Thursday, December 29, 2011

Black eyed peas recipes

 After the gut-busting decadence of Christmas, it's nice to settle in with simple, humble fare for New Year's, like the Southern traditional foods - black-eyed peas and greens. Southerners eat their peas on New Year's Day to bring luck and partaking of greens is said to put plenty of green, as in money, in your pocket in the coming year. We may need all the luck and money we can get to avoid the Mayan Apocalypse...

Black-eyed peas in bag. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Here are a few black-eyed pea recipes. I prefer using dried peas because 1. they're cheaper, and 2. I like the texture and flavor. But I don't turn up my nose at canned or frozen peas, or goodness knows, fresh, if you can fnd them.

First up, black-eyed peas as appetizer, in a Southwest classic, Texas caviar. Jazzed up with onion and tomato and a garlicky dressing, it's an addictive snack.

Texas caviar. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Next up, Black-eyed peas vinaigrette, a Southern favorite with a sweet and sour mustardy dressing.

Black-eyed peas vinaigrette. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

When I want a warm bowl of nourishment, I prefer to cook my black-eyed peas low and slow, in a braising pot, with the traditional bit of seasoning meat or vegetarian with amped-up spices.

Black-eyed peas with Indian spices. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Look for tomorrow's post on greens for a new twist on the same-old, same-old.

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let there be peas on earth, and let it begin with me

Dried black eyed peas. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

On Jan. 1, New Year's tradition holds to eat greens or cabbage for wealth and black-eyed peas for good luck. I don't mind the greens, but, honestly, black-eyed peas boiled with pork taste just like dirt boiled with pork. A few years ago, I discovered Black-Eyed Peas Vinaigrette in Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking (I love the cover of Craig in his high-waisted trousers by a bountiful outdoors buffet). It is more refined than the usual boiled peas and a fine change-up for the New Year's Day menu.

Black-Eyed Peas Vinaigrette

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas

8 cups water

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 onion stuck with two cloves

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp dried thyme

4 sprigs parsley

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 tbsp finely chopped shallots

1 tsp finely minced garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1. Rinse and pick over the peas and place in a kettle. Add the water, salt, pepper, and onion stuck with cloves. Tie the garlic clove, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley sprigs in a cheesecloth bag, and add it. Bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Remove the onion and cheesecloth bag. Drain the peas.

3. Put the peas in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped onion, shallots, minced garlic, chopped parsley, vinegar, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to blend well. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature (my preference).

Text and images copyright 2008. Lucy Mercer

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

White Christmas, 2010. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care and I'm about to settle down for a little last-minute present-wrapping and a long winter's nap. Our mild winter has meant temps in the 70s in December, a far cry from last year's white Christmas, pictured above. I like my house in the snow, and with the porch decorated, it just seemed an idyllic Christmas scene. I hope your Christmas is filled with love, light and good food,

Sending warm wishes to my friends and family out there ~

May you know God's blessings this holiday season,


Friday, December 23, 2011

My favorite Christmas carol

Nativity/Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Christmas music is the mood-setter as we gear up for the holidays. I look forward each year to the familiar and funny, as well as the sacred and serious songs of the season. Before I tell you about my favorite song, I will tell you what I don't like:

Waking up the Monday before Thanksgiving to the strains of Kelly Clarkson's eardrum-shattering butchering of "Silent Night" streaming forth from the clock radio. I have nothing against the lovely and talented Ms. Clarkson, but respect the original intentions of the song - it's a hymn, intended for tender reflection and spare guitar accompaniment, not Wagnerian vocals and soaring orchestrations.

The next morning, I woke up to the I'm-convinced-there-is-a-Hell, Edward-Scissorhands-on-chalkboard torment of Madonna singing "Santa Baby." I have a fondness for Eartha Kitt's version of the song - sexy and silly and like embarrassing behavior at holiday parties, best indulged in once a year and forgotten for the remainder. Madonna, on the other hand, should stick with her day job of being Madonna and leave poor Eartha's fine work alone.

I slept in on Wednesday and changed the radio station to a Christian station that plays reasonable, sincere, reason-for-the-season Christmas fare, (as well they should.)

Lest you think I'm the Grinch of Christmas music, I have to say that I truly love Christmas and Christmas songs, both sacred and secular. Some of my dearest childhood memories are of turning out the lamps in the living room, plugging in the lights on the Christmas tree and singing along with Mitch Miller or Robert Shaw, the discs spinning on my parents' stereo. Mitch, with his goatee and Santa hat, was quite handy to have around because the album sleeve came with copies of the lyrics - knowing that the day would come when I would need to know all of the words to "Must be Santa," I diligently studied the words.

