Wednesday, April 21, 2010

N is for Nantucket

is for

Nantucket, a wind-swept island off the coast of Cape Cod, stole my heart and imagination many years ago. Only fourteen miles long and three and a half miles wide, it is full of beauty, charm, and history.

With thoughts of one of my favorite destinations, I've set a lunch table for you today. Please come in and join me for a bowl of clam chowder.

I like to make New England clam chowder with fresh clams, potatoes, bacon, onions, and cream.

The tureen is Nantucket by Wedgwood. The details on this piece replicate the details found on many of the Nantucket lightship baskets.

A Nantucket lightship basket 
holds fresh rolls right out of the oven.

This young man holds a little salt and pepper should you desire more seasoning in your chowder. He's French and must have come ashore from one of the many sailing vessels moored in the harbor.

You'll dine with my new Gourmet Settings flatware, a gift from Michael Lee West. I was the lucky winner of this set of Treble Clef flatware as part of Michael's Boucoup Give-Aways. Michael hosts Designs by Gollum, a daily style magazine that features Cooking, Tablestyling, an Inspiration Gallery, Design, a Newsletter, and Give-Aways. An accomplished author of fiction, Michael lives on a farm in Tennessee. Designs by Gollum is a site not to be missed as Michael Lee shares the simple pleasures of her life: cooking, writing, collecting, tablescaping, and interior design.

Thank you, Michael Lee! 
 I feel honored to have 
won this beautiful set of flatware.

This service for four of five piece place settings is 18/10 stainless steel and handmade. I like the organic feel of both the design and the unpolished steel handles.

Our lunch table is set with the theme 
of sailing ships and Nantucket Lightship Baskets.

The chowder bowl features a jaunty sailor who sailed into port from France. Notice the French flag? This bowl is a limited edition issue of a design in the Musée des Faiences de Quimper's archives.

The concentric rings of yellow and blue of the Quimper bowl contrast with the woven pattern of the Nantucket dinner plate. Both sit atop a square red plate by Waechtersbach, Germany on a simple woven placemat.

The organic shape and feel of the 
Treble Clef flatware reminds me of seaweed.

It's such a beautiful spring day, 
I thought we'd dine on the sunporch.

I filled some of my Nantucket Lightship Baskets with cut flowers from a friend's garden ("Thank you, Ann!") and gathered them together with a scrimshaw box upon a large Courtly Check tray from MacKenzie-Childs.

These beautiful roses have filled the 
room with the most delicious fragrance.

The sweet snapdragons 
are some of the last of the season.

This basket still holds the 
bittersweet berries from the fall.

The distinctive shape and simplicity of Nantucket Lightship 
Baskets make them unique. You can read more about the 
fascinating history of this craft at:

The oak or cane staves of these baskets 
are formed over a wooden mold 
and then woven with fine cane.

The photo above shows an incredible 
Nantucket Lightship Basket style bassinet.

It's said that mermaids 
live off the coast of Nantucket.

And the whaling industry was an 
important part of the history of Nantucket.

Scrimshaw is the American version of ivory carvings. It is the folk art of carving on whale teeth or bones and was an important part of the daily life aboard whaling ships. Antique scrimshaw pieces are highly collectable and expensive. The above collage is of three pieces that were purchased as souvenirs while visiting Nantucket. With the exception of the "woven" piece top right, these pieces are made of synthetic bone. They are not antique and were not expensive.

The detail is carved into the 
bone and then later inked in.

This piece is made of bone and 
carved to resemble a woven basket.

I hope you've enjoyed lunch 
and a little bit about the island of Nantucket.

New England Clam Chowder
1/4 cup finely cut bacon or salt port
1/4 cup minced onion
1pt. shucked fresh clams with liquor or
2 cans (7 oz. Each) minced or whole clams, lobster, or other seafood
2 cups finely diced raw potato
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
1tsp. salt
1/8tsp. pepper
Sauté bacon and onions in large kettle. Drain seafood. Add Liquor, potatoes, and water to onion and bacon. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add seafood, milk, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Thank you for joining me!


