Celebrate Christmas the Scandinavian way
Add a little Nordic flavor to your holiday celebration with "Swedish Christmas Traditions: A Smorgasbord of Scandinavian Recipes, Crafts, and Other Holiday Delights."
In the book, Swedish interior designer and TV personality Ernst Kirchsteiger offers his signature twist on the tastes and sights of a traditional holiday celebration in his homeland. He includes ideas for simple decorations, elegant flower arrangements and Christmas goodies -- including, of course, meatballs, glogg and three herring dishes.
They're interspersed with Kirchsteiger's thoughts about the holidays, including his focus on people rather than perfection and his preference for simple, natural decorating elements.
"Swedish Christmas Traditions" is published by Skyhorse Publishing and is priced at $19.95 in hardcover.
Litter Kwitter may break cat's litter-box habit
A new training aid can help your cat break the litter-box habit -- assuming you're comfortable sharing your toilet with your feline friend.
Litter Kwitter is a three-step system designed to potty train your pet. The system eases a cat from litter box to toilet seat, teaching it to balance and go.
Training can take eight weeks or more, depending on the cat's demeanor.
Litter Kwitter sells for about $59 at some pet stores and www.litterkwitter.com.
Now if it would just train the cat to flush.
If you're setting a table, may as well do it right
What's the proper way to set a table?
While the standard place setting has the knife and spoon on the right and the fork on the left, it's perfectly acceptable to set a place backward for a left-hander, according to Suzanne von Drachenfels, an expert on table setting and etiquette who wrote the book "The Art of the Table" (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
The knife has traditionally gone on the right because strength is needed to cut meat, and for most people, that's their dominant hand.
Less strength is required for spearing with a fork, so that utensil went on the left side.
The spoon ended up on the right to avoid crowding, because the left side is often set with two or more forks.
The cutting edge of the knife should always face the plate. That's a little civility that goes back to the Middle Ages, when weapons doubled as eating utensils. Diners would turn the blade toward the plate to signify they wouldn't be using the knife for a quick attack against one of the other guests.
-- Standard-Examiner wire services