Here in Atlanta, the go-to radio station for Christmas music was the old Peach 94.9. Their highest ratings were from Thanksgiving to Christmas, when they played a divine and diverse selection of sacred and silly songs. From der Bingle's "White Christmas" to an enchanting version of "Toy Trains" by Nana Mouskouri, to the Centurymen's "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," the selections were soothing and inspiring and responsible for neverending wells of Christmas cheer. The ratings boost didn't help the station, however, the station is now "The Bull," dispensing country music 24/7. (Love Garth and Tricia, just.not.that.much.)

If I had to pick one song that just makes my holiday, it would have to be  "Betelehemu," a Nigerian choral work arranged by Wendell Whalum, long-time director of the Morehouse Glee Club. (Morehouse is the historically black college in Atlanta, whose famous alumni include Martin Luther King, Jr. and Spike Lee). You may be familiar with the Morehouse Glee Club - they perform throughout the country. (If perhaps you're not, then you're in for a treat.

I first heard "Betelehemu" at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus' annual Christmas concert, the signature work and Christmas gift from the legendary Robert Shaw. That was a stage filled with as much musical talent as you'll ever find - the ASO, the chorus, the Morehouse men, and Robert Shaw, looking for all the world like a conductor should. Barrel-chested, dashing in his white tie and tails, turning toward the audience after the traditional opener, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," his face flushed from the lights and energy, shock of white hair falling over his brow, and quoting from the Gospels. The son of a preacher, with a preacher's stentorian tones, Shaw had his own pulpit and ministry, the pursuit of perfection in choral singing. The Atlanta Symphony chorus and the Morehouse men exemplified Shaw's ideals.

Midway through the Christmas program, the musicians and singers looked to stage left with expectation as the Morehouse Glee Club delivered its rendition of "Betelehemu." It starts out with traditional African percussion and near the end, a solo. Watching people experience Betelehemu for the first time is fascinating. Here you are in Symphony Hall, soaking up the sacred, expected songs from the Anglo-American catalog - First Noel's  and Fum Fum Fum and some a-wassailing and then the Morehouse men start up with drums and singing words in an unfamiliar language. It doesn't matter that I don't know the Nigerian language, I understand this song.
    "We are glad that we have a Father to trust.
    We are glad that we have a Father to rely upon
    Where was Jesus born?
    Where was He born?
    Bethlehem, the city of wonder.
    That is where the Father was born for sure.
    Praise, praise, praise be to Him.
    We thank thee, we thank Thee, we thank Thee for this day,
    Gracious Father.
    Praise, praise, praise be to Thee,
    Merciful Father."
( "Betelehemu"  (Olatunji, Via) - arr. Wendall Whalum)

 It's not too difficult to put into words what I like about this song. It's joy. From-the-tips-of-my-toes to the top of my head joy. Hearing "Betelehemu" seals my faith - the worldwide community of believers, past and present, who know the saving power of the love of God. The longing for a Savior and the thankfulness for answered prayers. It's significant that it's a choral work, performed by a group, not individuals, who have to work together to sing it right. It's not about the diva who can knock your socks off when she hits the high note.

I hope you like this clip - it's the Morehouse Glee Club performing "Betelehemu" at 1991's Kennedy Center Honors for Robert Shaw. It's nice to see Shaw's reaction to the performance. (Mr. Shaw died in January 1999, but the ASO Christmas program that he created is an Atlanta tradition, still performed each Christmas season.)

Please tell me your favorite Christmas songs, sacred or silly, I'd love to know. And may God bless you with inspiring music this Christmas.
Text and image © 2010, Lucy Mercer.
Video clip is from Youtube.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My favorite books for Christmas

My favorite Christmas books. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and when I'm not jingle-belling and caroling out in the snoooow, I've got my nose stuck in a book. I have a shelf in my living room that is devoted to Christmas books and these are a few of my favorites:

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

1. "Reader's Digest Book of Christmas," a big red book that is quite easy to find in grandparents' homes and used book sales. It includes an excerpt from "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," Betty Smith's marvelous story of Irish immigrants in New York, circa 1910. The story, "Francie Nolan's Christmas," is about two poor kids determined to get a Christmas tree, and the bruising punishment they endure to obtain it. (On reflection, it reads better than it sounds.) This volume is loaded with holiday songs, traditions and stories.

