Sunday, 31 July 2011

Classic, Elegant Dressing


Remember normal-sized clothing for women, before the fashion industry started distorting sizing in order to flatter the anorexia cult? Standard sizing no longer exists, as a dress with a 36-inch bust is now labelled as anything between size 4 and size 14, depending upon whom the maker is targeting. And yesterday's size 12 is now disrespected by some by being labelled "plus" for the purpose of  charging more for it.  Some of the styles offered by Bergdorf Goodman in 1948 started at size 12, and went up to size 20. Originally, "plus sizes" were anything above size twenty. In 1948, this black silk dress was offered at Bergdorf Goodman in sizes 10--20. If a woman wanted something smaller, she had to shop in the children's section.
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Fashion Advert, 1948


Click on photo for two enlarged versions.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Elegant Piassava Broom

Our Piassava Broom



David Niven at the front door of his chalet in Switzerland, in our copy of Niv by Graham Lord, the authorised biography.





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Friday, 15 July 2011

M-J's Poulet à la Crême

Poulet à la Crême, a Smaller Version of M-J's Recipe, Using Just Two Chicken Breasts for Two Persons


M-J’s Poulet à la Crême for a Dinner Party
Serves Eight Persons

Six boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Two cups of white wine (leftover champagne, or a combination of different white wines is also suitable)
One cup of water
Four tablespoons of butter
One third cup of white flour
One half-teaspoon of herbes de Provence
Salt and white pepper to taste
One half-cup of whipping cream

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan. Add one cup of white wine or champagne and one cup of water, together with a sprinkling salt, the herbes de Provence and a little white pepper. Poach chicken breasts in the wine and water mixture until they are fully cooked; about forty-five minutes. Remove chicken breasts from pan and let them cool to room temperature. Most of the liquid will have evaporated, but retain what is left for the sauce.

Sauce Velouté
Pour the remaining poaching liquid into a cup. In the same pan, melt three tablespoons of butter. With a wire whisk, stir in 1/3 cup of white flour. Let this lightly brown until tan-coloured, then gradually add the remaining poaching liquid and one cup of white wine, whisking continually to prevent lumps. Incorporate the cream, and stop cooking after the sauce has thickened. Add a small bit of salt and white pepper to taste.

Slice the cooled chicken breasts into medallions. Pour 2/3 of the cream sauce into the bottom of an elegant buffet pan or serving dish, preferably one that is heat-proof, so that you may keep this dish covered and warm on a heating tray or cooker  for a little while before dinner is served.  On top of the cream sauce, line up the chicken medallions in a way that allows them to slightly overlap. Keeping the remaining third of the sauce hot and pourable, drizzle it over the arranged chicken just before distributing it among your dinner plates.

©M-J de Mesterton 2006



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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bare Legs were Never the Right Thing among Tasteful Women

REALLY? A woman wearing stockings--call the press right now; what a shocker!
Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton
Seward Johnson Sculpture

As of this morning, I'm still seeing photos of gals on the "red carpets" with no stockings on their legs. But somehow, people have noticed that the Duchess of Cambridge wears them, though the always-sleazy fashion-press is calling them "pantihose." Women of good breeding and taste are never dressed without nylons or some other form of leg-and-thigh-covering hosiery--we have never stopped wearing stockings. What a shame that it took one woman to end a terrible fashion-trend that continued for at least ten years, and even had a famous victim: Mrs Obama. So, the sheep who covet "royalty," and seek to emulate all they do, will now begin wearing stockings and "pantihose"? Didn't they think for themselves all those years? Congratulations to the Duchess for having a mind and a style all her own. NO congrats are in order to the brainless mimics who had no discernment for all those years, and who thought that showing bare feet through their "peep-toes" was
somehow desirable Here is the somewhat silly article that caught my attention on Yahoo, where there is little news posted that isn't a puff-piece aimed at the most mindless followers of fashion: Here is a newsflash for them: STOCKINGS, Hosiery and PANTIHOSE are NOT a TREND!

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Is Competent Tailoring Unavailable at Any Price?

