Yesterday was quite possibly one of the most entertaining and productive days of my life. That should go completely without saying, though, as I spent it in the incredible company and travel/shopping guidance of one, Alisa Love Martin. If you don't know her, you should hold a reflective moment of silence for yourself at this very moment, because you truly are missing out on experiencing one of the most exceptional human beings to ever walk this planet. She is one of my dearest friends and I couldn't be more thankful. We chit chat like old ladies, sip sun tea in her haven of a backyard in lounge chairs, have regular Monday morning phone calls to start our weeks out just right - it's a friendship made just right. So, when she offered to bring me to Chattanooga, where she lived most of her life, to buy supplies for Buttermilk Road, I did nothing short of squeal with excitement. Something you should know about Alisa: she is blessed by the thrifting gods. All you have to do is whisper your needs in her ear and she wills them into existence. And, usually for half of the price you thought you would spend.
When you plan on feeding thirty people a four course meal, you need a lot of flatware and dishes. I needed roughly 120 various serving pieces and, also, coffee cups and dessert bowls and... and... and... Really, the list was a long one. And, my budget was miniscule. Alisa, of course, knew of just the place. She took me to Decks. It is an old warehouse that surely doesn't look like much from the outside, or the inside, but it was a treasure trove of old china patterns and plates and bowls and b&b's and vases and glassware and just about anything you could ever need or want if you are needing to buy large quantities of dishware. We arrived and I was immediately thrilled as we walked into the main room. The dishes that were on display were really wonderful (and cheap) and Chester, the delightful pill of a man who ran the warehouse, was there to help us with whatever we needed. Luckily, he was sweet on Alisa, so he was incredibly helpful and, by the end of our trip, was showering us with free gravy boats and vases.
After about five minutes of meandering in the "main room", I heard Alisa and Chester talking about the "back". The conversation went like this: "Now, Chester, you know I want to show her the back room" and Chester replies, "Now of course you do, lady" and he proceeds to walk over to a large wooden door that, when he opened, felt a whole hell of a lot like when Gene Wilder opens the door to his Chocolate Factory in Willy Wonka. You can not imagine the plates that were stacked for days and miles - all for the taking!
Rummaging through these plates was incredibly dirty, hot (it must have been 104 degrees in that warehouse) and thoroughly rewarding work! We found the most gorgeous mid-century patterns, the sweetest little country patterns, the prettiest little diner patterns that you could ever imagine!
Chester, naturally, cut us a great deal because we were "cute" (pretty sure he was talking about Alisa). And, I ended up spending nearly a hundred dollars less than I had budgeted for.
So, this morning, I couldn't wait to inventory what we found. It all certainly needed a thorough washing - these plates have been sitting in this warehouse for who knows how long. I think I remember Chester saying that some of the patterns had been sitting in there for well over forty years. The plates are all brand new and unused, some were still in their original boxes - they just haven't seen the light of day, ever! I felt a real sense of accomplishment washing them out in the sun early this morning. Even though we knew, under the grime and water stains, that they were gems, this morning was like rediscovering them all over again!
My seven year old daughter Maggie woke up to find me in the back yard with a sea of plates on our patio. She said it looked like a pretty plate party. She came out and helped my scrub, hose down, wipe and rinse these plates. It took us only about two hours total to clean these up. They are going to be perfect for out little dinners!
Our first supper is fully booked! Thank you to all who have reserved seats and to all of those tried but were a smidge too late. I am very excited about our future events, so those of you that missed this first one, please check back very soon for our next Suppers. I have been asked if I have a waiting list and, I don't. But, by all means, hit the little "follow" button on the bottom of this page and keep yourself updated on when we post new menus and events.
Thanks again and see you all at the table! Lisa