Dishes With a Story


My mother-in-law was one of those people who always had a pot of coffee brewing for anyone who happened to stop in.  She made everyone feel welcome, she was a good listener, she laughed easily and was never to busy to sit and visit.  Many a day I dropped in, and we always sat in the same place in front of the window where from time to time we could swivel our chairs and look out to see what was happening.  

Most of the years when we visited I was looking across the room toward a cabinet filled with pottery I came to love. Lucky for me no one else was particularly attached,  so the set eventually became part  of my collection of dishes.

I don’t remember how she came to have these hand painted majolica dishes which came from Salerno, Italy.  They are dated 1952, and if Ernestine’s signature is any indication, they were painted by her.

I hadn’t thought about what a perfect match this tablecloth would be when recently it was purchased in Sintra, Portugal.  Since it is a 60″ square, it was placed diagonally on a much larger table and the sides pleated to make a cross between a cloth and a runner.  I love manipulating fabric of any kind on a table.

As luck would have it, the flowers from Mother’s Day were still perky enough to use among crystal and glass bells which are always a delightful addition to any tabletop.

Keep in mind that for me everything doesn’t have to match so I brought out the pink bowls and goblets which had belonged to a very good friend’s grandmother.    Just look at their texture which provides a nice contrast to the pottery’s smooth surface.  I’m so glad to have things other people don’t want!

And for that little something unexpected are the just bought napkins from Anthropologie.  Each one has different design and color, and they add an element of fun.

Now that the table is set, it’s to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Fish with Tomato Sauce and Almonds

1 1/2-2 pounds of your favorite fish, filleted

1 onion, sliced 

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

1/2 c. white wine

1 t. cumin

1/2 c. sliced green or black olives

toasted almonds

chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper fish and bake (350) in lightly greased dish until flaky.

While fish is baking, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes.

To serve, place fish on a platter and top with sauce, cilantro and almonds.  Accompany with roasted potatoes or vegetable, green salad and crusty bread for an easy to fix and very tasty meal that will serve 4 people.

Today I’m joining

Let’s Dish

Tablescape Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Friday Food


29 thoughts on “Dishes With a Story

  1. Loved your story about your mother- in- law….the pottery is so beautiful and sentimental…I can imagine why you simply adore them and the one who they belonged to…The linens you used with them are perfect…Such a gorgeous table with beautiful colors and beautiful sentiment!!

  2. Hi, Lulu! It was so nice to read about your mother-in-law. I had one like that too. I still miss her so much. Your dishes are so unique. What a treasure to have them. You found some perfect linens to go with them. I just love what you did with the tablecloth. That is so clever. Wonderful table for summer!

  3. So nice to hear about your mother in law. Loved mine too. Love those pretty pottery dishes. They have a beautiful motif. and your new tablecloth is perfect with them. A match made in heaven for sure. have a blessed week and blessed weekend, xo marlis

  4. What a lovely reminder of a lovely person. The plates are unusual and so pretty, and the tablecloth is wonderfully vibrant. And yes I have a “habit” of picking up fabric on our trips around the world, it’s making sure you use them that is the trick 🙂

  5. What a pretty table to highlight your mother-in-law’s pottery! The pink glasses are wonderful with the aqua and teal in the dishes — and that tablecloth did work beautifully with them! Thank you for your kind comment on my everyday dishes post!

  6. I have a MIL that is very generous with her dishes and flowers in her garden! How wonderful that you have the set to remember her by~ serendipity too, with your newly acquired, matching tablecloth! Love the addition of patterns from your Anthropologie napkins 🙂

  7. I love tables with a story and yours is great! I love the little bit of pink you added in. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog 🙂

  8. It is so nice that you and your mother-in-law had that type of relationship! I have been married more than a couple of times, but I have never gotten to know any mother-in-law in that way. They have all either been deceased or lived in another country. That’s a special bond I missed out on. I know what you mean about loving things that no one else seems to want! That’s how you get the best stuff!!!! I try not to let on what I know about a certain piece or that I am interested so as not to call attention to it. Then I swoop in a grab it up! Mine…all mine!!!!!!!! (insert dastardly laugh) 🙂 Great find on the tablecloth, and cool way to fold it! Hooray that your Mother’s Day Stargazers were still hanging in there, too, because they work quite well. I love the way you have them in multiples down the center rather than all bunched together. Neat look!!!

  9. What a beautiful table and even more beautiful memory of your Mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing your beautiful dishes. They are a treasure, indeed.

  10. Hi Lulu,
    Your Mother In Law must have been a very special lady. Your tablescape is lovely and the food looks awesome! We would really enjoy your Fish with Tomato Sauce and Almonds. Hope you have a great holiday week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. OMG… what a setting. Love the turqoise, white, baby pink n lime mixed together. It turned out Perfectly elegant.

    MIL is an absolutely a gem of them all.

    Happy TS & a great w/end to come.

    Greetings,
    /CC

  12. What treasures that belonged to your mother-in-law! They make a lovely tablescape. Now (in response to the comment you left on my blog), if you’ll just go ahead and pull those pretty doilies from your mother out of storage, you can share them with us, too! I, for one, would love to see them. 🙂 BTW, if they have storage stains, my all-time favorite linen cleaner is Restoration, and it’s available in my Etsy shop. If you’re interested, you can read some testimonials on my sidebar and search for Restoration on my blog for before/after pics. DEFINITELY get those pretties back into circulation!

  13. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful mother in law as well. It is lovely that you have something of hers to enjoy. I loved the recipe…adding almonds to the sauce sounds terrific.

  14. Such gorgeous colors, patterns and flowers! I think this tablescape is one of my favorites that you have done! I was touched by your obvious love and admiration for your MIL. I am so glad you have her “dishes.” What a delightful story about her and your coffee visits.

  15. Now that is what a plate of fish is supposed to look like. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese know how to do it right. By the way the dinner table setting is so magnificent and artful – who needs food ? Thanks visit my blog.

    • One of the things I love about being in Maine is access to fresh seafood which can be prepared in so many tasty ways. Thanks for complimenting the table and your visit. Do come again.

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