The Refreshments Table

With a recital coming up this evening, I have “reception etiquette” on the brain. Here are a few good things to keep in mind when attending a reception:

  • Cell phones are still off…

Hopefully, you turned your cell phone off for the main event (e.g. the service, ceremony, recital, etc.). But, just because the more formal part is over, it doesn’t mean your phone should be turned back on. Unless you are expecting an important call, leave it off. And if it has to be on, turn it on vibrate only. Focus your attention on these people surrounding you in person.

  • Mingle

Be friendly and engaging, and try to mingle with lots of people. You have come to a group-gathering – so it’s best not to monopolize any one person’s attention, or (for us introverts) ignore/avoid the group as a whole.


And, now we come to the highlight of this post… Regarding the food line:

  • Children should be accompanied throughout the entire event, and accompanied through the food line.
  • Use moderation.

At many events (such as the recital I hope to attend tonight), there will be refreshments offered at some point. If it is not stated to be “Breakfast”, “Lunch”, or “Dinner/Supper”, DO NOT EAT AS THOUGH IT WERE. I’ll be honest – I could eat a meal every couple of hours. I’m very partial to the Hobbit meal schedule… But, this table full of refreshments is not my opportunity to fill myself up. Here’s a good rule of thumb for refreshments:

– One small plate of food (NOT heaping. I was serious when I said “small”.)

– One glass of punch

If that sounds skimpy, just remind yourself that this is not a meal. It’s not offered because people are hungry. This is a social gathering, and the hostess has been kind enough to provide some light refreshments. When you overindulge, you’re creating a shortage of food and simply being rude. Once again, we have to think of others first. Will everyone have plenty to choose from?


Cooking Term: Aioli

According to merriam-webster:


a mayonnaise flavored with garlic and sometimes other ingredients (as red pepper)

image from

Click HERE to see A Family Feast’s amazing-looking recipe for roasted garlic aioli.

Cooking Term: Castor Sugar

Have you ever wondered what that British cookbook meant by “castor (or caster) sugar”? I certainly have!

So, I looked it up on and found:

Chiefly British

: finely granulated white sugar

But, my question was how that compares to powdered/confectioners’ sugar. So, I kept searching and found this helpful picture and tutorial on

Click on the image to read the tutorial.

So, there you go! It’s about the texture of fine sand – so right in between granulated and powdered sugar.

Cooking Term: Mirepoix

Wow! Long time no post… Sorry, folks. Life is a little crazy around here right now. This week’s cooking term is:


(According to

\mir-‘pwä\ : a sautéed mixture of diced vegetables (as carrots, celery, and onions), herbs, and sometimes ham or bacon used especially as a basis for soups, stews, and sauces

image from

According to some sources, the traditional ratio is 2 parts onions, 1 part carrots, and 1 part celery.  All these years, I’ve been cooking with this, and never knew it had a name!

Cooking Term: Mise En Place

This week’s cooking term is one that I have heard and used for the majority of my life. However, I had not seen it spelled until looking it up for this blog post. 😛

“Mise en place”

[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]

This French phrase means “setting in place”, and, in professional and home kitchens, specifically refers to having all your ingredients ready and “in place” before you begin cooking.

found on Pinterest… from

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard this through the years from my father. It’s good advice! Get those ingredients in place, and you won’t be running around frantically during critical stages of cooking.

Review: Arnold’s Meat & 3

Today was our family’s semi-annual dental appointment. It’s a family event, and generally, since Dr. Foster is in Nashville, it’s a day-trip. We’ll all have our teeth cleaned, then snoop around Nashville in search of new-to-us restaurants/destinations to enjoy.

Click on the image to see their FaceBook page.

Our search today led to Arnold’s Meat & 3. From the road, it looked like a place I wouldn’t have dared to go in. It’s tiny, tucked back with a small sign – no prominence whatsoever. It kind of looked like a place that didn’t want to be found. But, since it comes pretty highly recommended, we found a parking spot.

A note on the parking: We arrived right during the lunch-rush. The parking was scarce, at best, and the line was impressively long the whole time. But, they kept the line moving, so there was very little wait time.

The clientele was incredibly diverse, and the service/hospitality very friendly. We had heard that it was a good place to get real southern food… And, since that’s what we eat here at home, I have high standards. In most restaurants, (like Cracker Barrel, for instance) I find that the vegetables tend to be undercooked and under-seasoned for my preference. Glory be! My turnip greens from Arnold’s were well-seasoned and cooked! Of course, they were a little different than how we make them. But, as far as I can remember, they were the best turnip greens I’ve ever eaten away from home. Woohoo!

I also really enjoyed my fried catfish. I could seriously go for some more of that…

Since we’re usually adventurous, and ready for a new or unique experience when it comes to food, we all split a slice of “Hot Pepper Chocolate Pie”. Folks, that was delicious! It’s definitely worth a try, if you’re in the area!

With friendly faces, tasty food, and unique options, I’d say this is a great find!

Cooking Term: Confit

Well, we’ve had quite a week, here in Tennessee! What a great snow! So, instead of blogging, I’ve been goofing off with my best friends. Life is awesome.

But, it’s time to get back to it. How about another cooking term?

Today’s cooking term is: Confit.

Here is a picture of garlic confit, from

According to

Confit (noun)

con·fit \kōn-ˈfē, kȯn-, kän-\

1. meat (as goose, duck, or pork) that has been cooked and preserved in its own fat

2. a garnish usually made from fruit or vegetables that are cooked until tender in a seasoned liquid