As my children get older and less problematic, I become more and more mad and house proud, getting myself fussed up in a lather over nice room layouts on Pinterest and being genuinely interested in napkin folding.
I mean… it’s so desperate and nouveau riche of me that I get a bit high and giggly and insane at what Nicky Haslem or Peter York would think.
We had a Friday night dinner the other night and nothing sends me more into a frenzy of housekeeping than having a load of Jews over. I went out and bought new napkins and did a bit of clever folding and wrote names in silver pen on bay leaves, only to freeze at 7.30pm while straightening knives, when I realised that I had basically unwittingly created a sort of visual motif of the Israel flag.
To avoid confusion, I am not Jewish. My husband is Jewish, but does not practice. We occasionally hold Friday night dinners for sentimental reasons; I also enjoy the challenge of sourcing and cooking a three-course kosher dinner for my friend Simon – although in fact my husband does most of the cooking.
I double-park on Golders Green high street, get out of my car, toss my bow-dried hair about, flounce into Carmelli’s and scream “Give me that fucking Parev plum pudding! And some Swedish Glace!” (This will only be funny if you are Jewish. And of course they do not sell Swedish Glace at Carmelli’s, before you all write in to complain.)
Still, the table it looked pretty. I used a napkin fold called a “Single Pocket Fold”, which I found on Pinterest and tucked a bay leaf sprig in the “pocket”.
This will be useful at all social occasions where you feel the need to add some sort of flourish. No Jews required.
Very natty napkins. I hope they all took it as a compliment!
Am re-reading Claudia Rosen’s Book of Jewish Food (which is my desert-island cookbook, for its incredible span of world cuisine and a fascinating history of Jewish cooking) and I love the Jewish jokes, even though I don’t get some of them. “Have you heard, Rachel Joseph’s having an affair?” “No – who’s doing the catering?” (this one I get).
Haven’t turned to napkin-folding yet, though my top tips for napkin purchasing would be either good-quality deep red linen, which age beautifully and hide the twin enemies of napkins; red wine and tomato, or pure white, so you can bleach – in a thoroughly un-Green way – the fuck out of them. Ditto tablecloths.
I once made, entirely unintentionally, a completely pink three-course dinner, which I realised too late to do anything about as well. I don’t think anyone would have noticed had I not apologised copiously for it. Never explain, never apologise.
Sophie you are so right about absolutely everything. And I LOVE that joke.
Oli's sister says
It is funny. I am a Jew. And Simon is an old friend of my brother. Of course.
Oh me too re household-y stuff. I kitted out my daughter’s room with new furniture, bedding etc and it made me ridiculously happy. I keep popping back in to have a look at the wee vase of flowers on her bedside table etc… Her nursery was cheap and scruffy so this new Pinterest-y me is a surprise.
love this… I m going to do this napkin fold for my next dinner party…thank you