I have always considered cloth napkins a luxury one encountered at elegant restaurants, and from earliest memory I have used paper napkins at home. Because I can tear through a good-size pile of napkins in a week — and we use a heavy brand that makes fast-food napkins feel like tissue paper — I started rethinking napkin use in terms of conserving resources and reducing trash. This week I bought twelve cotton napkins for $7 at a garage sale, where a small white poodle named Simon greeted me by standing and bouncing on his hind legs as I walked up the drive. (I only mention that because in my youth we owned a black poodle named Simon.)
I used one this morning and liked it immediately. I felt good knowing I was doing better by the planet, and the look and feel of cotton comforted me. I am rethinking my use of paper towels in a similar vein.