Being dead is no excuse, 243pp.
by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays
Miramax Books, New York 2005
Cooking on page 232
Here you have it folks—The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral. This isn’t so much a cookbook but a complete (and hilarious) handbook on the rituals, rules and etiquette for the send-off you deserve after kicking the bucket in southern USA.
Some curly issues are covered. Who are the better cooks—Episcopal or Methodist ladies? What happens if the family gets drunk and eats the feast the night before the funeral? And the important point that the obituary may not tell you exactly who has died, at least not so you’d recognize them.
I bought this gem when I visited my sister, Jane, in Missouri. We stopped at Inklings’ Books, a secondhand bookstore that had recently relocated. I asked about cookbooks and the owner had to admit that he hadn’t yet brought them up from the basement. After I told him about page 32 and this blog, he hustled downstairs and retrieved one box of books. I bought two—a Moosewood cookbook, which I gave to my sister, and this. Seriously, how could I have resisted?
I had to cruise all the way to page 232 for a recipe.
Goat cheese torta
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 to 8 ounces mild goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
fresh oregano for garnish
thinly sliced French bread
Line a 1-quart loaf or soufflé pan with clear plastic wrap.
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, oregano and pepper. Process until smooth.
Spread a third of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the pan. Top with pesto, spreading evenly. Layer with another third of the cheese mixture.
Drain sun-dried tomatoes and chop. Spread these evenly over cheese mixture. Cover the sun-dried tomatoes with the remaining cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and press gently to pack it. Chill several hours or overnight.
Remove the plastic wrap. Invert the container and turn the contents onto a serving plate. Garnish torta with toasted almonds and fresh oregano.
Makes twelve servings.
How it played out
Well of course I followed the recipe. This is a handbook, not just some collection of suggestions.
I used a loaf pan, fresh oregano and flaked almonds. I did, however, serve the torta with a variety of crackers/biscuits instead of French bread.
This was a starter (appetiser) at a lunch for Petra’s (one of our daughters) cricket team. I made it the day before so it had plenty of time to chill.
The girls inhaled it and pronounced it delicious. They also loved the main dishes of an Indian feast, including a lentil and spinach dal, as well as a chocolate dessert, another page-32 recipe coming soon.
We’ve had some interesting travel this year, including Alaska, Cuba and South America. I picked up recipes from a few cookbooks in Alaska, but none from Cuba. 😦
Nevertheless, you are most welcome to check out those amazing vintage cars in Cuba .