A LATE WINTER’S LUNCH

Spode flower plates + anemones + Deborah Madison’s Black Rice with Mixed Beets Salad

I fell hard for these vintage Spode plates while antiquing in Three Oaks, Michigan last fall … but in a rare move, I reined in my impetuousness and did not buy them. Thanksgiving was around the corner and another set of plates by Wedgwood—equally beautiful but decidedly autumnal in a mustard, brown, and aubergine palette—felt like the better choice. So I left with those, reminding myself that I have almost as many floral motif plates as I do striped shirts and sweaters. But I could not stop thinking of the Spode beauties, with their modern feeling, oversized florals and simple rims, each depicting a different flower.

When I reached out to the shop last month—desperate for a dose of color and the return of spring settings—I was thrilled that the set of eight plates was still available.

I’d been itching to use them since they arrived, and discovering the gorgeous variegated anemones from M on the Square in Lake Forest (that perfectly echoed the above anemone plate in the foreground) provided the perfect excuse.

Black Rice with Mixed Beets, Their Greens, Avocado, Feta, and Pomegranate Seeds in a favorite antique ironstone bowl from The Polohouse.

I invited my sister, Kathy, to lunch, preparing Deborah Madison’s Black Rice with Mixed Beets, Their Greens, Avocado, Feta, and Pomegranate Seeds from her 2017 cookbook, In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes. Though it takes a bit of time to prepare, it is a recipe worth making. My cook’s notes are (a) do not leave out or skimp on the pomegranate seeds—their sweet, acidic pop provides wonderful contrast to the salty feta and soft beets and avocado, and (b) the half black rice / half beluga lentil option adds another layer of texture and a satiating protein boost. And it goes without saying that this colorful salad looked beautiful on the plates.

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