CULINARY THRILL SEEKING: ‘Which Fork’ removes stress from setting table

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015

“Which Fork Do I Use?” is like a “formal” spiral on thick paper that is your pictorial guidebook to throwing fabulous parties.

Of course you know the fork goes on the left of the table setting, unless it’s a cocktail or dessert fork. Then there are other rules. But isn’t it worth it to enjoy your cocktail and dessert?

Setting a proper table is not the same thing as setting a formal table. You can still follow etiquette at an informal little fondue gathering, or a ‘70s party to which guests are given their own catchphrase upon arrival (groovy, far out, you’re the Man!).

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Rosemarie Burns and Linda Reed make learning all this fun, not a cause for stress. A hostess is all about making her guests feel welcome. And as a guest, don’t you love all that attention?

Other tips from the book:

Don’t be that guest who gets toasted and takes the first sip. It’s like applauding one’s self.

If the hostess says don’t bring anything, don’t. She should be enjoying guests, not rushing around for extra dishes and vases.

Have a backup plan. Sometimes the dog makes off with the meat course.


Coconut products are trending and Coco Joy makes it easy to get in on it. First, just drink it.

A chilled can of pure coconut water is a flavorful replenishing treat that can motivate you through a workout. A jar of beautiful, creamy cold-pressed virgin coconut oil made my over-easy egg taste so good. While you’ve got the jar open, go ahead and rub a little oil on your skin. It’s like taking a spa vacation.

Now, here’s my hard sell. There are bottles of Coco Joy drinks that are pure coconut milk flavored like coffee, chocolate and banana.

My mom and I loved the coffee, especially, and I think the banana tasted like a candy of my youth.

What makes this a possible hard sell is preconceived notions. I offered some for my aunt to try and she says she has a thing about anything called milk — even if it did not come from an animal. She would not try it. Drinking something like this should put one in the mind of a peaceful tropic view, and not promote the bickering my husband and I engaged in while I tried to convince him that coconut water and milk are different things. The water comes from young green coconuts. I had to use the Internet to convince him.

But there’s another level of consumers who are in know about this coconut thing. There are health benefits that go beyond the great flavor. Coco Joy will tell you all about it.

Tia Juanita’s

So you don’t get to wear your beautiful winter coat very often in Southeast Texas. Look what you do get. My day-after–turkey treat was getting treated to lunch at Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in Beaumont, and sitting on the patio in shorts. My party of four had fish and shrimp tacos and talked all afternoon while a gentle breeze wafted through the screens.