Posts Tagged "underwear"

The Rule of the Seven Soup Bowls

Dear Kid,

As has been pointed out more than once (generally by me), you have a very smart mother.

So when it comes to having company, I get them to help.Things you don't know about the 7 kinds of soup bowls.

And when it comes to serving soup at a formal dinner, I serve in the kitchen and allow (and by “allow” I mean conscript) guests to deliver filled bowls to the table.

Recently a Smart Young Man (who we shall hereafter refer to as SYM) was cheerfully helping (and by cheerfully, I do in this case mean cheerfully) and asked me why soup bowls have rims and why someone would design a fancy soup bowl that is the configuration most likely to spill. SYM may go on to be an engineer—I’m fairly certain he will not be a fashion designer if he continues to ask practical questions like that.

Since I adore answering interesting questions, I looked it up. (My original answer “because that’s the type of bowl that came with the china” didn’t seem sufficient.)

Guess what? My original answer is pretty darn close.

But because I’m that kind of mom, I’m filling in the blanks with lots of interesting soup bowl trivia.

And if that doesn’t make you happy, you should talk to the SYM who inspired this blog.

In general, the texture and temperature of the soup is what determines what kind of bowl should be used. For example, think about French Onion soup which is served in a lug soup bowl (if you want to know what a “lug soup bowl” is think about French Onion soup).

If you are ever going to appear on Jeopardy! you should probably be aware that there are 7 different kinds of soup bowls. (Not counting whatever kinds were used in The Tale of Despereaux.)

The exception to the texture/temperature rule is The Formal Meal at which one should only use the aforementioned easily spill-able soup plate. And soup plates always have rims. I repeat: Always. No one knows why. They just do. Let me know if your Foods teacher has anything useful to say on the subject.

The coupe soup (and isn’t that fun to say) bowl is a saucer-shaped bowl used only for informal dining. Because apparently one doesn’t want to spill on one’s informal clothes. I’m not saying it makes sense. The coupe soup bowl is also used when overthrowing governments.

The soup-cereal bowl is also used only at informal meals. This bowl is also known (at least in some circles) as the Oatmeal Bowl. Sometimes has a rim; sometimes is rimless. It’s the wild child of soup bowls.

The covered soup bowl is useful if your kitchen is several kilometers from the dining room. It is (stick with me now) a soup bowl with a cover. If you are ever served such a thing, the correct etiquette is to remove the lid (unless the waiter does it for you in which case you are not to wrestle it away from him) and place said lid, rim side down, on the side of the underplate (which I’ll get to momentarily). Then, before the soup course is cleared, you should be sure to replace the cover.

Do not ask me why one would have a waiter and a removable cover at anything other than a formal meal because frankly I don’t have a clue.

Moving along to number 6 (go count if you don’t believe me), we have the cream soup bowl (with saucer). The cream soup bowl (with saucer) is used to serve pureed and cream-based soups. It is bigger than the bouillon cup (and saucer) which is used to serve clear soups.

Manners Alert!

If you find yourself at an event where you are served clear soup in a bouillon cup (on its saucer), you must know that you are either to use a spoon or to drink from the cup but never, oh never, alternate because that’s just plain tacky.

A final note. Underplates are placed (are you still with me?) under the bowl of soup to help protect the table from heat and spillage. Also it looks better. Even bowls with saucers, go on an underplate. In my house, the underplate is just called a plate. But from now on maybe I’ll call it George.

You will note that the seven kinds of soup bowls can all be washed and therefore the bread bowl (yum) is not officially considered a type of soup bowl. Which I also don’t entirely understand.

Then there are bowls for miso soup and pho and all sorts of other things.

If I were you, I’d be very careful about answering soup bowl questions on Jeopardy!

Furthermore, this has nothing to do with the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl. I’ll have to write another blog about the connection. Check back.

See what happens when you ask a question?

Love, Mom

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Seven Tips for Dressing Well and Looking Your Best

Wear Clothes That FIt DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Yesterday, after I spent half the day trying to sleep off a massive migraine, Pi and I went shopping for a homecoming dress.

Based on years of being me, and being that kind of mom, I have these fashion tips to share. They may sound like they are geared to homecoming dress shopping, but really they are geared to anyone who wears clothes.


If It Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Buy It

There are few things less attractive than a great piece of clothing in the wrong size. Ok, there are lots of things that are less attractive, but the point is that clothing should fit. Ignore the tags with the sizes on them except as a general guideline for finding things to try on. Every designer thinks about sizes differently, every manufacturer cuts and sews a little differently, and even the same garment in the same size can be very different depending on where it was in the stack of fabric being cut. You look a zillion times better in something that fits than you do in something that doesn’t fit but has a tag with a size number you really like on it.

This goes double for shoes, even if you think you’ll have them off most of the evening.

Speaking of Shoes

If you can’t walk in them, don’t buy them. I don’t mean can you successful negotiate a strip of floor without falling face first on the carpet in the shoe store (although that should be a pretty good hint). I mean if you can’t look graceful, you need to practice (a lot) or buy different shoes. Prancing along saying “ooch ouch eech–but they look great, right” is not pretty. Looking like a galloping galloot or a new born colt is not sexy. Not even a little bit. So unless you plan to be teleported to a chair, spend the entire night sitting in it waiting for people to admire your shoes, and then be teleported home, rethink the footwear.

Undergarments Are Not Meant to Be Seen

Unless you are a mega star in which case undergarments are still not meant to be seen but you get paid gobs of money so what do you care? Pull up your pants (we don’t want to know if your boxers have bunnies on them), figure out how to cover your bra, and in general show off you and your clothes not your undies. The world will thank you. In several years you’ll be smart enough to thank your younger self.

Also, if the dress is so short or so tight we know what color your underwear is—put on something else.

Clothes and Costumes Are Not the Same

If your first reaction is “Oh, Kiss Of the Spider Woman” (we really said that yesterday) this is not a garment for you. If you want to wear costumes, join the drama club, wait for Halloween, or find a Civil War Reenactment group. Otherwise, just don’t.

Stand Up Straight

Very few of us constantly have the posture of a professional pianist, but it’s amazing how much better clothes look when you don’t slouch.

Your Body Is Not Going to Change in the Next Week

If it doesn’t fit well in the store, I promise it will not fit well in a week at home. If you’re short-waisted in the store and the dress requires a long waist to look good, it’s not going to work any better a week from now. If a skirt is too long/short/tight in the hips in the store, it’s going to be that way at home (with the possible exception of the too long part if you can find the time to hem it). Just because you love it on the hanger does not mean it is worth spending money on if it’s not right for you. Unless you plan to wear something else and carry this garment around on a hanger all evening.

Same thing for skin tone. If the color is bad for you in the dressing room, it will be bad in other places too. Go find something in a color that complements you in lots of different lighting situations.


Seriously. Smile and enjoy yourself. It’s a little cliché but your smile is your best accessory as long as you brush your teeth (do not roll your eyes at me—it’s true). Don’t try to be something that you’re not—especially on a special occasion. I’m not saying don’t dress up. But if you generally only wear a little makeup, don’t pack it on with a trowel for one evening. If you don’t wear a lot of jewelry on a regular basis, don’t go for a necklace, tie clip, shirt studs, cuff links, pinky ring, and rhinestone studded belt. In fact, you might want to think twice about the pinky ring no matter what.

Of course, sending your mom a quick text to say ‘I love you’ is also another Most Excellent way to look good.

Love, Mom

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