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

2. "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote. Simply one of the best short stories ever written. Capote's enduring story of a young boy and his unconventional elderly aunt is available in many editions, including a children's book version with illustrations by Beth Peck, that is a favorite. (The story is also included in the Reader's Digest book, above). All these years later, I still worry for Buddy and Sook when they visit Mr. Haha Jones to get the liquor for the fruitcakes.

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

3. "Why the Chimes Rang" by Raymond Macdonald Alden. The short story can be difficult to find on its own, but it is included in the Reader's Digest book and some anthologies. I found an ancient hardcover at a Goodwill book sale years ago, and I treasure it. The story is about two young brothers travelling on Christmas Eve to a great cathedral, and the sacrifices they make in order to hear the chimes ring. I remember my grade school teacher reading this story to my class. Sentimental and essential.

Illustrations from "Why the Chimes Rang." Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

A few more, in no particular order,

4. "Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. The Herdman children smoke cigars and learn about Jesus' birthday. I've never cried so much over the presence of a ham.

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

5. "A Certain Small Shepherd" by Rebecca Caudill. More sentimental stuff, but I love it. A young boy in Appalachia becomes a part of a Christmas miracle.

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

6. "Christmas Letters" by Lee Smith. Like all of Lee Smith's stories, it involves laughter through tears, or is that tears through laughter? Also includes recipes, so some might say it's the perfect Christmas book.

7. "Silent Night" by Philip Lee Williams. Memoir by one of Georgia's most elegant writers, published by Algonquin.

8. "To Whom the Angel Spoke" by Terry Kay. The real joy of this retelling of the Christmas story is to hear it read by Georgia's own Terry Kay, who is blessed with the voice of a preacher.

By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

9. "Miracle on 34th Street" by Valentine Davies.  Of course, it's more famous as a movie, but among my treasured books is a first edition of the novel.

These are just a few of my favorites - I haven't even discussed children's picture books for Christmas - what would Christmas be without "The Polar Express" and William Joyce's "Santa Calls?"

Please tell me your favorite Christmas stories and books, the ones you read each year, in the comments section. 

And Merry Christmas!

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paperwhites and daffodils for Christmas gifts

Paperwhite bulbs.Lucy mercer/A Cook and Her Books
When you run into the Lowe's or Home Depot or your favorite garden center this week, looking for an extra string of lights, or a discounted wreath, find the display of fall bulbs. I bet you'll find a few bags of beautiful tulip, daffodil and paperwhite bulbs, priced to sell. If you have a few extra minutes in the Christmas rush and crush, you may put some into the ground, or you can make lovely gifts for friends and family.

Paperwhite bulbs. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
First, paperwhites: these fragrant blooms take really well to indoor forcing. Pick up a bag of gravel while you're at the Depot and find a few shallow dishes around your house. I prefer sealed ceramic dishes for this - the saucer will need constant watering and unsealed terra cotta will ruin the surface underneath. Gently place gravel in container, nestle the paperwhite bulbs among the stones, and add water. Because of the moisture factor, I keep these in my sunny kitchen and bathroom, where I can monitor the water level daily. If you're giving these away, don't add water, and wrap with cellophane and a pretty bow and add instructions for water and light.

Paperwhites in gravel container. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

You can also take the smaller approach and gather a few jelly and canning jars for a collection of bulbs. Just place a few pieces of gravel in the bottom, fill with a bit of dirt, then add a bulb. I found this idea on Wenderly's site and she recommends not watering right away, but placing the jars with bulbs in a dark place for a few days to encourage root growth, then bringing out the jars, putting in a bit of water and watching the bulbs grow.

Paperwhite bulbs in jars.Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I found daffodils marked down 75 percent at Lowe's (half off at Home Depot), and decided to use them for teacher gifts. Very simple here, and it's easy to set up assembly-line style. Clean pot, gravel in bottom, 5 or 6 bulbs place upright on gravel. Fill in with potting soil and pat down the soil.

Daffodil bulbs in pots. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Wrap with cellophane. Tie with a pretty gold ribbon (I buy gold and silver ribbon after the holidays and have a stash of lovely wired ribbon to use throughout the year.)

Daffodil pots. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
The daffodil pots were given to teachers and family this year. I have a few extras on hand, for last-minute and unexpected gifts.

