Today, women aren’t generally expected to be the domestic divas they once were, but locals Lee Manigault and Suzanne Pollak think that’s no reason to stop trying. The self-proclaimed “Deans of Domestic Pursuits” see the home as a living, breathing entity that needs love in order to survive—and back in 2011, they founded an “Academy” to help spread their gospel through fun and festive classes. With the April 15 release of The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes, they now have a primer.
Part cookbook, part lifestyle manual, the book covers everything from how to properly hang a chandelier to how to throw together a cocktail party in under 45 minutes. Wondering where to place your silver iced tea spoons on the table? They can help. Need a recipe for salmon canapés? They’ve got your back. And getting rid of unwanted party guests? They have several tried-and-true techniques for that, too.
Depending on your age and income bracket, parts of the book can feel old-fashioned, but you certainly don’t have to be a wealthy housewife to appreciate their perspective. Among their most practical preachings: the importance of eating meals at home with your family (and using the leftovers), how to properly outfit your kitchen, and how to fairly split up chores among your “staff” (i.e. husband and kids). And while you may or may not need to know how to smoke a whole pig for 100 of your closest friends, you’ll still find plenty of useful tips delivered in the Deans’ signature sassy style.