<b>It's a Southern thing: life is a party</b> Southerners are known for many things gentle accents, salty food, devotion to football but it's hospitality that should be at the top of the list. In the South, it's all about good eating and good times, and wherever two or more natives are gathered, there's bound to be a party. We may talk your ear off, tell stories that last a half hour or more, but we're going to feed you and we're certainly going to ensure that our (ahem) eccentricities entertain you.

In <b>Puttin' on the Grits: A Guide to Southern Entertaining</b>, Deborah Ford aims to show that "Life is a joy, no matter what problems we face, and celebrating in the South is about keeping that joy alive." It doesn't matter how fancy the food or humble the setting: in the South, home, heritage, family and friends are the true catalysts for entertaining. Ford's wish is to share this with today's modern world, a place and time that often moves too fast for tradition.

Author of the previous bestseller <i>The Grits (Girls Raised In The South) Guide to Life</i>, Ford espouses the principle of "elegant simplicity," the well-mannered woman now called a "Pearl Girl." With advice that is surprisingly practical and endearingly encouraging, she provides so many anecdotes, recipes, reminders, definitions, tips, to-do lists and lists of to-do lists that even the most fearful of hostesses will walk away feeling confident. Weddings, dinners, evenings both simple and fancy will no longer intimidate. In Ford's eyes, "Entertaining in the South is about making everyone feel welcome," and it's this, perhaps, which proves to be the greatest Southern tradition of all.

<i>Lacey Galbraith received her M.F.

A. from the University of Mississippi and lives in Nashville. Her fear of hostessing still sometimes leaves her feeling a little less than Southern.</i>

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