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I have always wanted to visit Nantucket and now I REALLY want to! Your whole tablescape/vignette is wonderful! I love the baskets, fresh flowers, new flatware from the wonderful Gollum and everything looks just great!
    I also adore the info on the scrimshaw, etc. that you included and the recipe looks super yummy!
    Hugs, Lana

  2. Sarah, I hope that you are well rested after burning the midnight oil?
    Another wonderful post my dear, I love your Nantucket baskets brimming over with flowers and the way you included the faience pieces to complement everything.
    Congratulations on winning Gollum's giveaway too, the flatware is stunning.

  3. Nantucket is one place I've never been that I've always daydreamed about. It simply oozes charm - just from all the photos I've seen!

  4. I've always wanted to visit Nantucket and have never had the opportunity. Love the baskets, so simple and beautiful! And I was so excited when I read that you had won the flatware. It's perfect for this table. Lovely post as always Sarah. Kathy

  5. Sarah,
    Your post is absolutely outstanding. I love the Nantucket baskets and they are perfect filled with flowers. Clam chowder is a favorite as well.


  6. Love your table setting and the quick trip to Nantucket. I love the idea of enjoying a single placesetting - a moment of peaceful solitude.

  7. I love all the baskets in your post. They are beautiful!

  8. Thanks for the little trip to Nantucket. Your table is wonderfully detailed. The soup tureen caught my eye! Again, so detailed. I love how you placed the napkins under the plates, they look like sailing flags. Very creative and beautifully done!
    Ahoy mate!

  9. Wonderful post on Nantucket! Your table is beautiful! Love the flowers in the baskets, too!

  10. I love it Sarah!
    That table is perfect, those little plates are so charming and so is the flatware! Great Post, great table, great food!!

  11. Sarah another interesting post. I've a friend who has made some Nantucket baskets for me. But only when she was on nantucket as she says that is the only time they are true Nantucket baskets. I treasure them.

    It's nice how you incorporated the faience and your new flatware into the setting. Of course the flowers are stunning!!

  12. Your table scape is beautiful. I'm a sucker for baskets, I love all kinds. I've always heard of Nantucket but never had a desire to go. This post may make me rethink that.

  13. Sarah, I have always wanted to visit Nantucket. Thank you! I was cruising along, truly enjoying every single picture- just beautiful!!! I was thinking about how creative and talented you are and how much I love clam chowder... and then I saw her! Your Mermaid!! She is beautiful. Is she a Nantucket Mermaid? I would love to put her on our Mermaids of the Lake MerArt Gallery. It is on our e-zine, not the blog. Let me know if I can and will tell our readers where she came from. Thank you for sharing the recipe for your clam showder too. Oh, and your flatware is amazing. Congrats.

    Mermaid Debbie

  14. Oh Sarah! You have the prrettiest tableware and accessories! I love the plates and the S & P holder and the Spodes. Everything is so pretty and you set the nicest table....Christine

  15. Beautiful! I so love that tureen and that flatware!!! Lucky you for winning the flatware! I have a post tomorrow about what I won from Designs by Gollum!

  16. What a delightful trip to Nantucket~ from the baskets to the scrimshaw and Nantucket china! Beautiful details~ love the Quimper bowl :-)

  17. I love the chowder bowls, the serving tray, and tureen and the flatware is awesome!
    Great table, I'd love to join you for lunch!
    Blessings Beth

  18. I was up late last night to write this post, and this morning noticed that I mistakenly wrote that the Nantucket china was by Spode. It is produced by Wedgwood. Sorry Mrs. Matlock. I know I shouldn't wait till the last minute to do my homework.

  19. Girls Raised In Texas know 'How To Put On A SPREAD'. I think you have just created a new place in Texas...Nantucket,Texas. I like the sound of that, and I loved every bit of this Clam Dunk Post! Your photos, history inserts, and presentation are Better Homes worthy. I especially enjoyed the Scrimshaw pieces. I have an artist friend in West Texas who is a jeweler who does scrimshaw. Such detail and a story to tell in each piece. Thanks for the ClamChowder recipe...Sue

  20. Nantucket is one of those places that has always intrigued me - I'd love to visit. Your table setting hits just the right note of homey/elegant/nautical and I'm sure we'd all like to be invited for some chowder.

  21. Good Morning Sarah!

    I was in earlier but got side-tracked over on Gollum's blog...LOL it's great!

    I love all the flowers. Thank your neighbor for us!