My husband sent me this link, asking "Who in the name of the Almighty dresses these people?"

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Dogs Kill 9-Year-Old Boy in Australia

Just two days after I posted a recommendation for the film, A Cry in the Dark*, and 8 days after my friend Sandra's 6-month-old grand-nephew was eaten alive by a family dog in Virginia Beach, there is this tragic story of another child being mauled and eaten by dogs.  Canines are NOT people, nor are they cartoon characters. They follow their instincts, and humans would do well to respect the basic "nature of the beast". Domesticated or not, dogs are unpredictable.


My Post of Saturday, July 9th, Repeated Below:

A Cry in the Dark, Starring the Great Meryl Streep and Sam Neill
Convicted in the Court of Public Opinion
The Press and the Public Accurately Depicted in all Their Vulture-Like Glory

I saw A Cry in the Dark  when it was released in 1988, at Carnegie Theater in in Manhattan. The film made an indelible impression on me. Here is a brief synopsis by Marshall Fine, from Amazon.com:


Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Elaine on Seinfeld once offered a non sequitur at a party just to relieve her own boredom: "The dingo ate your baby," she blurted in a bad Australian accent. It was a reference to this harrowing film by director Fred Schepisi, based on a true story. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill play a married couple on a camping trip whose baby disappears. Streep maintains that the baby was carried off by a dingo--a wild dog--but she winds up as the victim of a hard-hearted prosecutor and the target of a nationwide hate campaign, in part because she was a religious fundamentalist who seemed unsympathetic and, thus, became an easy target for the tabloid press. Streep and Neill are both outstanding in this fierce, realistic drama about the ways faith can bolster even in the face of outrageous persecution. --Marshall Fine

I thought of the movie two weeks ago, and we bought it for our home film collection. Then two things happened last week that prompted me to mention A Cry in the Dark on Elegant Survivalist: the not-guilty verdict in Casey Anthony's child-murder trial and the intense public attention to the entire matter; and, the fatal mauling of our good friend Sandra's great-nephew Salvador by a dog last weekend. The Anthony story caused non-stop public outrage, while the death of a six-month-old baby at the teeth and claws of a dog has been completely ignored by the press. Irony and hypocrisy abound more than ever in the new world order, but not much has changed since the heart-wrenching true story of A Cry in the Dark.
©M-J de Mesterton

Elegant Blouse

http://www.tmlewin.co.uk/White-Plain-Shaded-Twill-Vivian-Shirt---39095/39095,en_GB,pd.html


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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Elegant Frittata

Frittata with Merguez, Havarti, Tomatoes and Yellow Capsicum



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Saturday, 9 July 2011

SUPERB Cold Steel Black Sable San Mai III Folding Knife

Cold Steel Custom Series San Mai Folding Knife





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Elegant English Umbrella

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M-J's Brioche au Sucre

M-J's Brioche au Sucre
See Elegant Cook for Instructions


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Elegant Evening Dress

M-J de Mesterton wears a diaphanous black silk blouse with abalone buttons, a Burgundy and black changeant taffeta skirt, and elegant, sensible shoes by Clarks--a perfectly respectable ensemble for a July evening. My husband once sat next to Princess Grace of Monaco at dinner, who was wearing this sort of blouse. It is strictly for evening-wear.

©M-J de Mesterton July 2011


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Anti-Aging Memory-Enhancing Supplement

Dr. Summers' Memory Revitalizer

Interviewed again this morning by my friend Terrie Q. Sayre, Dr. William Summers described the benefits of his Memory Revitalizer dietary supplement. Ms Sayre, an energetic former beauty queen, auctioneer and very popular radio personality, felt the need to recommend this product again on her weekend show, because she can really sense the benefits of this unique dietary supplement.
Terrie Q. Sayre, Radio and Television Personality

New Elegant Survivalist Posts

Timely Movie: a Cry in the Dark

A Cry in the Dark, Starring the Great Meryl Streep and Sam Neill
Convicted in the Court of Public Opinion