Christmas is all about new beginnings - a baby, new life for those who believe. And a planter full of the promise of spring will make a wonderful Christmas gift.

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Retro favorites, two sweet, one savory

Orange-pecan coconut candy Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Maybe it's because I love "Mad Men," or maybe it's the other way around, but the early 60s seem to have a hold on me. I can do without the floofy hair and the waist-whittling foundation garments, but everything else - pointy-toed heels, handbags and gloves; the Betty Crocker kitchen and the Corningware casseroles, I love. Maybe it's because my parents were married in 1962 and our house was filled with the everyday items of that era. Nevertheless, I'm in a retro frame of mind and a few of my childhood favorites, (no doubt gleaned from my mother's copy of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, or from a handwritten recipe card from a friend) usually grace my Christmas goodie plates.

Here are a few of my favorites, beginning with the classic no-bake treat, orange-pecan-coconut candy. If you can melt butter, you can make these treats. Another favorite, this time a stovetop treat, crispy date candy, made with Rice Krispies. The only downside to this recipe is that it makes so few, you'll find yourself hiding the box in the back of the refrigerator and sneaking little nibbles during the day, and possibly night.

Crispy date candy. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Every 60s hostess will recognize this recipe for cheese wafers, although this is the plain version. It's usually gussied up with pecans or cayenne pepper. My kids love these plain - in fact, they're quite lovely with a bowl of soup. If you're a smart cook, you'll make an extra loaf of the dough, wrap it well and place it in the freezer for those times when supper's running late and you need to feed someone something good fast.

Cheese wafers. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Cheese Wafers

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just until mixture comes together to form a dough. Remove work bowl from processor and, using whatever little hands are available (my three year old loves this part), form walnut-sized balls and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet (the slick wrapper from the butter works especially well for this purpose). Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until set, but not really brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Don't let them cool too long on the baking sheet or they may stick. When cool, place in a paper-towel-lined airtight container.

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snack on this: Two choices for savory treats

Snack mix. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

When you're busy baking cookies this week, it's nice to have a few recipes that the kidoodles can help put together, especially savory snacks that will balance out super-sweet cookie trays. Here are two of my favorites: snack mix and roasted nuts. The snack mix is fun to assemble with kids, in fact, if they're shopping with you, let them choose a few of the ingredients - there's so much variety with pretzels and cheese crackers these days, your own family combination will be unique. Click here or on the link under the caption for the recipe.

Pan-roasted almonds and walnuts. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I love almonds and they are my favorite nut to roast and season, but walnuts and pecans add variety, too. Check out my use of a wok skillet to roast and butter the nuts.

Roasted spicy almonds. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
If you haven't heard me say it yet, I will say it now:

Wishing you the blessings of the season! Merry Christmas!

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Wrap it up for teachers

Wrapped loaf cakes. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Give those hard-working teachers something homemade this year, all wrapped up in a pretty ribbon. Loaf cakes and quick breads fill the bill - most recipes make at least two loaves, and if you use smaller pans, you can stretch the recipe further. Below are some of my favorites. Click on the name in the caption for the recipe.

Lemon tea loaves. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Cream cheese pound cake. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Banana bread. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let the baking begin!

Miss Abbey's fruitcake cookies. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Each December, I pull down my Christmas baking books and decide on which cookies to turn out each year. There are the tried and true, like the 100 cookies and the shortbread with candied cherries. I will make a pan or two of tassies, because I'm a Southern gal, after all. And no Christmas is complete without Christmas cut-out cookies - the ones my girls plead to make and decorate. The fruitcake cookies from my Mom's kitchen are the very best - you can't eat just one!

Christmas cutout cookies. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Here's a round-up of my favorite cookies, with links to the recipes (just click on the name in the caption). In the comments below, tell me what your favorite holiday cookies are.

Ginger cookies with raspberry jam. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books.

100 Cookies. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Dried cherry biscotti. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Lemon Glazed Cookies. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Tassies with macadamias and rum. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Shortbread with candied cherries. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas tablescapes

Mickey Mouse holiday table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

The Friday before Thanksgiving, before the busy-ness of the holidays takes over, the women of my church do a wonderful thing - it's called the Christmas Memories dinner. It's an opportunity for ladies to pull their beautiful holiday china out of the cabinets and create decorated tables and invite their friends for an early Christmas celebration, (and this is the best part) served by the men of the church. Opportunities like this don't come very often, in fact, just once a year. 

