Whiskey in a Teacup

Whiskey in a Teacup

by Reese Witherspoon

Overview: Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.

Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.

Deanna Boe (02/26/19): Quite by accident I recently read two entirely different “cookbooks” by two southern people. You couldn’t have found two “southern” people so completely different if you had tried! Forget the fact one is a female, who just happens to be from a well-to-do family and is now an actress; whereas, the other is a male who was raised in a shack, came up the hard way to become a famous author. Their styles and southern recipes have zero in common. Yes, I have already written a review of the book “The Best Cook in the World….Tales from My Mother’s Table” by Rick Bragg but I just can’t help but compare it to “Whiskey in a Teacup” by Reese Witherspoon.

Witherspoon was born in a “well-to-do” family where they never had to worry about having food on the table; whereas for Bragg’s family it was a constant concern. When you can cook anything that you can find in the super market, no matter the cost, your choices are going to be quite different then those you shot, trap or raise by yourself. Bragg’s book is a “thank you” to his Mother for all she did for him and his brothers, how she achieved it with so little. Whereas Witherspoon’s does tell of her grandmother and mother’s successes, it really is more about her and the accomplishments she has made in her life as an actress. True, you can’t take away from her those achievements, but she had a lot more going for her to get where she did. Bragg had nothing.

The recipes in Bragg’s books all seem to have lard or something similar. They are served up with wonderful stories about how his grandmother learned to cook from his great-grandfather and so indirectly taught his mother. You can simply “hear” the south in his writing. Unfortunately, that is not true in Witherspoon’s book. I mean, come on, where is “cool whip” and “chocolate pudding” southern? I learned that recipe in Iowa! True, there are a few recipes I would like to try in her book, whereas I really can’t say that for Bragg’s; wringing the neck of a chicken, plucking it so you have fresh chicken for dinner really isn’t my choice (although I have seen it done on the farms in Iowa.) Nor do I want to have possum, squirrel, or kill, cut up my own hog to hang in the smoke house to assure I have meat in the winter. Bragg raves about how great pig’s feet taste!

Now to give you an experience of Witherspoon’s cookbook, these will give you a “taste” of the chapters in her book: “The Magic of Sweet Tea,” “Wicker Wallpaper,” “Hot Rollers, Red Lipstick & Sweet Magnolias,” “The Subtle Art of Dinner Parties,” “Why Southern Ladies Love Holidays”…..well you get the idea. In checking out the reviews given her book by other ladies almost everyone simply “loved it” and gave her the highest mark. Unless you are dying to have a pink coffee table book for your living room, I am afraid I have to give this book simply an average grade. There are better “actual” cookbooks out there to be found. And yes, Bragg is an “author” whereas Witherspoon is an “actress.”
Rating: ***

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