I saw A Cry in the Dark  when it was released in 1988, at Carnegie Theater in in Manhattan. The film made an indelible impression on me. Here is a brief synopsis by Marshall Fine, from Amazon.com:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Elaine on Seinfeld once offered a non sequitur at a party just to relieve her own boredom: "The dingo ate your baby," she blurted in a bad Australian accent. It was a reference to this harrowing film by director Fred Schepisi, based on a true story. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill play a married couple on a camping trip whose baby disappears. Streep maintains that the baby was carried off by a dingo--a wild dog--but she winds up as the victim of a hard-hearted prosecutor and the target of a nationwide hate campaign, in part because she was a religious fundamentalist who seemed unsympathetic and, thus, became an easy target for the tabloid press. Streep and Neill are both outstanding in this fierce, realistic drama about the ways faith can bolster even in the face of outrageous persecution. --Marshall Fine

I thought of the movie two weeks ago, and we bought it for our home film collection. Then two things happened last week that prompted me to mention A Cry in the Dark on Elegant Survivalist: the not-guilty verdict in Casey Anthony's child-murder trial and the intense public attention to the entire matter; and, the fatal mauling of our good friend Sandra's great-nephew Salvador by a dog last weekend. The Anthony story caused non-stop public outrage, while the death of a six-month-old baby at the teeth and claws of a dog has been completely ignored by the press. Irony and hypocrisy abound more than ever in the new world order, but not much has changed since the heart-wrenching true story of A Cry in the Dark.
©M-J de Mesterton

New Elegant Survivalist Posts

Mrs Gerald "Betty" Ford, Former U.S. First Lady, Elegant Survivor

http://news.yahoo.com/former-first-lady-betty-ford-dies-93-012148379.html

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Friday, 8 July 2011

Indigo, My New Favourite Shoes, by Clarks

The first time I bought Clarks shoes was in the dreadfully hot summer of 1988 in Athens, when my Italian pumps with leather soles did not protect me from the burning-hot pavement, and I stopped to buy some of their thicker-soled shoes at a shop. Clarks designs have evolved, and the company now makes some of the most elegant and comfortable women's shoes in the world. I particularly like their  Indigo and Diamond lines.~~©M-J de Mesterton
 Here is an excerpt about Indigo shoes, from Clarks:


"Great brands, like great individuals, have their own distinct personality. Indigo® design elements bring distinction and freshness to their collection without sacrificing comfort. Indigo supplies women with exactly what they are looking for - the perfect blend of comfort and style.

Indigo is fashionable. Never trendy. Classic. Never boring. Fusing unique design with premium materials to bring distinctive style to every wardrobe, the Indigo collection is witty and surprising, artsy and stylish. For women who take sincere delight in mixing and matching clothes and accessories to achieve a look that's unique and expressive, Indigo is a fresh new expression of comfort.

Indigo's designers take their inspiration from diverse sources including the streets of Paris, New York, London and Milan. For women who take sincere delight in mixing and matching clothes and accessories to achieve a look that's unique and expressive, Indigo is a fresh new expression of comfort."


New Elegant Survivalist Posts

Low-Cost Luxury: Sun-Dried Towels and Lavender


Note that some of my white towels are waffle-weave cotton. They dry much more quickly than my old terry-cloth white ones. The higher price that one usually pays for waffle-weave towels is compensated-for by this energy-saving quality. ©M-J de Mesterton



Intelligent, Elegant Drought and Décor Solutions


Dealing with Drought
It's all the rage in Europe, where high summer temperatures and water-shortages have blighted the landscape: silk trees with preserved natural trunks, and gorgeous plants of all sorts made with tasteful materials. Make Be-Leaves is a California company that specialises in these realistic creations, and has installed their products worldwide, including at the casino of Deauville.


