Oh, You Shouldn’t Have!

Dee Dee's Gourmet MinisJust the other day, I met a new friend for lunch and handed her a bag of our new Dee Dee’s Gourmet Minis. She exclaimed that I shouldn’t have gone to the trouble, but I told her that it was merely a sersy. Imagine my surprise when she had no idea what a sersy was!
I asked a few of my favorite wordsmiths and got an earful. Some speculated that the word sersy is short for “surprise,” or that it is derived from the French word souci, meaning “care.” Everyone seems to have a different spelling too: cercie or sursy, circe and searcy. I must have found 10 variations.
Whatever its origin, we in the South know that a sersy is a gift for no reason. The charm of a sersy is that you never asked for it. Maybe you mentioned truffles you like or a little trinket, and it is later given out of friendship. A sercy is a gift that is not meant to be reciprocated; it’s more of a, “I saw this and thought of you” type of present. My best friend and I always play down the little gifts that we give one another by calling them sercies, as if to keep each other from saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”
A sersy doesn’t have to be a purchased gift—the thought truly is the gift. For example, a recipe for pepper jelly from the grandmother of a friend is the perfect example of a sersy. She took the time to get the recipe, write it up on a recipe card and mail it to me. I had not asked for the recipe, merely commented that the jelly she was serving was some of the best I had tasted.
I think a sersy is quintessentially southern, a charming colloquialism, steeped in tradition, and a thoughtful gesture.
What about you? Do you know and give sersies?


Do Drop In!


The challenge of being known as a consummate hostess, is that you occasionally have to deal with droppers-in. It can be a lovely surprise if so

meone is too excited to see you to fool with making an appointment, but you always hope it’s the day you just got your hair done!

It’s a good idea to have a few things on hand for last-minute entertaining. In the afternoons, most people are thrilled to sit on the porch over a glass of iced tea and a plate of cookies. We Southerners usually have tea at the ready, but the key is presentation. A beautiful glass pitcher, beading up on a hot day, with some fresh mint from the garden looks so beckoning and refreshing. The same goes for the evening if you choose to serve a tin of Dee Dee’s Gourmet Cheese Straws and a bottle of chilled wine; try using a decanter, a leisurely little touch that lets your guests know you’re pleased to take the time to spend with them.

You can also keep a few things in the refrigerator for just this sort of emergency:

  • Dee’s Dee’s gourmet cheese straws
  • salsas
  • dips
  • beans (make a quick dip)
  • olives
  • capers
  • crackers
  • cheeses
  • fruit and veggies for quick crudite
  • tortilla chips
  • nuts
  • popcorn (get creative… cayenne pepper and sea salt; grated romano and black pepper
  • wines and beers …

Cool As A Cucumber Sandwich

Dee Dee’s Gourmet Cheese Straws The best hostesses are the ones who have a way of making guests feel instantly comfortable. When people come to your home, you don’t ever want them to feel like you’ve been slaving over the stove for three days. Instead, you want them to feel like it’s just something you whipped up and are so happy to have friends to share it with. The most important thing you can do to make your friends feel special, is to give them your attention.

So, make your goal to never to leave the table. The secret to not only appearing stress-free, but actually being relaxed is to have everything done before your guests arrive. In a sultry summer, who wants to spend an afternoon in a steamy kitchen? Especially in the summertime, it’s perfectly acceptable to serve cooler items, like a chilled gazpacho and a cold salad with watermelon. Cold chicken salad and icebox pies are perfect for a supper on the veranda, and you can make everything the night before. Don’t forget that Dee Dee’s Gourmet Cheese Straws are excellent starters for cocktail hour!