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It's ALWAYS a kitchen party & EVERYONE's invited!
Welcome to Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe!
Thanks for visiting! Just like our happy little stores, we take pride in making this page a place you leave happier than when you arrived! We have been in business for 22 years now, starting as a small kitchen shoppe in Lexington VA and now have expanded to 2 other locations in Roanoke VA and Richmond VA. We pride ourselves on staying ahead of cooking, baking, bar and food trends. Meeting our customers needs is always forefront, whether it's that impossible to find gadget, hostess gift, entertaining/bar items or just a good ole fashion high five! We are owned by Chef Sarah Nicholas and have a BEYOND FABULOUS team that knows it all when speaking "kitchen".
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I don't want to use the word tragic to describe Father's Day from my childhood, because it involved a Bloomin' Onion. Nothing can be too terrible when it involves a Bloomin' Onion. But I will say our Father's Day lacked imagination. Every year we'd pile into a station wagon and drive to Outback Steakhouse, waiting outside for at least an hour. We'd sit in the heat, swatting at mosquitos, enduring the screams of hungry kids and grow irritated with one another. I'd stare at the plastic disc in my hand, willing it to blink red. When it did, we got looks.
Now that we're older, Father's Day has become a more thoughtful occasion. Here are some ways to give it some heart. And the best part? All the gifts in the below photos are available at Ladles and Linens!
The Great Outdoors
In case you were thinking of going to a chain restaurant, know that thousands of others are too. Why not pack a picnic in the great outdoors? The old neighborhood playground is not going to cut it. Cruise into a national park and give him a little escape from the everyday. Pick a spot with a great view of water or a mountain vista - something wild. Bring an oversize blanket, or multiple ones, so everyone has room to stretch out. Pack some of his favorite foods, whether it's Mom's famous meatloaf or a bonfire with s'mores. Bring a bottle of chilled wine, use stemless wine glasses to avoid spills on bumpy terrain, and be sure to toast him!
Why do women and children get all the gift baskets? Every Easter, kids are handed rainbow hued cavity-makers half their size. I can't tell you how many times I've enjoyed a themed basket - it's usually about pampering. But equality means guys get baskets too, and if you go to your local Ladles and Linens store, the associates will help you put together a customized gift basket for Dad. The place is positively stocked with staples and inventive homemade goods, made by Virginians! From a Wusthof Portable Grilling Set to the Smoking Gun Woodchip Set these sophisticated products will make Dad feel taken care of. You and the siblings can go in on it together, making it hassle-free for everyone!
Take Dad's endless home movies on VHS and have them transferred to a DVD collection or a digital library, labeled and organized by year. Then invite the family over, shut off the lights and take a trip down memory lane. There will be squeals, there will be tears. There should also be good food, so fill up the family with homemade pizza - an easy food to eat while basking in nostalgia.
Leave Him Alone
Sound harsh? Then you must not be celebrating a father to young kids. This is for all the newer dads who have recently put their hobbies on hold for diaper duty. Time is precious - give him some. Whether he wants to tinker on a project in the garage or enjoy peace and quiet while fishing on a lake, let him go. But not empty-handed. Surprise him with a cooler filled with quality craft beer, and if he's in the garage, order him some great take-out. Then say goodbye and face the chaos alone.
You got this.
Happy Father's Day!
Nearly every party you attend this summer will be out under the sun. Who can resist a pool party or down-home BBQ? How can you throw a party that sets you apart? Host your friends in the evening, enjoying cool air under the stars. And what if the theme dare not involve a grill or bottle of rose? Throw an International dinner party, and wow your friends with the unexpected!
How to do it:
Have your guests show up in clothes from their native country, or from their newly-discovered DNA results! My friend Kim wanted to poke fun at her Russian lineage, so she came with a basket of vodka and potatoes, and scowled for photos.
