It is one of our favorite portraits of the South. From the gossip at Truvy’s salon, to the witty banter between Clairee and Ouiser, to M’Lynn’s unwavering motherly love—Steel Magnolias has given us much to laugh (and cry) about for more than 25 years.
It all began as Robert Harling’s attempt to deal with the grief of his sister’s untimely death. After just 10 days or writing, he had created some of the most memorable female characters in show business. Then came the successful debut off Broadway in 1987, and two years later, it was adapted into the film we know and love.
Today, you can learn a myriad of fun facts about the ladies of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Did you know, for instance, that Bette Davis wanted to play Ouiser? She even invited Harling to tea to court the role. And Meg Ryan, rather than Julia Roberts, was originally slated to play Shelby but dropped the role to be in When Harry Met Sally.
We decided to celebrate Steel Magnolias in true Southern Lady style, with a party replete with blush and bashful. Here’s a sampling of a menu full of refined fare. There’s even a pink cocktail perfect for toasting the ladies closest to you.
Recipe development and food styling by Virginia Hornbuckle
Styling by Tracey Runnion
Photography by Marcy Black Simpson
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 18 large shrimp
- Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add shrimp to water, stirring to make sure they are submerged. Boil for 2 minutes or until shrimp are pink and fully cooked. Remove from heat.
- Drain and peel shrimp. Serve with Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Dipping Sauce.
- Shrimp may be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.