    One of my fantasy trips is to go to the very end of Maine and travel all the way down the New England Coast. I think that would be delightful and so many places to see! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will certainly try it!

    Have a great week.

  22. Thanks for taking me to a place that I can only imagine. You've set a beautiful table and I can almost smell the chowder!

  23. Hi Sarah, thank you for your excellent report about Nantucket and its culture. It's so exiting to see all those nice things your brought from there. And the adds so perfect your Quimper Dishes. Its amazing that you have fount the same sailor as figurine like the one on the dishes. Makes me feeling on the sea, yes, I just can feel a light and fresh breeze of the sea.
    Greetings, Johanna

  24. Very pretty - you did a great job. Really like those baskets. Congratulations on winning the flatware.

  25. i love the silverware - great tablescape :D

  26. Love your baskets full of pretty flowers.

  27. I would love to have Clam Chowder for lunch with you on Nantucket!

    Beautiful post...

  28. Sarah, your table looks just perfect. And, the clam chowder sounds fantastic. My husband is a "clam-chowder-holic".

  29. Oh so pretty. I've never been to Nantucket, but it's definately on my list.

    - The Tablescaper

  30. Congrats for the wins and I really adore the tureen, Lady?

    That's amazing beautiful!

    Have a great day...

  31. You have some of the most amazing pieces. I would love to eat some clam chowder someday in Nantucket. So much history for such a small place. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Beautiful tablescape ... our pieces especially the baskets are gorgeous! and your recipe sounds yummy, i will be giving it a try!

  33. Altogether lovely! The tureen is just spectacular, and I love the napkin(s) you've set under the soup bowls. They almost look double-sided, with red and the black and white gingham. Such a pretty tablesetting!

  34. It was lovely to have lunch with you! Clam chowder is probably my top soup, fighting with french onion of course. I ADORE those baskets. I'm a recovering Longaberger addict who appreciates the craftsmanship of basket making very much, especially after I made my own basket. Thanks for sharing your treasures with us.

  35. Being a native New Englander, it is so nice to see a little bit of it in a the Quimper soup bowls.

  36. I love the baskets. And basketweave design on the plates and tureen. So summery!

  37. Oh what a lovely, lovely post.

    I was delighted to see you had won the silverware giveaway. It is gorgeous.

    You must still be smiling.

    Your tablesetting and your recipe are really Nifty.

    Thank you for this little vacation on my stop here from Alphabe-Thursday's letter "N"!


  38. I'd love to come to your house. All those Nantucket baskets are wonderful. I love the tureen. I love everything!!!

  39. Your posts are one of my favorites! I love how you tie all those elements into a theme and it is always so informative and entertaining! Thank you for always having such a great post!

  40. Thank you SO much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment!

  41. Hi Sarah! Oh, your table is so lovely and you have just everything. Loved hearing about Nantucket! Congratulations on winning the lovely flatware!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  42. Sarah, you always have the neatest things! I share your love for Nantucket and Nantucket Basket (I have some pieces of that pattern... isn't it wonderful???), and I adore your Quimper sailor plate. And your baskets are neat as is the flatware you won from Gollum. It's SO great with that pattern.

    Sending you warm hugs across the miles. I've still working on the house in St. A and will be back when the men finish. I took a break to blog today and came home to be on my computer. Miss you!


    Sheila :-)

  43. Love your Quimper, the beautiful tureen, and the baskets. The clam chowder sounds delicious, too.

  44. Living by the ocean, along the Eastern seaboard all of my life, I love your Nautical themed tablescape this week!..,Every detail is perfect!

  45. Unbelievable post! I live in AZ so my proximity to water is quite limited. Thank you for the insightful narrative about the sea and Nantucket. Great job.

  46. Everything is so lovely, Sarah! Thanks for the introduction to lightship the design! And of course, I love the Quimper touches you have added! Your recipe looks yummy and your friends flowers add such a nice breath of spring! Have a wonderful weekend...hugs...Debbie's your hubby?

  47. Having a nautical dining room and kitchen in my own home, I really appreciated your sharing what you have. I do love the bone scrimshaw!! That's amazing. And now I must ask....when is the clam chowder gonna be ready? I'm so there!!!

    I've been a domestic goddess this week ...making new SOUTHWEST CURTAIN TIE-BACKS Stop by for a visit and viewing if you can find time! Have a great weekend.

