"What can be more Southern, than to obsess about being Southern?" begins The G.R.I.T.S Guide to Life, with a quote from Elizabeth Fortson Arroyo. Exactly.
Scattered throughout this book, the primer for being a Southern gal, are tidbits of wisdom, short narratives by some wise and/or famous Southern women, and of course, strictly Southern recipes.
Deborah Ford illuminates the three key points to becoming or celebrating a galís Southern outlook on life: The Magnolia Tree (for strength of character), The Iron Skillet (for Southern flavor), and the String of Pearls (for beauty, both natural and cultured).
Briefly interrupting the narrative throughout the book are little niblets of inspiration, like "GRITS Pearls of Wisdom #2Ė Learn from the magnolia and donít let grass grow beneath your feet. Keep moving, and live life to the fullest." or "GRITS Pearl of Wisdom #13: If anyone tries to tell you a Southern girl shouldnít drink, just tell them the truth: we donít drink, we sip...a lot!"
This book has a myriad of other helpful, albeit off-topic information, such as: How to plant and care for a magnolia tree; How to season an iron skillet (and why it is important); The difference between natural, cultured and faux pearls; How to flirt, Southern style; and the Redneck Rules of Etiquette. From planning an authentic Southern wedding to preparing your first iron skillet for years of down-home cooking, this book has a bit of everything.
Also making several appearances in this book is the GRITS Glossary, which defines everything from a "steel magnolia" (remember the movie?) to who the GRITS consider a "newcomer", and the snippets titled "Well, I declare!" Ė which offers juicy bits of knowledge, factoids and Southern funnies.
What started as a quirky line of high-class t-shirts for Southern gals has snowballed, or rather, meandered, into a philosophy approaching religion. Women everywhere are eager to acquire the grace, charm and allure that is generally accredited to women of the South. Consider this book the biblical answer for non-southern women who wish to attain "Southern" status. Leave it to a Southern woman to turn her heritage into a national phenomenon!
This isnít a book to be read cover to cover late into the night (as I am apt to do!), but rather one to savor during a luxurious bubble bath (add scented candles and a Mint Julep) or while lounging under you favorite shade trade (add a genuine wood swing, and a pitcher of mimosas to "sip" on while flipping pages gilded with pink inscriptions). Each page offers a unique view on life, rich with imaginative comparisons and the drawl that puts the grit in the GRITS.
While I donít know if I qualify as a "true" GRIT, despite my birth in Texas (I was there for all of a week before heading North) and the six years I spent in South Carolina as a newlywed, I feel closer to the Scarlet OíHara inside me after having read this book.