Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Southern Funeral Food
There are several things you can count on at a Southern Funeral, unknown relatives you are supposed to know, the songs sung out of key, and the sudden canonization of the deceased. To hear the preacher speak to the dearly beloved about the dearly departed, their most recent lost one had no faults, sins, or personal weaknesses - an amazing feat. Now don't get me wrong, we are basically good people, but for once, I would love to hear a preacher mention from the pulpit during his eulogy, "Our brother James was a good man, even with proclivity for the bottle and women of the evening, but he was in that second pew most every Sunday and tithed his 10%". Now wouldn't you sit up and pay more attention to what followed. But I digress.
The main thing you can count on is food and lots of it. For those of you not from here, there are two ways it is done. Either, the family returns to the home after the funeral and the ladies of the church serve a meal (usually using the hoards of food that has been pouring in for days or organizing a meal, that generally includes fried chicken or ham) or the ladies serve a meal to the family in the church social hall. We were going to eat in the social hall. and, I for one, was looking forward to the meal.
As we entered the social hall, I could see the church ladies, doing what they do best, busily setting up the meal. (I speak from experience, because before we moved to the "big city" I, too, did my time as a church lady and know the drill.)
Then I noticed something that you would only see in the South. Now, this was not a common sight in our small town, but had I witnessed it before. On the long table set before us were trays, dishes, and platters of food, representing, what some consider, the four southern food groups: pimento cheese sandwiches (4 large platters stacked high), potato salad (6 different kinds -mind you), 6 platters of mouth watering fried chicken, then a endless table of homemade desserts. (Once again the movie "Elf" came to mind, when Will Farrell said "We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup." My DH did comically point out that were vegetables, if you considered the green pickles in the potato salad - always the optimist.
But the food was wonderful, especially the fried chicken and the desserts. A southern funeral is no place for the mention of diets, health food, or weight. And, as we talked to different cousins, uncles, etc, we realized, as always, how rare these occasions are and how fleetly the moments can be. We all make plans to get together for a reunion that may or may not occur and of course, it will involve a meal, and fried chicken.