A Fall Tablescape and Party Salad Dressing

Autumn has a lot going for it. Kids are happy when they get off the bus, two bona fide but casual holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, squash and vegetables roast in the oven without overheating the house, entertaining moves indoors.

I have this plaid table cloth that only comes out in the Fall.

Fall entertaining is fun. They're not state occasions, like Christmas, and no one minds if the glassware doesn't match. I use my old china found at an estate sale (the dinner plates are impossibly small, which always bothered me until chargers came along), the salt is in a mini teacup, the pepper's in a little shell, some chargers are like above, some are like below, and gasp! no salad fork. Casual.

It may be casual but I still like to have flowers on the table.

First I did these roses, seeded eucalyptus and maroon kangaroo paws. With some inkberry from the backyard.

Then I realized the eucalyptus, draping with charm and grace, would annoy certain parties during dinner. Sedum replaced the eucalyptus. Setting the sedum a little below the roses keeps them center stage.

Daughter: "I like the first one better, it's casual, but this one is better for food."

Mom: "Better for food?"

Daughter: "It doesn't get in the way of passing food around."

Do I know my certain parties or what.

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

Here is my recipe for salad dressing that is perfect for entertaining. It makes a party-size quantity and has all the taste of balsamic vinegar but not the brown color which some people find off putting. Taste tested time and again by certain parties. It passes the Salad Dressing Test. Is it so good you dip French bread in it? Yes. Pass.

Party Salad Dressing

   2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cup EVOO
  3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
     3 tablespoons raspberry jam, seedless
  3-4 tablespoons chopped mint, fresh
     1 tablespoon chopped dill, fresh

salt as desired, a few turns white or green pepper

If no raspberry jam, use blackberry and change the herbs to rosemary and tarragon.


  1. I love table settings that are casual and mix and match! vintage chic!

  2. the Other Linda22.11.10

    You,ve inspired me to create my own centerpiece for an upcoming neighborhood holiday gathering. I'll let you know how it turns out. I am also going to use your dressing recipe.

    Thanks for all of the inspiration and sound advice. Much more useful than the magazines.

    The Other Linda

  3. Thank you Linda! Have a great party, the venue couldn't be better! Happy Thanksgiving!


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