Intelligent Conservation in France

3 Oct 2002
Faux Flowers have French Foxed, by Garry Marchant
Special Correspondent for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council


Photo
Beauty Beheld: New Trend for Faux Plants
A woman, newly arrived in France, liked the miniature fig tree in her temporary apartment so much that she carefully watered it for months. Until, on close inspection, she realized it was an artificial tree.
Made-in-Hong Kong artificial flowers and plants have become so real to look at that they fool even ardent gardeners. In recent years, hand- and machine-made decorative foliage has won the hearts of French homeowners, office and boutique managers, interior decorators and restaurateurs.
"It is the nouvelle mode, the new wave," says Clarisse Genevieve, manager of the SIA Decoration shop on Boulevard Malesherbes, in central Paris. SIA Decoration, France's largest artificial flower retailer, has eight shops in the country, including four in Paris, and is expanding abroad.
But the new wave is not like the old wave. In the past, people shunned fake flowers because of their mediocre quality and association with cemeteries, explains Genevieve.
Now, once derided as bad taste, ersatz foliage has gained a new respectability. In Japan, often the source of new trends, people refer to "art flowers" rather than artificial ones.
Photo
SIA Decoration: High-Quality Look and Feel.
Photo
Authentic Looks
Faux Flower Power Growing in Europe
A significant improvement in quality, matched by a drop in prices, has led to a surge in the popularity of these versatile decorative creations across not just France, but most of Europe.
Photo
Svendsen: "good six years".
Says SIA's creative director, Line Svendsen: "it is a new tradition in Europe, but the past five or six years have been really good." She believes all Mediterranean countries, as well as the UK, appreciate artificial flowers, although they are less popular in Nordic countries.
Paris merchants say artificial flowers, with their new-found respect, are finding a place in French homes, shops, restaurants and hotels.
Besides specialty boutiques, many furniture and interior decorating stores now stock manufactured plants. An estimated 72% of retailers specialising in tableware, lighting or furniture sell these arrangements, while store owners report that they make great gifts.
The prime factor for the increasing acceptance of synthetic flora is the great improvement in quality, in turn due to technological advances.
Artificial flowers used to be made from silk, which was expensive, or plastic, which didn't look very authentic. Now they are made in better materials, such as wrinkled silk, cotton, paper, polyester, glass, wood and metal.
Photo
Exotics and standards are sellers.
French professionals credit Hong Kong manufacturers for perfecting innovative new techniques and dyeing processes to achieve multi-layered colours and realistic textures. "They showcase a floral flourish...which are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing," according to French household decoration trade magazine, Proform.
"The resemblance with nature is remarkable," agrees Guy Mollard, director at floral decoration company Jardin d'Amandine, based in the south of France. "The possibilities, new creations and colours are infinite, and the price is coming down."
New products and applications are entering a dynamic market. Demand is increasing for more exotic flowers, such as ginger torch and heliconia, as well as for standard blooms.
Faux flowers as an Art Form
Photo
Blooms for months and years.
A new breed of "horticulturalists" has been born, according to Proform. Designers such as Svendsen consider themselves florists as well as designers, who create whole new concepts in display and arrangement.
For those who advocate " real flower power", it is worth noting that while fresh cut flowers die in a few days, an attractive bouquet of artificial blooms - at ever more affordable prices - will last for months or years.
These decorative objects are versatile. Designers can create a composition to harmonise with any interior, no matter what the season. Besides home decoration, faux flowers are also used for weddings as bouquets, sprays, garlands and basket arrangements. That's not to mention their use as hair bands, brooches, candle rings and corsages.
Photo
SIA Decorations' pieces shipped via Hong Kong.
The variety of these flowers and plants is astonishing. In the SIA Decoration shop in Paris, staff bustle about setting up a new shipment, removing an amazing array of foliage from cardboard boxes. There are large, single flowers; bunches of small ones; flowers on twigs, leaves, fruit, nuts and berries. There are artificial trees such as palm and olive, greenery, as well as vegetable and fruit plants, such as watermelon and kiwi.
All of SIA Decoration's flowers come from the Chinese mainland via a number of Hong Kong suppliers. The company sends its florists to Hong Kong on purchasing missions several times a year.
Photo
Genevieve: Faux Flowers Treated as Real.
Large vases of flowers and orchid compositions are among the shop's most popular items, Genevieve explains, holding up a stalk of variegated blossoms. In France, it is the custom to put fake flowers in vases, just like real ones.
The shop's largest orchid composition is about US$39, while a single orchid sells for about US$5.9 or less. The biggest bouquet of faux flowers is priced at US$396.
At Maison Trousselier, on stylish Boulevard Haussmann, Lisette Fuchs has noticed great interest in artificial flowers in the decade she has been director at the 400 sqm shop: "every year they get better and better, they look more real."
Photo
Fuchs: Decade of Increasingly Better Products.
Today, about 70% of the shop's synthetic fauna comes from Hong Kong. The rest are hand-made silk flowers from Italy.
The company has more than 3,000 flower products in silk and cotton, as well several hundred "trees" and "green" plants, including faux mango- and banana-bearing trees and bamboo arrangements.
Trousselier's creations are displayed in classy hotels such as
Hôtel Plaza Athenée, and in swish restaurants like La Tour d'Argent, as well as in corporate and banking offices. They even feature in the offices of the president of France and the mayor of Paris.
Photo
Classy Collection: in All the Best Places.
Flowers are not so expensive from Hong Kong," says Fuchs. Trousselier works directly with many manufacturers and the company has a full-time, permanent agent in Hong Kong in charge of purchasing, quality control and supervising manufacturing contracts.
The large shop offers a wide range of products and prices. A single "rose", with a realistic dew drop, costs US$7.9, a "tulip" US$9.9. A huge arrangement of flowers in a decorative pot costs more than US$8,900.
"Artificial flowers are no longer something that you put out when you don't have the courage to buy natural flowers," says Laurent Bouhana, director of development at Silea-France Gift. "In the past two or three years, they have taken their place in the home as a true element of decoration."
From Special Correspondent Garry Marchant, Paris
Contact:
Company
Tel/Email/Web
SIA DecorationTel: 33-1-34-91-08-09
Email: contact@sia-deco.fr
Web: http://www.sia-deco.fr/
TrousselierTel: 33-1-42-66-16-16
Web: http://www.trousselier.com


