While strolling the charming streets of Charleston, I met the author of the alluring book, The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits. I’m a sucker for entertaining and etiquette books, so I purchased it and read the entire book on my plane ride home. It’s one of the best home/lifestyle books I’ve read in recent years. It was written by two hostesses, Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault (aka the Deans), who created a tiny academy in the South, teaching students how to successfully run a household, cook, and entertain with grace and modern day etiquette. The book is about the lessons they’ve learned from experiences in running their homes for 25 years and raising 6 kids between the both of them. They share tips on how to enjoy the home you live in, make everyday cooking a habit and overall how to live a charming life. The ladies also share some of their favorite recipes and write about the importance of sitting down at the dinner table with your family at the end of the day. What a great concept right?! ; ) For me, it was a great reminder of how the simple pleasures in life can be the most satisfying, how entertaining for family and friends is more than just cooking a 5 course meal and how I need to slow down to make sure my family and I are living a gracious lifestyle. It’s so easy to get caught up in the race! Below are just a few of my favorite quotes and lessons from the book. I had so many more but I suggest buying it for yourself to get the full scoop! Stay charming!
“One of the best kept secrets of a well-runned home is the role everyday cooking plays in anchoring a family”
When you’re a guest writing a thank you note, give a breakdown of what you enjoyed about the party as well. The feedback helps the host with future parties.
The Deans believe that Sunday is the only day you can officially host a brunch. Every other day would be considered a luncheon. Also, a brunch or luncheon is great for out-of-town guests so they can see a local’s home, but are able to try a trendy restaurant for dinner.
“The rules of etiquette exist for the same purpose as any other etiquette rule – to make people feel comfortable.”
“A good habit can become permanent after seventeen consecutive days of strict adherence.”
Enlist the help of your children! They can clean, wash vegetables, etc. Over the age of 12 they can even cook one meal a night. And cook a meal from your family travels to transport you back into fun times you’ve all had together. The Deans wrote, “On a cold winter night, we can now serve orange chicken, coconut rice and a rum drink.”
A good recipe is one that does not have processed ingredients, doesn’t take up more than one page and has readily available ingredients.
First photo via Sugar and Charm, second photo via Charleston Magazine.