Design & Décor, Holiday, Living with Style, The Newport Diary


A Loving Table, Creating Memorable Gatherings

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It was about this time in 2020 that I began work on a chapter in my friends’ book, A Loving Table, by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Shelley Johnstone Paschke. Surely a perfect topic for my family that had hosted a day-after-Christmas party for 35 years! Not only was my nostalgic mother reluctant to let Christmas go, but there was that particular issue of what to do with all the leftover turkey. As we were Southerners, of course it became another excuse to have a party.

I’m thrilled to be included in this singular book (with it’s happy pink cover), a joyful celebration of meaningful family traditions featuring 34 stylish hostesses from around the world. This was truly a collaborative project, which started during quarantine, spearheaded by designers Kimberly and Shelley. As Kimberly offered, “In times like these…traditions, the ways of elevating the everyday, are more important than ever.”

Image Credit: Private Newport

To add a special overlay to this project, it snowed as we were finishing the last photographs. A very providential occurrence considering that my table was decorated as a peaceful snow scene (featured image above).

And, don’t you love the red scalloped napkins with a “scroll-y” Christmas tree (from Haute Home for Ronda Carman).

A welcome tip…the traditional English Christmas crackers provide double service as a place card when tied with name tags.

The curry I mentioned has served us well over many years. Aside form being yummy comfort food, it has so many other merits…this family favorite is easy to make, cost efficient, can be doubled or tripled to serve a large group and can be eaten with just a fork, making it a simple choice for a buffet that may require eating from one’s lap. And it also freezes well!

An added plus? The long list of condiments can make for a festive and photo-worthy presentation that will tempt even the fussiest eater.

But, the surprise centerpiece of the story is the elegant Kugelhof, filled with sliced almonds and decorated with sugared orange rinds, a perfect accompaniment to curry (the cake was suggested and produced by my dear gardener, Kathleen Cotta).

And, I couldn’t resist incorporating it into my “gold theme” on the salon mantle. Aren’t we always looking for alternatives to our Christmas decorating? This was a first!

Take it from me, you’ll truly enjoy the trove of stories behind the decorating, entertaining styles and recipes so colorfully presented in A Loving Table. What a treat to share my family’s Christmas traditions (and our recipe for turkey curry).

Scoot over to Kimberly Whitman’s website, or Amazon, to order the perfect holiday gift that deserves to be under every tree (oh! I just thought of one more name to add to my list…).

Hope this post has added even more cheer to your holiday preparations. Merry, Merry…


All images credit (unless otherwise noted), Molly Lo Photography for A Loving Table, by Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Shelley Johnstone Paschke, © 2022 Gibbs M. Smith, Inc.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

11 thoughts on “A Loving Table, Creating Memorable Gatherings

  1. Bettie, the settings are beautiful and you look beautiful too.
    All looks delicious. Invite me!

    1. You’re invited every Thursday! So happy you enjoyed a preview of A Loving Table.
      Are you in the Chrstmas spirirt yet? Cheers, B

  2. I’m sorry, but I would have to skip straight to the stunning cake! I have always been the dessert/cake first person! The tables are gorgeous! Happiness to all!

  3. Merry Christmas and many happy beautiful dinners ahead at your home and your friends:)
    The book looks like it will be a lovely present!

    1. Thank you for such a heartfelt meassage!! It was truly a treat to capture the years of fun on December26th at the Beardens in West LA. Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy, B

  4. I can just taste that turkey curry and you and your house look “gawjous,” dahling!
    ( Thought my southern accent pronunciations of written words looked like two cities in India)

    1. Yes, Tall R, I couldn’t agree more…and laughing myself silly about “gawjous” and “dahling.”Another reason to miss you this holiday!! xox B

  5. The snow falling on your front door, echoed on center table, a beauty to look at….
    The Indian food menu such a delicious idea for a group of people.
    The hostess as ravishing as ever.
    Gardener’s cake Yum !recipe? if not too complicated.
    Joyeux Noel. Cat

  6. My favorite about ANY Holiday…the folks that “take the time & care” about a beautiful tablescape…I just LOVE it!!! Beautifully done!! franki

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