Sunday, November 21, 2010

Food to Die For

While I'll admit to being a bit of a foodie, I grew up in the South and my mom was from even deeper in the South and I do love good Southern cooking, even if it's not as fashionable as some other forms of cuisine.

A few years ago, a friend gave me Food to Die For: A Book of Funeral Food, Tips, and Tales,. Now, down here, South of that line drawn by Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon, when someone dies, we start to cook. It's almost as if we believe that you can stave off any more deaths if you just prepare enough food. Food almost immediately gets taken over to the family of the deceased and more food (usually, lots more food) is prepared for after the funeral when family and friends gather together for comfort. So I've come to love this book not only for its hint of Goth mixed with Southern Lady, and for its historical discussions of funeral customs, but also for its recipes, which I use for many occasions other than funerals.

I pulled it out a few days ago looking for appetizer ("pick-up food," according to the book) recipes that I could use for Thanksgiving. Cucumber Sandwiches, Cheese Straws, Ham Biscuits, Deviled Eggs, five different recipes for Pimento Cheese (I adore this stuff; do they even make it outside the South?), Hot Tomato Bouillon. As the book explains:

The greater the extent offerings for a bereaved household or funeral reception can be prepared before presenting, the better. Completely ready food is an act of great thoughtfulness appreciated by those staffing unfamiliar kitchens crowded with people and all sorts and conditions of food. . . . It could be said that the more a funeral repast resembles a cocktail party -- with or without the alcohol -- the better.
And the Goddess knows that if my own after-party does not resemble a rather nice cocktail party (avec the alcohol), my unquiet ghost is going to show up and want to know the reason why. My circle knows where the really good bottle of champagne is stowed.

I think I'm going to make ham biscuits, one of the simplest (make buttermilk biscuits, split them and butter the inside, fill with thinly-sliced Smithfield ham, serve with hot pepper jelly, if desired) and most delicious foods of the South, deviled eggs from a friend's recipe, and my own crab dip that, while not found in this recipe book is, indeed, to die for.

Picture (and another review of the book) found here.


Teacats said...

Best funeral book -- and SO very funny "Being Dead is No Excuse" by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Mays. Seriously -- read it out loud when you have a group of friends -- and several glasses of wine! About the Southern food, customs and stories of life-and-death in Greenville, Mississippi. Includes recipes!

Favorite quote from page 4:

"We're people with a strong sense of community, and being dead is no impediment to belonging to it. We won't forget you just because you've up and died. We may even like you better and visit you more often."

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Hecate said...


You've sold me; I'm adding that to my list!

Double Jointed Fingers said...

Share that clam dip recipe. Don't make me beg...