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Learn to Party Proper

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Suzanne Pollak (left) and Lee Manigault—pictured at an event where they discussed international fare—penned The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; April 2014; $25). Photographs (book) courtesy of Abrams & (Pollak & Manigault) by Vickie Stone

April 9, 2014

Learn to Party Proper
The Deans debut a primer on etiquette and entertaining

written by Erica Jackson Curran

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.

You can meet the Deans and get a signed copy of their book at two upcoming events:

April 15
Wide Angle Lunch

Enjoy an organic lunch while Manigault and Pollak discuss their new release at the Charleston Library Society, 164 King St. Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. For tickets ($30, $25 CLS member) and information, click here.

May 12
Art With A Twist Lunchtime Lecture: The Art of Entertaining with Domestic Deans Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault 

The Deans share tips and recipes from The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes over lunch at the Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. Monday, noon. For tickets ($30; $20 member) and information, click here.

To read our September 2012 feature on Manigault and Pollak, “Domestic Divas,” click here.