I bought these nesting bowls on ebay.

They were made in France by Vallauris, probably in the 1950s.

Several years ago I found a Vallauris dish at an estate sale, and have been buying pieces wherever I can find them.  I love the rustic, aged look of the pottery.

You’ll notice that these nesting dishes are empty.  Like my nest.  Last week we took my son — my youngest child, my backup kid — to college.  I’d been dreading the thought of being an empty-nester for the better part of the last year, and as the day arrived, I realized it wasn’t so much like ripping off a band-aid, but more like ripping out staples after open-heart surgery.  With a screwdriver.

Jasper had a hard time saying good-bye too:

My son’s dorm set-up is something I could only have dreamed about when I was in college.  He shares an on-campus apartment with a roommate.  They each have their own bedroom, and share a living room, bathroom, and kitchenette.  I had a teeny tiny room that I shared with a roommate (our beds were about 6 feet apart), and a community bathroom down the hall, where I would lug my bucket o’ toiletries and hope there was an empty shower stall.  He’s got a full-size refrigerator — not like the crappy little dorm fridges we rented that didn’t hold much more than a six-pack and some leftover pizza.  There’s free washers and dryers, a dining hall that’s open until 10:00 p.m. daily, free soda refills for eternity with purchase of a keeper cup, and free cable.

My son is blessed to have a wonderful roommate, a really nice kid that he went to high school with.  Unlike my first roommate.  I’ll call her Robyn (because that was her name).  Upon arrival, she announced that she had a “heavy-duty boyfriend,” — you know, like aluminum foil — and proceeded to place a half dozen or so framed photos of her and her heavy-duty boyfriend on her desk.  A few nights later I woke up to some unusual noises, which turned out to be Robyn having sex with someone who was not her heavy-duty boyfriend.  It turned out Robyn was a heavy-duty pig.  After this happened a second time in as many days, I asked her to please let me know when she was planning to have sex in the room and I would leave, which she did.  We quit speaking, and she eventually moved out.  At least that’s one thing my son won’t have to deal with.

Inspired by the empty nesting dishes and my own empty nest, I made something to fill one of the dishes.  Sun dried tomato pesto is an old favorite — my son calls it “deliciousness.”  We love it spread on crostini or crackers as an appetizer, but it’s also good spread over cream cheese, or stirred into pasta.  It’s definitely on the list of things to make when the kids come to visit, which I hope is sooner rather than later.

Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 8-ounce jar oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Olive oil
  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving oil. Place tomatoes, cheese, basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Add enough olive oil to reserved sun dried tomato oil to make ½ cup. With the food processor running, slowly add the oil and process until a smooth paste forms. Transfer to serving container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers or crostini.

This jar from Costco is enough to make two double batches — great for entertaining

It only takes a few minutes to make in the food processor

Deliciousness to fill my empty nest