PUTTIN' ON THE GRITS: A Guide to Southern Entertaining

Deborah Ford, Author . Dutton $22.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525-94868-1

Ford, who calls herself a GRIT (Girl Raised In The South), wrote The GRITS Guide to Life , and like that work, this new book is a chatty mix of advice, anecdotes, trivia, jokes, quotes and (a few) recipes—all aimed at explaining and upholding the standards of Southern party giving and party going. Never mind that it's hardly an original topic (witness books by Paula Deen, and Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays's recent Being Dead Is No Excuse ). Ford dives headlong into giving advice on old school Southern hospitality, beginning with suggestions for parties celebrating Southern holidays like Elvis's Birthday and Derby Day. The "Being a Good Hostess" chapter suggests conversation starters and shares stories of famous Southern hostesses. Would-be party givers get hints on planning budgets, guest lists and menus and, on the big day, dealing with last-minute emergencies—from food failures to stain removal ("Rope in husband. Show him the spot. Repeat as necessary"). The "Being a Good Guest" chapter advises on dressing properly, eating an artichoke, figuring out which silverware to use at a formal dinner and writing a thank-you note. Despite the book's attempt at imparting practical information, the narrative's tone is relentlessly sticky-sweet, with all too many silly jokes ("the best way to thaw a turkey... blow in his ear"). Agent, Peter McGuigan at Sanford Greenberger. (On sale Apr. 25)

Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Paperback - 260 pages - 978-0-452-28689-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-305741-3
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!