Dinner at the White HouseWhen you regularly dine with...


May 23, 1999|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Sun Staff

Dinner at the White House

When you regularly dine with diplomats, members of royalty, celebrities and prominent politicians, it behooves you to have nice china and tableware. And if the place you call home is the White House, the table settings should be both splendid and symbolic of what this country stands for.

From George and Martha Washington's plain French china (which he took home to Mount Vernon when he left office) to the elaborate wildflower china of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, the design, uses and occasions of White House table settings are elaborated in "Official White House China: 1789 to the Present," by Margaret Brown Klaphor, with additions and revisions by Betty C. Monkton, William G. Allman and Susan Gray Detweiler (Abrams, 1999, $49.50). The book arrives in bookstores this month.

The production of each set of china created its own tribulations. Designs, colors and costs were subject to intense scrutiny. Mary Todd Lincoln's choice of royal purple borders was so controversial the china was retired in Lincoln's brief second term.

Many of the pieces shown in the book are from the collection of Set Charles Momjian, a former auto executive from Philadelphia, who has been accumulating White House memorabilia for 40 years and is said to have one of the largest collections in the country.

Some pieces of Momjian's collection are in an exhibit of White House china now showing in Washington. Examples from every presidential administration that ordered official china (not all did) are in the exhibit, which is on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday until Nov. 30, 1999, at the Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St. N.W. For more information about the exhibit, call 202-387-4062.

The heart of the home

Kitchens have come a long way since the days of cast-iron pots and coal-fired stoves and the hearth as the center of the house. However, people are once again using the kitchen as a gathering place. According to the Spiegel catalog folks, 58 percent of Americans use their kitchen as a family center. Appliances and counters are being joined by fireplaces, sofas and carefully chosen accessories to extend the kitchen and personalize the space. Among the items in the current catalog for the "family-friendly kitchen" are a sofa with a curvy shape and brick-and-cream floral upholstery ($1,499). There's also a set of split rattan tables with handy storage drawers (end table, $299, coffee table, $449). For more information, for a catalog or to order, call 800-345-4500. -- K. M.

Brush Fido's teeth? You must be nutty

Most people who have dogs treat them as part of the household -- which makes pet products hot sellers. CraZy Dog, based in West Bloomfield, Minn., has just introduced something that's likely to be a hit with people and canines alike: peanut butter toothpaste. Dental care for dogs has gotten to be a big deal, but that doesn't mean you should use your kid's discarded toothbrush to scrub Fido's teeth. Since dogs have thin tooth enamel, the company made its toothpaste far less abrasive than human toothpaste. And it doesn't have foaming agents, because those can harm the lining of a dog's stomach. And, since it tastes like peanut butter, dogs will think it's more of a treat than a treatment. Naturally, there's also a CraZy Dog toothbrush, the PetAdent. The products are available at pet stores and in catalogs. The toothpaste is about $6; the brush is about $6.50. For more information on where to find the products, call 800-GEE-PETS. -- K. M.


* Herbs of all kinds, music, woodland walks, cooking and crafting demonstrations, vendors, train rides and more will be featured at the Baltimore Herb Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Baltimore's Leakin Park. The park is off Windsor Mill Road, near Forest Park Avenue. Admission is $4. For more information, call 410-448-0801 or 410-396-0801.

* You have through May 31 to catch the Potters Guild of Baltimore's Pots for Plants sale. Besides unique pots for your deck, terrace or garden, there are plant labels, bird houses, fountains, wind chimes, bird feeders and so on. The guild's gallery, in Meadow Mill at 3600 Clipper Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 410-235-4884. --K.M.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Karol V. Menzie, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519.

Pub Date: 05/23/99

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