Holiday Table Tips & Gingerbread Houses

So. You are getting out the linen napkins and planning to set a fine table. I’ve found just the place for you to find out how to make fancy napkin folds, pair wines, and set the table. After the holiday meal, you might plan to add to your weekend tradition the baking, building and decorating of a gingerbread house. Now, doesn’t that sound more fun than fighting the day-after-Thanksgiving shopping crush? Since I’m in co-charge of the annual Gingerbread House Exhibit & Contest at the Chesterton Art Center, I surfed around to see what other organizations and individuals are doing. Amazing. Finally, since you’ll be left with leftover turkey no doubt, you will appreciate a site devoted to leftover recipes.

International Guild of Professional Butlers . What better place to find the information you need to plan a perfect dinner, luncheon, buffet, or even a tea party? Add some style to your holiday dinner table by learning how to fold your napkins into a rosebud, or pyramid, a crown, Cardinal’s hat, or other forms. Access the butlersguild.com/guests/napkin_folding/ portion of the website for this information. Find the style you like, and click on the image. It will take you to a page with step-by-step, illustrated directions. Pretty cool. There is plenty more information on other pages within the website. You’ll find turkey-carving directions, “Wine 101”, tips for averting entertaining emergencies, food safety, and information about silver place settings and serving pieces. If that’s not enough, there are additional pages that instruct about wine and food pairings, and how to brew a perfect pot of tea. The experts providing all this information are, after all, extremely knowledgeable in all of these areas. Plus, there is a place on the site that gives information about butler employment opportunities.

Gingerbread Lane . Put aside all thoughts of your basic gingerbread cabin when you log on to this site’s showcase link. There are some incredibly sophisticated displays of gingerbread “wonders” here. View the amusement park created by Jock McCoy, with a roller coaster that really works. Two other spectacular creations on this page feature a gingerbread model of Mont St. Michelle and Neuschwanstein Castle. There are numerous other pictures uploaded by gingerbread bakers. I liked the French street scene with the Eiffel Tower—the frosting-glue was tinted various colors for each building and the overall effect is delightful.

Franky’s Attic . You can find all the information you need about any aspect of gingerbread at this website. In addition to choices of recipes, you will find a big selection of house patterns (.pdf) that you can print and use to create your own house. Suggestions for using different types of candy are listed, and there is information about the best way to store and preserve your finished house, too. Plus, a huge list of links may get you lost within the Internet for hours if gingerbread is your passion.

Virtual Gingerbread House . If you don’t want to bake or use graham crackers, you can still build a gingerbread house—online. But you can’t say that you can have your cake and eat it too because this is a virtual gingerbread house that you’ll be decorating. All you can do with it is print it out or email it. But, you can have a few minutes’ fun, and kids might enjoy it. The only downside is that there is annoying music in the background and I could not find a way to turn it off—unless I turned off my speakers.

Leftover Turkey . Will it be quiche, croquettes, casserole, pot pie or just plain turkey sandwiches? Search to your heart’s content among 350 or more recipes for using cooked turkey. The Internet is brimming with so many recipes that one could, if they wanted, throw away all of their cookbooks and make up their own, personalized version. Just copy and paste your favorites into Word (or similar program) and print.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on November 23, 2005.

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