Friday, August 5, 2016

Putting on the Dog

"Well, aren't you 'Putting on the Dog?'" This saying has been one I've heard countless times since I moved to the South. What does this really mean and where did it come from? I did a quick Google search and found that "Putting on the Dog" is  when one makes a "flashy display" and it dates back to the 1860s and is a reference to the "lapdogs" the wealthy owned. In our household, my Mother preferred such comments as, "You have champagne taste and beer pockets" or my favorite, when she called after seven o'clock as we were just sitting down for dinner (supper), "Are you dining with the rich?" (It's called job, living out in the sticks and raising kiddos in the 1990s)

During one phase of my life, I absolutely loved "putting on the dog." Granted, I didn't put out the flashiest or most expensive serving dishes, but you can be sure I had some really cute (to me) themed plates, platters, tablecloths and decorations every year at mine and Claudia's Annual Christmas party and various family celebrations. I wasn't trying to be showy; I just felt my family and friends were worth the effort. I have so many wonderful memories of entertaining and serving up good food on these occasions.

We have the cutest little gift shop in our town, LewLew's. Missing the shopping gene my Mother and sisters possess, it's the only store I could honestly ramble through for hours, with the exception of big box home improvement centers (I love the smell of fresh lumber) or any boutique grocery chain that has chi chi spice and speciatly food aisles. Andy and I agree we are so glad we have to drive an hour away for fancy food items or we would be in serious trouble.

I was in LewLew's the other day buying some of my favorite counter spray (Caldrea, Pear Blossom Agave) and as always, I took a little stroll through the totally cute stuff and ended up where all the bridal registry items were on display. It was nice to see some traditions haven't changed. Immediately, I pictured cozy little dinner parties with newly married friends, pre-babies of course.

I remembered when I too went to pick out my China, silverware pattern and serving dishes at Leisa's in town. There were so many beautiful things to choose from, it was very overwhelming. Being the non-traditional girl I was, I chose Mikasa Margaux, an ivory china with lavender and coral florals (some might even say there was a hint of Tennessee orange in them).
What caught my eye was the color and rim. I thought it had the prettiest basketweave pattern and the dish was off white. It helped that lavendar was my favorite color at the time and a few of the flowers were that color. It had an earthy, outdoorsy feel and that was what sold me. It was definitely not what a true Southern gal would pick, but it suited me to a T. I never did complete the whole set as we were poor kids starting out and things like vacuum cleaners and other household essentials were more important than fancy dishes. has these pieces available to sell after this many years.
There was not one single time as I was growing up in the North that I heard someone mention "once engaged, you must register for dishes, tea glasses and egg platters." Is this a tradition that is taken more seriously in the South? Was I just too young to know about it? Or, did my family just not partake in those pre-marital activities? *Gasp!

In thirty plus years, I can count on two hands how many times I set a table with that china. I have had numerous dinner parties that warranted "Putting on the Dog" but I was afraid a piece would get chipped or *yikes* dropped and broken. (For decades I've used the not-so-pretty but virtually indestructable Corelle, but that is another story for another day.)

As I wandered through the store, I envied the choices these young, modern young brides-to-be had to choose from. And cute? Oh my, some were darling enough to make me want to start setting a prettier table that night.

Ladies, fancy dishes are like the fancy baby clothes you'll eventually receive during the next phase of your life. Go ahead and "put on the dog" every day! Live your life as today is the last time you'll get to enjoy all the wonderful things you've been blessed with.

*I do not receive compensation of any kind for any products, businesses, etc. in any of the posts I write. Mentions below are just my ramblings and opinions about the things and places I like.

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