Those who are just dying to talk about funerals and recipes for repasts are invited to the next McDuffie County Museum Key Ingredients event, Food to Die For. The event is a presentation by Jessica Bemis Ward, the author of the cookbook of the same name.
Ms. Ward will give a lighthearted look at funeral customs, practical advice for writing obituaries and condolence notes and will share some comfort food recipes. A tea with foods prepared from the book will be served during the event, according to Mary Anne Coussons, the interim museum director.
"Funeral food recipes are not easy to come by," Ms. Ward is quoted saying on her website. "Not because good cooks withhold them, but they are usually recipes reserved for such occasions, which cooks know by heart, without need for measure or written instruction. Funeral food must be familiar, delicious and portable. Foods that escape the bonds of piping hot, as well as dishes that can be stored and served again with safety and ease."
There are 100 recipes in the cookbook, which Ms. Ward has collected and used over time. Along with her recipes, Ms. Ward will share tips on how to handle the "I don't know what to say" syndrome people face when confronted with the death of a friend or acquaintance, and define terminology such as "funeral tsar" and "dying order."
"And she talks about it all in such a lighthearted manner," Ms. Coussons said. "She called and said she's excited about coming down here (from Lynchburg, Va.). She said she's always wanted to come and visit small towns in the South."
Keith Beggs, of Beggs Funeral Home, will bring an old funeral wagon pulled by a horse to go along with the funeral theme and keep things lighthearted at the same time. And Ms. Ward will be signing copies of her cookbook, which are available from the McDuffie County Museum for $24.
The event will be at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 25 at Beggs Funeral Home on Cobbham Road in Thomson. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce, 706-597-1000. Tickets are limited to 100, and include the luncheon, Ms. Ward's presentation and the book-signing. For more information, call Ms. Coussons at the Chamber of Commerce.
Key Ingredients: America by Food is a traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit that will be displayed Jan. 10 through Feb. 22, 2009, at the McDuffie County Museum in Thomson.