Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral." I finally got my chance when I spied the book in a store in New Orleans last week and grabbed it. I read it cover to cover before bed in three nights. This book is funny!
"Being Dead is No Excuse" discusses funeral culture in the Mississippi Delta and highlights the advice with humorous stories from the town of Greenville, MS. We learn about the difference between Episcopalians and Methodists (basically it comes down to alcohol and Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup); proper flowers for a funeral (never carnations -with or without glitter); writing the perfect obituary (you shouldn't lie outright, but smoothing over some ugly details is fine); and so much more.
One of my favorite stories (there are several) is how a certain lady of Greenville refused to fly on the same plane as the local newspaper editor who had won a Pulitzer Prize because she said that if the plane crashed her obituary would rank under the editor's obituary. "I would absolutely hate to be listed as an 'also on the plane', Mrs. Shaw said."
Each chapter is graced with a slew of appropriate funeral recipes. If you have a fondness for aspic, you're going to love this book. There are as many recipes for items like pimiento cheese as there are for gooey desserts. This is traditional Southern cooking, folks. After reading though the recipes, I almost want to host a faux-funeral as an excuse to serve these foods. It sounds like a fun Sunday afternoon thing to do, don't you think?
Written by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, "Being Dead" is part of a trilogy of books that also give advice on the perfect wedding and being the perfect mother -at least for Southern Ladies. You can read about those on their website The Pastel Trilogy.