As holiday parties get into full swing, most hosts already know that their guests will end up in the kitchen. Yes, yes, the kitchen is where the action is, the star of the show.
But for many homeowners, it's not the kitchen that stirs their pride. It's the bar, said Jennifer Kopf, home editor for Southern Living magazine. After all, December 5 marks 80 years since the end of of Prohibition, and Americans have learned to enjoy that legal tipple at home.
When people move into a new home, especially in the South, she said, "The first question is, where are we going to put the bar?"
At any given Ole Miss home game, longtime tailgater Keith Henley lays out pewter serving trays and chafing dishes. Under the cover of two 10-by-20-foot tents in the wooded center of his alma mater's campus, known as The Grove, Henley busies himself with the service. At the same time, his brother and stepbrother fill it with exquisite dishes of wild boar loin or grilled elk wrapped in bacon with cream cheese.
They bring along a generator so the flat-screen television and lamps work. The tables are covered in cloths embroidered with "Hotty Toddy" and finished off with elaborate centerpieces full of flowers - sometimes augmented by Jack Daniels bottles glued to wooden dowels. They'll taste bourbon balls from their tailgating neighbors, with whom they've long exchanged Christmas cards.
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A box of cereal or can of tomatoes is not usually a decorator's first choice to accessorize a kitchen. But when it comes to pantries, your sundries can be an unexpected element of decor.
A pantry is an extension of your kitchen, said Melanie Serra, an interior decorator, staging expert and instructor in Atlanta, Georgia.
"When you are entertaining, that is an area that people will still see, when you open your pantry to grab an appetizer or chips," she said.