Spoiler Alert: If you’re on my Christmas list, stop reading because I’m probably giving you Whiskey in a Teacup as a present this year.
Hey. I just read THE BEST book. Can we talk about Reese Witherspoon’s, “Whiskey In a Teacup?” If you girl crush on Reese, then you can stop at the cover which is frame-worthy, right? But get inside, you’ll love it more because it’s like sitting down and “this is your life” talking with her on a porch swing with a glass of tea in your hand, and the ice cubes are tinkling against the mason jar but you can’t hear them over her infectious belly laughs. Yeah, I might have gone there a few times while reading it.
Peel back another layer and this book is sooooooooo much more that just what we all adore about perky, sunshiney, super talented, girl boss, actress of our ages, Reese.
It’s about the South and what makes it so incredibly special. I mean, if you don’t live here, you probably don’t get it. And I know that – I really do. Because my husband — I like to think he affectionately calls me this — my husband calls me a “Yankee” at every turn. Mind you, I was raised in the North, but I moved South as fast as I could, and now I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. Not leaving.
I went to grad school in the South — which was a bit of a culture shock at first. I met and married a southerner and with him came all the Southern ways. I didn’t fully understand them at first (thanks Reese, this book would have been totally fab back in about 1993 when I first met him), but I welcomed and appreciated them, fell head over heals for the traditions, the family values, the tuck in that crazy, the over-the-top you do you-ness of it all, and the glorious story that attaches to every antique like a museum of moments. I love the decorating for holidays larger than your neighbor and the big hair (closer to God) that shockingly, prior to this book, I had not a clue how to hot roll. We just didn’t DO that in Ohio.
This book is chock full of how-to’s and good stuff, like country song play lists for long road trips, and southern slang translations, and how to catch frogs, and why everything should be monogrammed — duh. It has recipes for sweet tea and cheddar biscuits, and menu plans for parties that don’t take a week to prepare, yes you can start with something from a box and no don’t have to find a specialty grocer to find the ingredients. Reese is about the people, not the process, ladies. (Except for the hot rollers, and we covered that already.) And what I wouldn’t give to have spent a barn party with her way back when. She makes growing up in Nashville sound truly magical.
I can’t tell you how many times while I read “Whiskey in a Teacup,” I thought…. “Can I get my 10 year old to read this book?” because I especially love her manners reminders. Hello, can we get a few good graces back in society please? Reese recounts her grandma Dorothea’s sage advice that are simply the foundation of a good upbringing. I’d have been proud to call my granny too. In fact, if all of us had had a dose of Dorothea, I think the world would be a right better place.
“Whiskey in a Teacup” is the perfect balance of Reece and all her charms (I mean, she’s adorbs) + heartfelt Southern tradition (I’m practically giddy to have a derby party now) + recipes (I made her brie for a party right away – it was GREAT) + gorgeous photos (can we talk about her house pah-lees?). I was drawn in by how real it was and yet strikingly beautiful on every page. And don’t go thinking these are all staged photos. She has pictures of actual women — not Hollywood models — in the pages of this book. I LOVE that. I’m such a ridiculous fan of this book, it’s replaced a (previously favorite cookbook) on my cookbook stand in my kitchen, proudly displayed like a badge of Southerness to all who gather in my home.
Thank you Reese, for creating this engaging collection of wit and advice, sharing your story, and reminding us what’s really important in our short lives, what makes memories, and what is so special about living southern.
Some of my favorite picks for “Whiskey in a Teacup” style merch appear below. (affiliate links)