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Mrs. Whaley Entertains: Advice, Opinions, and 100 Recipes from a Charleston Kitchen Hardcover – January 10, 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Charleston, that slightly starchy though gracious Southern city, seems an unlikely place to have made a heroine of the decidedly unstarchy Emily Whaley. Yet Mrs. Whaley's remarkable garden was a standard stop for many years on the Historic Charleston Foundation's annual garden tour, and Mrs. Whaley (who, despite her gregarious informality, had impeccable Southern bloodlines) was a popular social fixture, having founded the Cotillion, the city's most upscale dancing school. Entertaining was Mrs. Whaley's second-favorite hobby, and Mrs. Whaley Entertains is a slim, delightful collection of family anecdotes and timeless Southern recipes, salted liberally with Mrs. W.'s strong opinions ("Never serve anything to a guest that you haven't made successfully two or three times and made quite totally yours") and abundant good humor ("A good hostess simply wants you to enjoy yourself and won't care a whit if you refuse something as ungodly looking as an oyster"). Emily Whaley died in June 1998; this pleasant guide to Southern hospitality is a fitting memorial. --Barrie Trinkle

Review

"The tone is decidedly gracious and unhurried, and the storytelling is spellbinding." -- Booklist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (January 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565122003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565122000
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed "visiting with" Mrs. Whaley again, although perhaps not as much as in her gardening book. When reading, you feel as if you are sitting in front of her, engaged in listening to stories about Charleston, her past, and her family, and about making guests feel at home. I don't think the recipes will take the world by storm--most are variations on old favorites. But you pick up tidbits about entertaining and the relaxed southern style. This book and/or her gardening book would make wonderful gifts, and would be perfect to tuck into a gift basket along with some other items. It is the kind of book you want to pick up when you've had a hard day or have a rainy afternoon to enjoy!
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By Tashi on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We just visited Charleston again recently and happened across Mrs. Whaley's grave site at the St. Phillips Church. The site, with flowers blooming, is as lovely as her delightful book. I have enjoyed reading the book more than once, and giving it as a gift. This is the perfect hostess gift, especially for people who love the South in general, and Charleston in particular. Meeting Mrs. Whaley would have been a rare treat!
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Format: Hardcover
I care very little about cooking, but I care very much about this book after having re-read it several times. Mrs. Whaley exemplified a particular Southern specimen that used to be known as "old ladies", with both of the words intended as compliments--it was an accomplishment in a region subject to disease and storms to grow old, and it was also an accomplishment to be known as a lady, which should never be confused with having money. In this book, Mrs. Whaley was pleased to share the lessons that living into her eighties provided her, with never a word of complaint about wars, hurricanes, widowhood, changing societal mores, or anything else. To the end of her life, she delighted in acquiring the latest tools and gadgets, she entertained prodigiously, she was much amused by the minor scrapes and foibles of her young adult grandchildren, and she maintained one of the most celebrated gardens in a gardening-mad city. Reading this book is like sitting down for a long afternoon before the fireplace with the grandmother we all wish we had, enjoying a long chat over delicacies that she prepared herself in her kitchen. I may never use any of the recipes, but I'm already using some of her lessons about living life joyously and cultivating friendships.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Standing in front of the house at 58 Church Street in 2013, our guide shared personal memories of growing up in Charleston with Mrs. Whaley as her Cotillion teacher. "This was her home" the guide shared as she continued sharing brief tales that brought Mrs. Whaley alive to those of us on the tour. Periodically at the end of services at the nearby Baptist Church, Mr. Whaley would stand and announce that his wife's garden was especially lovely "this week" and invite everyone to stop by to see the flowers and enjoy refreshments. Needless to say, I became intrigued with this lady who was such a big part of this city I'd recently fallen in love with. Reading this book was such fun because in it Mrs. Whaley shared personal thoughts about the reasons she did some of the things she did in her kitchen. I had expected to find a book that gave me an etiquette lesson, but was delighted to find the story of a real woman who lived in a city she loved and who created a name for herself by being a part of the life of that city. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the book as much if I picked it up randomly without knowing who Mrs. Whaley was. However, it was delightful and will probably be read multiple times through the years.
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Format: Hardcover
How I would have loved knowing Mrs. Whaley beyond the pages of her books. She has the most deliciously charming perspective on a world gone by and presents her recollections with a spirit right at home in today. She's observes with pithy candor and humor and reading her nuggets of advice is a real treat. Besides, the recipes look marvellous--and very Southern.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is written by an extraordinary woman whose charming recollection of her Lowcountry origin and her years in Charleston with her lawyer husband are entertaining and captivating.
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