Art of Living: The Entertaining Cookbook

Southern Lady’s Best Tables, Recipes & Party Menus


Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography courtesy of John O’Hagan, & Stephanie Welbourne Steele; Styling by Tracey MacMillan Runnion & Beverly Farrington; Recipe Development & Food Styling by Aimee Bishop Lindsey; Produced by Andrea Fanning

Just as the first volume of “The Entertaining Cookbook” has become a treasure for your cookbook collection, Volume 2 promises to be a trusted source you turn to time and again. This keepsake edition, compiled from tried-and-true favorites from the pages of “Southern Lady” magazine, contains complete menu and party ideas as well as some of their best recipes—all designed to ensure success in hosting gatherings grand and small. From inviting appetizers to delicious entrees to showstopping desserts, this volume will help make times shared around the table moments to remember for years to come.

VIP: How does Volume 2 differ from Volume 1 of The Entertaining Cookbook published by Hoffman Media?

Kathleen Whaley: Volume 2, which is a beautiful book, brings readers more of what they love from “Southern Lady”: special menus, beautiful table settings, entertaining ideas, delicious recipes and more. It really gives the readers all the tools they need for hosting special occasions and Southern everyday hospitality as we like to do in the South. The format of the book is  similar to what you find in the original book, but it has different content.

VIP: Describe the new book on entertaining, which was published this year.

KW: The book has three main sections: Dining At Home, Soiree Away and Best Recipes. The book includes everyday classics as well as seasonal menus to entertain friends and family throughout the year.

In the Dining at Home section you’ll find dinner parties and occasions that are ideal for hosting in your home in your dining room or another favorite place where you like to entertain.

In the chapter entitled Soirees Away we like the idea of being transported somewhere. You may want to serve a meal or refreshments garden side or port side. The menus and party ideas will take you somewhere else, maybe with a global influence. You might serve on your favorite dockside location in Charleston. It is a fun way to take a different look at entertaining.

Sometimes we get set on serving in our dining room and using pieces we are accustomed to work with, serving our favorite recipes and there is certainly a place for that. Hopefully this Soiree Away chapter will inspire readers to do something creative, perhaps try a menu like Super Club Fiesta or Seaside Fare, a Charleston-based seaside meal. It’s nice to bring something new to the table.

The last section of the book entitled Best Recipes gives readers more of a cookbook format where readers may mix and match recipes to create their own favorite menus.

VIP: Do you have favorite recipes, especially favorites for the holiday season?

KW: The chapter entitled “Christmas Sparkle” features a Crème Brûlée cheesecake that is one of my personal favorites. I have prepared this dessert several times for entertaining. It has a very impressive presentation, but it is actually quite doable. It is not so difficult to make. It is not necessarily a beginner recipe, but it’s not too far from that especially if you have ever made a cheesecake. You may prepare the topping with a kitchen torch, then garnish the top with sugared fresh raspberries. It really creates a nice presentation if you are looking for a show stopping presentation for a holiday meal. But if you don’t want to brulee the cheesecake you could finish it off with the sugared raspberries and still serve a really nice dessert. Serve coffee to the adults and  hot cocoa for the children if there are any present. For a more festive approach for Christmas or a nice dinner, champagne would be appropriate to serve with this cheesecake. Christmas is a nice time to use Grandmother’s china and even nice serving pieces.

VIP: Do you think some of the younger couples are more casual in their approach to entertaining as opposed to our generation?

KW: I think you see a mix. Some are being practical and registering for pieces they truly will use. They want to hold onto their grandmother’s or mother’s pieces. They are also trying to think about what their needs are vs. what might be passed down to them.

The following are some of the recipes in this book that I would like to try this holiday season and winter. Remember, If you want to tweak a recipe, it’s a great avenue to explore your own creativity. Happy cooking! — Lyda Kay

Holiday Beverages: Hot Dulce de Leche and Chai Egg Nog Punch on p. 138 are good winter beverages

New Year’s Eve Recipe & Super Bowl Party: Corn and Bacon Dip on p. 108 in the Soiree Away chapter

New Year’s Day: Sausage and White Bean Soup, Old-Fashioned Turnip Greens on p. 187 and Hoppin’ John Cornbread pm on p. 147
Winter Dishes: Spicy Black Beans on p. 111 are good any time but especially in the winter, and they are so healthy. Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole on p. 175 are a staff favorite at Southern Lady Magazine; a good dish to take to a friend who is ill or needs a pick-me-up.

VIP: What new entertaining trends, if any, are you seeing at Hoffman Media?

KW: I  see people moving back to placing more importance on the seasonality allowing their menus and tablescapes to be driven by the season, incorporating fresh vegetables and specialty items from the Farmers’ Market or specialty items from grocery stores and letting those foods shape the direction of your entertaining. It brings the fun back into entertaining!

During the holiday season, especially in the South, we tend to prepare our tried and true favorite recipes that have been passed down to us. But we are starting to see hosts try something new. You might fill out the menu mostly with family favorites but also bring something new to the table. A lot of people don’t have the time and/or money to prepare fancy or new dishes on a regular basis, but during the holidays they sometimes feel like they can spend more money on ingredients or try a more involved recipe. I think it’s good for people to have that play in the kitchen and in the dining room that might shake up the norm. You can still have your Christmas Eve or Day dinner, but prepare a Feliz Navidad party, which is a bit more casual take on Christmas and serve Mexican-inspired dishes. Have fun with it! Or on New Year’s Eve or Day ask your guests to bring a dish. Open up the possibilities of what you can do rather than being so focused on that one traditional family meal.

In the chapter entitled “Christmas Sparkle” in terms of the décor, we played up the reds and golds at Christmas time, paired beautiful roses with tulips  with some berries mixed in, used lovely china and crystal and decorated a beautiful tree with packages beneath the tree. For the menu we played on that traditional look, but we gave it a little bit of a fresh updated spin. For the menu we suggest a standing rib roast with a rich mushroom sauce that goes with it, a veggie side of roasted carrots in the rainbow colors, which brings a nice wash of color to a holiday table and mashed potatoes with Parmesan and truffle oil, which brings a different flavor, and some sautéed kale rounds out the menu, providing some vegetables and color. Instead of serving the kale fresh, saute and cook it with sugars and spices. It is a nice addition to the holiday plate and it’s delicious and different from the expected green beans, broccoli or asparagus.



VIP: There is not a chapter in this book on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. So I chose to feature “Putting on the Ritz” theme, which is creative and distinctive with the lovely lilac stemware and the beautiful floral arrangements that bring sparkle to the table. The tall vase of flowers on the buffet is very elegant. The menu includes The Charleston beverage, which is the same color as the shrimp. Certainly a host or hostess could use this theme any time of the year.

KW: This would be a fun take on a New Year’s Day! It is inspired by The Great Gatsby and menu items are named accordingly. It has sparkle and glamour and is a classic way to think about New Year’s. A tall vase with a single variety of flower like the hydrangeas used on the buffet in our book is a really easy way to create some impact and grandeur. You don’t have to be a flower expert. Also, there are smaller versions of the flowers in smaller goblets and cups, which keeps the scale on the table conducive to entertaining and adds some color.

The menu features The Charleston and The Flapper beverages along with Strip Streaks with Lobster Newburg Sauce, a Roaring Twenties Caesar Salad, Red Potatoes, Speakeasy Shrimp with Lindy Hoppin’ John Cocktail Relish (quite appropriate for New Year’s) and Jazz Age Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce. These are clever menu names for New Year’s.

What to Know

To purchase the Entertaining Cookbook: Southern Lady’s Best Tables, Recipes & Party Menus: Volume 2 go to the online store: