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Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeralby Charlotte Hays
Synopses & Reviews
Folks in the Delta have a strong sense of community, and being dead is no impediment to belonging to it. Down South, they don't forget you when you've up and died--in fact, they visit you more often. But there are quintessential rules and rituals for kicking the bucket tastefully. Having a flawless funeral is one of them.
In this deliciously entertaining slice of Southern life (and death), inveterate hostess Gayden Metcalfe explains everything you need to know to host an authentic Southern funeral. Can you be properly buried without tomato aspic? Who prepares tastier funeral fare, the Episcopal ladies or the Methodist ladies? And what does one do when a family gets three sheets to the wind and eats the entire feast the night before a funeral?
Each chapter includes a delicious, tried-and-true Southern recipe, critical if you plan to die tastefully any time soon. Pickled Shrimp, Aunt Hebe's Coconut Cake, and the ubiquitous Bing Cherry Salad with Coca-Cola are among the many dishes guaranteed to make the next funeral the most satisfying one yet.
Even if you've never been south of Rochester, this book will charm, it will entertain, and it will give you all the ingredients required for the perfect Southern send-off.
"Metcalfe, a lifelong Southerner who's been hiding out in the social circles of Greenville, Miss., exposes the culinary and cultural last rites of the deep South in a fashion that is as sidesplitting as it is politically incorrect, as sincere as it is backstabbingly brutal. She is capably aided by Hays, a 'recovering gossip columnist' from Washington, D.C. Residents of the Mississippi Delta, where 'polishing silver is the southern lady's version of grief therapy,' take their comfort food semiseriously, be it traditional Pickled Shrimp, Liketa Died Potatoes (which incorporate both cheddar cheese and canned cheddar cheese soup) or cream cheese — laden Pecan Tassies. Nobody would be caught dead without Tomato Aspic at the funeral, and St. James' Cranberry Congealed Salad topped with mayonnaise is the dessert of choice. An entire chapter is devoted to stuffed eggs, and another is dedicated to dishes that use canned soup as their base ('Nothing whispers sympathy quite like a frozen-pea casserole with canned bean sprouts and mushroom soup'). A lengthy discourse on 'The Methodist Ladies vs. the Episcopal Ladies' is laugh-out-loud funny in its contrast of customs and cuisines and its consideration of the consolation of a 'nice, stiff cocktail.' And many Greenville residents, alive and deceased, drop by for a howdy, including poor Maribell Wilson, who made the mistake of driving her daddy's ashes home with the windows down. B&w illus. Forecast: National media out of New York and a regional author tour through Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee should help this charming, entertaining book take off." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"If you want a good laugh in this uptight, power-obsessed city, pick up a copy of Being Dead Is No Excuse. And if you are a Southerner, you will laugh until the tears come." Washington Post
"There are too few words and phrases to adequately describe this unique devil-take-the-hindmost approach to cooking and end-of-life ceremonies. Tongue in cheek? Maybe. Laugh-out-loud narrative? Definitely. Plus, an extraordinary combination of ingredients (it is a cookbook, after all)." Booklist
In this dishy collection of Southern humor and recipes, inveterate hostess and Southern belle Gayden Metcalfe explains everything one needs to know to throw a proper Southern funeral.
About the Author
Gayden Metcalfe is a lifelong Southerner and founder of the Greenville Arts Council. She lives in Greenville, Mississippi, with her husband, Harley Metcalfe III. Charlotte Hays is a Delta native and recovering gossip columnist living in Washington, D.C.
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