Saturday, November 12, 2016

In which I prepare for attending my uncle's funeral, which will be sad but was not unexpected, as he was 81 and had been in poor health for years

The main part of preparing?


I am making a tortilla, the amazing Memphis Junior League hot onion dip, and a zucchini crisp. (We are awash in zucchini.) (I burned the crisp trying to crisp the topping using the broiler, but it was no great loss, as the unburned part did not taste good at all.)

The good thing about making funeral food is that I can tell this Ole and Lena joke and know that my uncle would have laughed at it.

The Ole and Lena Funeral Food Joke

Ole was on his deathbed. Pastor Inqvist had been there to give him the last rites and had left. Ole was lying in his bed, waiting to die. It is very boring waiting to die.

Lena had gone downstairs.

Ole noticed a wonderful fragrance wafting up from the kitchen. Could it be? Could it possibly be his favorite rhubarb bars? His favorite dessert in the whole wide world?

"Lena!" he tried to call, but his voice was too weak and he sounded like the guy in the Man Cold video who croaks out, "Laura!" but she can't hear him.

He spent a few minutes recovering from the attempt to call Lena, then made a decision. He tried to sit up, but he was too weak. Too weak to sit up in bed.

So he rolled. He rolled over out of bed and fell to the floor.

He spent a few minutes resting, then began to crawl, one painful, slow inch at a time to the stairs.

Once he got to the stairs, he rested for a few minutes, then turned around so his feet were facing down and bumped his way down the stairs on his butt, one stair at a time.

When he reached the bottom, he rested, then rolled over onto his stomach and crawled into the kitchen. He got to the island and painfully pulled himself up to the counter, where Lena had cut the rhubarb bars and placed them on a plate.

He reached for one, grabbed it, and was about to take a bite when Lena walked into the kitchen. She ran to him, shocked, slapped his hand, and said, "Ach, Ole! Shame on you! Dose are for after da funeral!"

Hot Onion Souffle
1 14-oz package frozen chopped onions, thawed
24 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
12 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 425°. Drain chopped onions in a colander, then squeeze out any excess liquid. Put onions into a medium bowl. Add cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and mayonnaise and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Transfer onion-cheese mixture to a 1-quart soufflé dish, smoothing top slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake dip until top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot with corn chips or crackers, if you like.


  1. Goldie, first .... am so sorry for your loss. Know you are very close to your family and will feel this for a long time.

    Am so glad, tho, that you are cooking for your family. The rituals of the family meals and family stories are such an important part of the process of letting go and of celebrating the life of your loved one, while recognizing the loss. This is part of what Primo did not get to experience with his family, since such traditions just didn't exist for him. Go. Be with your family to laugh, cry, celebrate and mourn. It will be good for all of you. And, it may be helpful to Primo, too.

    1. Webb, what a lovely, thoughtful comment. I had never thought about it like this, but you are so right: for my grandmother's funeral, about a dozen of us met at my aunt's house and prepared all the food for the funeral. We were sad but we were also happy to be together and we had a great time. I am so, so lucky with my family. I wish Primo could have had it with Sly and Doris, but at least he gets to have it with mine.


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