For the thinning ranks of those who enjoy the essay type of writing, these small pieces on the miniscule joys of ""these simple things"" will win considerable praise. The contributors' names include such known stylists as Elizabeth Bowen, Rumer Godden, Aubrey Menen. Men and women, writers, natives of three continents, here view such objects as the teakettle, salt, bread, grass -- or even the lowly coathanger. The approaches vary, some are whimsical, some nostalgic, seriously and objectively historical, some symbolic or mystical -- but all are handled with grace. The essays appeared over the years in House & Garden.