The first set of cloth napkins I can remember owning were a cream-colored pair given to me as a gift. They were lovely out of the box, but didn't stay lovely long. It only took a couple saucy dinners and a few lazy loads of laundry to relegate them to the back of my linen closet. Dingy, stained white napkins are just too sad.
After this I was off cloth napkins for a few years, convinced they were too fussy for regular use. But then one day six years ago, while browsing Sur La Table and feeling peckish, I bought a pair of colorful, patterned cloth napkins. What had I done? It turns out I'd discovered the secret to using cloth napkins at home.