Keep it Simple
No need to embark on elaborate recipes, though, should you feel so inclined, Ladles & Linens has an exotic list of spices. You can keep it simple. If you have a good food processor (and you should), you can whip up a batch of hummus for a fraction of the price of the tiny tubs at the store - and no cooking! Just throw the following in the food processor: one can of drained chick peas (save some water to soften the mix), two cloves of garlic, juice from a half lemon, a teaspoon of tahina sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Blend and taste until it's just right. Garnish with a shallow puddle of extra virgin olive oil on top, and dust with paprika.
To reduce stress, prep as much as you can ahead of time, with food-saving miracle products, like this guacamole keeper and Greensaver produce keeper. Expert tip: No one wants to be greeted by a stressed-out host, so drink during the inevitable last-minute hustle. These stemless martini glasses are a beauty, and less likely to be knocked over. If you've had two full drinks before the first guests arrive, it's gong to be a good night.
It's a Small World
Try to include foods from your guests' homelands. Label the dishes on printed flags for the intended country. Have a photo booth with a sign above reading, "It's a Small World" - a feel-good reminder to focus on our similarities, rather than our differences.
Let the Games Begin
You've probably noticed by now, but I'm a fan of games. Host a trivia contest about world geography and culture. The winner gets to take home a basket of International food! Your local Ladles & Linens store will be chock full of creative gift ideas! We stuffed our prize basket with Italian pasta, Greek dolmas, English shortbread, Mexican salsa and more!
For the full story on our International dinner party, click here.
And when you host your own soiree, be sure to share the photos with us - we can't wait!
I love vintage books on etiquette and entertaining. Here's the bible, if interested. The advice is sometimes hilarious: "What's a children's party without franks and weenies?" Sometimes offensive: "Let your husband do most of the talking, as head of household." But there's always something classic to learn, like how to properly set silverware. Or the fact that at dinner parties, my husband and I should sit at the head and foot of the table. I leaned that in a book, and saw it play out later at dinner parties.
Cocktail parties have changed quite a bit, and below are some of the fun takeaways:
Then: "Always leave out plenty of cigarettes in open containers!"
Now: Vaping on the patio, admiring vintage ashtrays as art pieces.
Then: "Always start with sherry, before serving other cocktails."
Now: Have a signature cocktail that speaks to the occasion. Give it a clever name and list the ingredients on a chalkboard. And since we're in the age of Instagram, make it look good. Endless inspiration can be found here.
Then: "Play exotic music, to give your party flair. Watch them do the mambo, or cha-cha!"
Now: It's a Spotify or iTunes playlist - a cultivated mixtape. If guests get into it, they're likely to show-and-tell: casting their own playlist from their smartphones.
Then: "Good lighting is key. Light tall taper candles and place into a sterling silver candelabra. Throw sheer red and pink scarves over the lamps."
Now: While reddish lighting does make skin appear flawless, modern hosts ditch the fire hazard for strung Edison lights. With candles, we opt for the sturdier pillar style, with attention-grabbing scents, like cardamom and lavender.
Then: "Nothing beats a great sherbert punch, with rum!"
Now: I'll never hate on a good sherbert punch, but as they've become passe, modern cocktail parties tend to favor mezcals, high-end collectors bourbon (with cooling cubes to preserve taste) and campy, fruit-laden tiki drinks.
Then: "Create fun party snacks for your guests, such as a tropical tuna mold, sardines on buttered rye or Melba toast rounds."
Now: The above isn't a joke - it's from my Good Housekeeping Party Book circa 1949. These days, charcuterie boards have given way to elaborate grazing tables, meant to spill into a bountiful display. Artisan cheeses and breads, thinly-sliced sausages, nuts and fruit are commonly used. It's complicated, but great fun to put together.
I'd say we've come a long way, but I'd love for a couple of old traditions to come back. Hosts used to have a professional dancer come and teach guests dance moves, like the Charleston or cha cha. How fun would it be to invite Bollywood dancers and a henna tattoo artist to a dinner party where I'm serving Indian food?
That being said, can we please make sherbert punch happen again?