New Posts

Elegant Composed Salad with Savoy Cabbage


Remove leaves from Savoy or Napa cabbage; rinse well. Using a French chef's knife, slice very thinly. Core and slice an orange capsicum (sweet pepper) into thin strips. Set the sliced cabbage in the centre of an elegant bowl. Arrange the orange sweet-pepper strips on the perimeter of the Savoy cabbage. Pour your favourite vinaigrette over the vegetables. Cover and let your elegant composed salad marinate. Just before serving, toss the vegtables together.
©M-J de Mesterton
Health-Benefits of Cabbage, at George Mateljan's World's Healthiest Foods
New Posts

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bermuda Dress-Code 2001


Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2001

New Posts

Beverly Barbour-Soules, Great Food Writer

Beverly Barbour-Soules 

I have several books by Beverly Barbour, who now goes by her  married name, Beverly Barbour-Soules. Among her works are a book about preserving food through canning, freezing, and drying, which I have found indispensable; a compendium of American club recipes called Secret Recipes from Private Clubs, in which Ms Barbour included historical ephemera about the respective regional country and dining clubs. Beverly Barbour-Soules, native of North Dakota and former resident of New York City, now lives in San Francisco, and has been a renowned food expert since the 1970s.

I have located a page with links to several of Beverly Barbour's recipes, all of which are laden with fun food facts and personal comments.

New Posts

Friday, 1 July 2011

Making Strained Yoghurt

Straining your own yoghurt makes a delightful Mediterranean or Middle Eastern spread for bread or pita. Put a round coffee-filter into a bowl-sized strainer or sieve, empty a container of plain whole-milk or full-fat yoghurt into it, cover with another round coffee-filter, and place over a bowl that allows some space between the bottom of the strainer and the base of the bowl, so that when your yoghurt is draining, it will not soak itself. Keep the assembly covered with plastic or Saran-type wrap, because fruit-flies love this stuff. I initiate this process before going to bed at night; in the morning I have wonderful, thick spread for my preferred bread or pita, and this yogurt-cheese is also excellent with a fried egg. 
©M-J de Mesterton
See The Elegant Cook Bread Page for M-J's Pita Recipe