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And so easy to make: Dijon Mustard, sea salt, champagne vinegar, and olive oil. You know me. I love to turn even the simplest things into a conversation. One easy topic that has a great and colorful history: anything and everything about the culinary arts. In fact, each major culture from all over the planet has their own story about how a certain dish came to be or how a particular recipe started. Interestingly, there is actually a long and lovely history of salad dressings. Seriously! Approximately 4,000 years ago, Babylonians may have been the first in Western Civilization to mix oil and vinegar for salads. Egyptians picked up the idea and added spices to the mix. After that, salad dressing became a standard for nobility with chefs from different houses competing for the most extravagant and delicious ones. The kitchens of every royal court from Italy to the English…

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“Above the Salt” Idea: Entertain guests like a pro with great salt cellars for your table. Do you know someone who can really throw a fabulous gathering no matter how large or small? I have to say I’ve been lucky enough to know some party planning geniuses and, to be honest, I spend a lot of time paying attention to them – what they do and how they get it done. What I’m describing here is the subtle art of home entertaining. Creating an intimate setting where the drinks are flowing, the food is excellent, and the music sounds fabulous, but at the very heart of the party is the conversation: electric, happy, and memorable. THAT’s the key, right there: the trigger for a great conversation. Without it, you could host a party with a five-star magician as the main entertainment, and still watch it flop. I know. I’ve seen…

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What are the qualities that sets one coffee mug apart from all the others? Ever notice how we collect coffee mugs? And we all have different reasons not just for accumulating them but also for keeping them. I have a friend who has an embarrassingly large collection of Disney mugs. A few of them are rare and pricey (for coffee mugs) on the collector market. Her favorite is a mug she got when she was a kid in the 1960s. It has a 3D raised image of the castle and the handle looks like a tree limb. She said she stopped using it when she found out that it is considered “extremely rare” and sells for $200 in auctions. One friend collects mugs as she and her husband travel around the country and Europe. Another friend collects mugs with clever slogans and movie quotes. Her favorite is a black mug…

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Sophisticated Living
in Beverly Hills