  48. Oh how I love that checked basket tray, just gorgeous and all of the other baskets you have plus the scrimshaw. Your mix of dishes and and all your accessories is just perfect. Great tablescape. Hugs, Marty

  49. Oh, your tablescape is wonderful! Thanks for telling us about Nantucket. Love your carved boxes, baskets, and mermaid. So beautiful.

  50. What a wonderful lunch table you've set. I love clam chowder and will have to try your recipe. The tureen is just gorgeous!

  51. You set such a lovely table and my mouth is watering for a taste of that fabulous clam chowder.

  52. Hi Sarah,

    What a lovely post. I love Nantuket. It is such a beautiful place and holds such special family memories. Love your soup bowls, perfect for chowder. The entire table setting is coordinated so perfectly. I would love to collect the light house baskets. My mother had one with a scrimshaw on the top and she used it as a handbag. Enjoyed my visit so much.

  53. the lightship baskets and the flatware are my favorites...Nantucket is a beautiful place.....

  54. Sarah it's your post is so beautiful. From the tureen to the place setting to the baskets and flower arrangements. THe flatware is absolutely gorgeous! What a unique design, you must have been thrilled. Designs by Gollum is a beautiful site. And I have appreciated her stopping by my site a couple of times and leaving really nice comments.
    When I think of Nantucket I picture a beach house with a dark overcast sky with a storm ready to roll in. And the house would be situated just back from the sand surrounded by tall grass blowing. Your Clam Chowder would be just the perfect meal to go with the little picture I have in my mind!! LOL!!
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I so love coming by your site for a visit! Take care...Sherri : )

  55. there once was a man from nantucket....
    it is on my travel wish list..thanks for the charming little glimpse

  56. Sarah-I have always wanted to visit this area and you have made it sound even more appealing. The info on scrimshaw is so interesting--I have heard of it, but know little about it. Thanks for a FULL and interesting post,pictures, and recipe

  57. What a lovely table. The chowder sounds delicious. I have only visited Nantucket in books but would love to really visit one day. Congratulations on your gift. I know you will enjoy it for years. Stella

  58. You have the most beautiful things and your taste and style for putting them together is just fabulous!! My sister lives in Boston and brought all of us those lovely Nantucket Lightship Baskets. They are really terrific!!
    Thank you for sharing and brightening my day xOxO Nerina

  59. I would love to visit Nantucket one day! I love your N post!

    I also love your great flatware form Michael Lee! Looks great with your beautiful table ware.

    Best wishes,

  60. Your baskets are just beautiful. You always do your homework and give out so much information about your subjects. Thank you!

  61. Oh Sarah, I don't even know where to begin, since I loved everything in this post! I would look at a photo and say to myself, "oh, I love that". Then I would scroll to the next photo and say the same thing again! Of course, you know how much I love your Quimper pieces. I've never seen a little man to serve s&p; I love him! Those plates are incredible. What beautiful scrimshaw-another fav of mine. If I had all of these treasures, this would have been a Favorite Things post of mine (except the photography would not have been as well done). This was beautifully put together and had such interesting information. Thank you so much for linking this wonderful post to Favorite Things. laurie

  62. I forgot to congratulate you on your win! You lucky girl! laurie

  63. Loved everything you displayed here Sarah.................and with Summer coming Nantucket is a lovely place to visit.

    The flatware is really different, I love its handcrafted simplicity. The baskets are beauties - have to admit I'd not seen the tall ones before, they are striking with those beautiful flowers.

    The little salt and pepper man is delightful - very unusual.

  64. What a wonderful post, Sarah! The tureen is just perfect. I have a few Nantucket basket lamps..
    Your new flatware is wonderful, congratulations...
    Such pretty plates..well everything looks beautiful.
    We used to vacation on Cape cod every year. Where I live now in Southampton reminds me of the Cape, with a little less traffic!

  65. This was wonderful! I always enjoy your creations!


  66. I love this post! So many wonderful images and very interesting info! Hope your week is great, Sarah. ~ Angela

  67. Another great post. Beautiful tablescape. Great Scrimshaw. Didn't realize they used synthetic "bone" these days. Nice remedy for the sticker shock of course. :-)


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