By Karen Parr-Moody
The sought-after pumpkin spice lattes hit Starbucks counters earlier than ever this year, on Aug. 27, but there’s more to fall than the return of that iconic drink. The seasonal latte is merely the gateway treat to the rest of autumn’s culinary returns, from apple cider to pumpkin pie to butternut squash soup. Cooking such seasonal delicacies revives our love of vintage tableware and its capacity to serve food in a stylish way.
As the trees’ leaves change color, they encourage us to embrace darker tones such as mustard, chocolate, wine and orange. Beyond color, tableware can take cues from distinctly autumnal recipes, such as hearty soups that simply beg for a gorgeous vintage soup tureen or cocktails, like appletinis and Moscow mules, that command a swanky ice bucket. Like so many fallen leaves, we’ve gathered our favorite fall dining accouterments. With these you can create the season’s nattiest table.
Made in Italy for Chelsea House, this handmade ceramic pitcher takes the shape of a darling squirrel that spends autumn collecting nuts ($59; Booth T-389). Swirls of caramel and marigold paint create its “fur,” which has been glazed and fired to a gloss. The high standards of Chelsea House are seen in the quality and hand-craftsmanship of this functional pitcher. While it can be used year-round, it would certainly imbue a table with fall spirit.
During fall, all we want to do is watch football, wear Fair Isle sweaters and eat soup. If we do all three of these things with friends, then we’ll need a good soup recipe and an elegant soup tureen. Butternut squash soup tastes even better when served in this Adams China Co. soup tureen, ladle and underplate ($65; Booth T-389). From the Cambodia pattern, it is from Adams’ Calyx Ware that was made until 1966, when Adams was acquired by The Wedgwood Group (after having been in business since its 1769 establishment in Staffordshire, England). The tureen features bright gold rims and bold flowers hand painted in shades of yellow, green, royal blue and rust on the palest greenish-blue background.
Traditionally, warm chocolates and golds decorate the Thanksgiving table, but they can be combined with blue and white, via the Blue Willow pattern, to produce a lush holiday look. Just add a few touches of orange and brown to the table, via mini pumpkins and orange flowers, and you can bring the warmth of the season to this Asian-inspired pattern, one of the most popular patterns in the world. Currently at GasLamp Too there are six Blue Willow plates from Churchill China of England ($89 for the set; Booth T-389). Crafted from dishwasher- and microwave-safe ironstone for modern times, these plates display the same iconic pattern created in 1780 in England and would look exquisite on your holiday table.
A stylish ice bucket is among the must-haves for entertaining. Welcome guests with cocktails whose ice cubes have been plucked from this vintage Georges Briard USA ice bucket ($50; Booth T-291). It’s a mid-century modern marvel made of mirrored gold and a clear Lucite lid and handle. Georges Briard designs were hugely popular throughout the 1950s to 1970s, when serving pieces as well as glasses, trays, coffee pots and dishes were all the rage. Jakub Brojdo, the founder of Georges Briard, was born in the Ukraine and moved to Chicago in 1937 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. He became an award-winning designer in America with his designs found at the better department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Bonwit Teller.
The beauty of amber will extend its allure to any dining room table that features these vintage grapes ($24; Booth T-339). Such decorative grapes, in glass or resin, go back to the 1960s and 1970s, when making such grapes was all the rage in Utah. There, Mormon women made them during their monthly homemaking meeting. This bunch of amber grapes would look resplendent on a fall holiday table.
These fall-friendly items will enliven any dinner party. Bonus: Good serving pieces are a wise investment. A soup tureen will work wonders for future high teas (remember the cucumber soup!), Blue Willow plates look fabulous year-round, a chic ice bucket and cocktails will keep you popular with the neighbors, a squirrel pitcher is a conversation starter – and who doesn’t need a bunch of faux grapes crafted by Mormons during the 1960s and 1970s? Sure, Thanksgiving is still a far-away November 27, with Halloween and fall harvest themes coming before it. But you still have plenty of time to sprinkle fall whimsy around your dining room before the big day arrives. Beyond pumpkins and cornucopia baskets, there are many fall-themed items at GasLamp and GasLamp Too to color your dining room.