Nestled deep in the South is a tiny Academy that teaches classes in the most important subject in the world:
The Domestic Arts.
The Academy’s unique curriculum includes everything from cocktail-party etiquette to business entertaining, dealing with household guests, and cooking for the holidays.
The Deans teach the importance of learning:
HOW TO BUILD A BEAUTIFUL LIFE
"The Academy's main lecture hall is the kitchen, because in our lives, as well as yours, this room is the beating heart of the house."
The Deans cover kitchen basics, etiquette, and entertaining and encourage gracious living for everyone.
- KITCHEN BASICS
"Using your kitchen to create home-cooked meals will result in a healthier and happier life."
BLANCH - Who among us isn't improved by a quick plunge in a hot tub?
BRAISE - Still waters run deep. Sometimes it takes time and patience to coax the best out of a tough nut.
BRINE - A little work on the front end can create extraordinary results on the back end.
FRY - Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Beware, once your've mastered this art, you might not want to eat any other way.
POACH - For those with a delicate constitution, a leisurely soak in an herb-infused broth is what's needed to get table-ready.
RISE - Only Superman himself will be able to jump over these creations in a single bound once they have risen to their full height. Be patient.
SAUTE - The technique just sounds delicious.
SEAR - Every caveman knew that high heat creates the crunchiest crust contrasted with the rarest insides. Go ahead and satisfy your inner beast.
"If you know why or how things are supposed to be done, then you will feel more comfortable changing or ignoring what does not suit you."
SETTING THE TABLE
The rules of setting the table exist for the same purpose as any other etiquette rules - to make people feel comfortable.
Placement (of your guests) is an art form that comes naturally to some, but can be learned by all. First and foremost, you need to tell your guests where to sit.
Before the guests arrive, get out a piece of paper and write a list of all the men's names in one column and the women's names in another. Draw a diagram of your table and seating spots, designating one line for each guest. Now fill in the lines.
As for the proper placement of your tableware, see our tips on "how to set the perfect table" to learn more.
"Entertaining at home improves your life in ways that you cannot even imagine."
THE PERFECT HOSTESS GIFT
When you arrive...
A bottle of wine smacks of a regift. Two of the same kind, or an interesting pairing of white and red do not.
If you are going in the direction of a scented candle, tread carefully. Many scents can be off-putting.
A cheese board with a selection of unusual cheeses and crackers is a great gift.
After you leave...
A handwritten note trumps all, but e-mail and text are far better than nothing. An old-fashioned phone call is also appreciated, but it must be before lunch the following day.
Catch a glimpse of the Deans in person talking about their new book...