect plant for a college dormitory room. The aloe vera plant provides a natural healing salve and some elegant greenery. ~~M-J

Elle Fitzgerald Sings Cole Porter: Great Cocktail Music

Elle Fitzgerald Sings Cole Porter: Great Cocktail Music

The Classic Casio G-Shock: Elegant Survival Watch

In 1983, Casio launched the shock-resistant G-SHOCK watch. This product shattered the notion that a watch is a fragile piece of jewelry that needs to be handled with care, and was the result of Casio engineers taking on the challenge of creating the world’s toughest watch. Using a triple-protection design for the parts, module, and case, the G-SHOCK offered a radical new type of watch that was unaffected by strong impacts or shaking. Its practicality was immediately recognized, and its unique look, which embodied its functionality, became wildly popular, resulting in explosive sales in the early 1990s. The G-SHOCK soon adopted various new sensors, solar-powered radio-controlled technology (described below), and new materials for even better durability. By always employing the latest technology, and continuing to transcend conventional thinking about the watch, the G-SHOCK brand has become Casio’s flagship timepiece product.

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