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m., when the women arrive and walk through the fellowship hall, taking pictures and oohing and aaahing over the decorations, and greeting friends. Our church has three services and although we may all be at worship on Sundays, it's only through events like the women's dinner that we get to see our church friends all in one room. The meal is served at 7 p.m., and it's served by the men of church - they put on their bow ties and cummerbunds and spirit of service. The dinner is usually simple, but tasty - chicken, green beans and potato casserole this year, plus cheesecake for dessert. After the desserts are served, the program begins - a few seasonal songs by some of the fabulously talented women in the church, and an inspiring message. The theme is usually one I need to hear - slow down, savor the season, learn to say "no" to busyness and yes to the activities that add meaning to the season.This year, a young woman named Sarah Prince inspired us with tales of her missionary life in South Africa.

Every other year or so I host a table - it's a fair amount of work, packing and unpacking the china and linens, but it's always a rewarding evening. I thought I'd share a few pictures from this year's event, plus my very favorite table from a couple of years ago. 

This was the table next to mine, decorated by Wendy Methven. She even decorated the chairs - 

Christmas table with fruit and green. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I liked this table with the feather trees and keepsake "Faith" ornament.

Faith ornament on table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
The following are from my table - I decided on a gingerbread and candy cane theme. Being unemployed meant that I couldn't run out to Tar-jay and grab eight of everything, so I gave myself shabby chic license. A festive red and green quilt sewn by my talented sister-in-law went over the tablecloth. I used simple white plates over gold chargers and my favorite red glasses. Pearl handled flatware, purchased a few years ago just for this event, came in handy again. A collection of Fiesta Ware and assorted holiday mugs rounded out the table settings.

Lucy's Christmas table setting. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
At each place, I set a candy cane striped takeout box filled with a gingerbread man ornament, a gingerbread man cookie cutter, and a decorative soap shaped like a peppermint candy.

Very fuzzy picture of my Christmas table. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
In the center of the table, I placed a live tabletop Christmas tree and covered it with gingerbread man cookie cutters, small rolling pins, gingerbread man ornaments, candy canes, measuring cups and spoons and spatulas. Once my guests were seated at the table, I removed the tree so that we could talk to each other and see the program.

Lucy's gingerbread tree. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Once I removed the tree centerpiece, I placed a tray of homemade gingerbread men on the table. They were delicious and fragrant, and I encouraged my guests to take several at the end of the evening.

Gingerbread men. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
And now, to my all-time favorite Christmas table. This is one from a few years ago, Stephanie Ford's Blue Christmas tribute to Elvis and Mississippi. That's plasticware, friends, and Moon Pies for take-away goodies.

Blue Christmas tribute to Elvis. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

For my FPC friends, if you have pictures from this year's, or past events, please share them on Facebook or at and I will add them to this post. 

Text and images copyright Lucy Mercer, 2011.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My kind of Christmas shopping

Biscoff on Pfaltzgraff. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 In the midst of Christmas shopping this week, I decided to pop into my favorite thrift store. It couldn't hurt to just pop in and see what's new on the used housewares shelves, right? I walked past the worn '90s starter china sets, the discount Christmas decor, the once-lovely silver-rimmed Mikasa bone china obviously washed repeatedly in the dishwasher (there ought to be a law...) and did a double-take when I saw a stack of eight rounded, rectangular dishes. Flipped the top one over and realized what I held in my hand...

Pfaltzgraff for Delta. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 SkyChina from Delta Airlines, crafted by Pfaltzgraff! Eight dishes, 69 cents apiece, now used for snacks and breakfast, the perfect size for a muffn and  a piece of fruit, or Biscoff and peanut butter.

Below are more finds, note the consistent theme of summer-y colors. These glasses were $3.99 for all four.

Ice Cream Glasses. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 Three separate plates, and they looked so pretty stacked. The top is from Pier One.The middle is white with a bright green band. The bottom is celadon with periwinkle polka dots.

Green and blue plates. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 A small ironstone plate. I love this little lady - it's my favorite pie plate now.

Ironstone plate. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 All told, I spent a little less than $15 in the store. Some girls goes for shoes and Choos. I'm thrilled with hand-me-down Delta Airlines plates.Go figure.

What about you - can you resist the siren song of a good thrift store? What are your best finds?

Text and images copyright 2011. Lucy Mercer.