My late mother, Rose Marie, was the daughter of Italian immigrants. She grew up in a family that spoke "broken" English, and on every Sunday and special occasion—birthdays and holidays—my family got together for a large dinner at my grandparents' house where Grandfather Matteo's homemade red wine was poured. The table was set each week by my grandmother, Adalgisa Matteo.
For working-class modest folk, my grandmother knew how to put together a beautiful spread with crystal goblets, flowery china and freshly cut flowers. Today, we would call it "chic," and at times, her simple table spread looked like a modern-day farm-to-table scene. I was so grateful to Grandmom Matteo and her superb Roman-style cooking skills that I named my second child, Matteo ("Matthew" in Italian), after her. Her life had such an impact on me that I re-create those scenes at my own gatherings—with a new and modern twist. If only I could master her Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Fishes"!
Here are some table accents to make your own scene:
Metallic glitter candle, 12-inch, $29; 10-inch, $24. Ward & Child, 687 S. 700 East, 801-595-6622. These glitter taper candles sparkle and add so much beauty to the table. Made in the wine country of Sonoma County, Calif., by Oak Forest Design. Each candle is made of hand-rolled beeswax, which burns cleaner than other candles. Each candle provides 4-5 hours of burn time. Add some rich festive holiday color to your table. Available in gold & silver and red, green & white.
Hurricanes in cut glass, gold, $19.95. Bloomingsales, 1385 S. Foothill Drive, 801-583-9117, ShopBloomingSales.com. Gold-plated base gives this hurricane gorgeous depth and warmth. This 30-year-old neighborhood store will make you smile as you walk in. There is something for every occasion, and most importantly—from napkins, serving dishes, bowls, candles and even fresh-cut flowers—there are so many curiosities to create a festive and intimate scene. Shop manager Melissa Mecham explains that gold is on trend right now.
Gold-potted miniature Phalaenopsis orchids, $22. Orchid Dynasty, 959 E. 900 South, 801-583-4754, OrchidDynasty.com. It's nice to have an occasion to justify a purchase at Orchid Dynasty but really—who am I kidding? Any day is a good day to shop at Orchid Dynasty. You can choose from one of its potted and staged orchids, or create your own by picking a pot and an orchid and have it customized by experts. They will even provide you with orchid-care instructions. Gold profile bottles, 4.25 inch and 8.75 inch, $20.99. Why not make your own flower arrangement by starting with a grouping of gold-base bud vases? Orchid Dynasty sells flowers by the stem, starting at $1.50 per stem. It is so easy to create your own scene with the simplicity of bud vases.