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209 Reviews
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THAT'S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SOUTH !
Forget Scarlet, Zelda, and Tallulah, they pale beside the ladies of the Mississippi Delta who are dedicated, determined, and (pun intended) dead set on seeing the dearly departed off in style.

"Being Dead Is No Excuse" is laugh out loud funny, true, and chock full of recipes for must-be-served dishes at after funeral receptions. Tomato aspic with homemade...
Published on March 30, 2005 by Gail Cooke

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny at times but also a bit trite
This book was fun to read in that it did a realistic comparison between the habits of bringing food to funerals in the south in that those of us who are from the south have actually eaten many of the foods described in the book. It is really part cookbook and part fun read, however, as much of the book is taken up with the recipes. After reading it, I passed it on to a...
Published on September 8, 2005 by J. Carpenter


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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THAT'S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SOUTH !, March 30, 2005
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
Forget Scarlet, Zelda, and Tallulah, they pale beside the ladies of the Mississippi Delta who are dedicated, determined, and (pun intended) dead set on seeing the dearly departed off in style.

"Being Dead Is No Excuse" is laugh out loud funny, true, and chock full of recipes for must-be-served dishes at after funeral receptions. Tomato aspic with homemade mayonnaise tops the list that includes Aunt Hebe's Coconut Cake and Virginia's Butterbeans. Those who doubt the import of a table groaning under countless casseroles will learn that "Nobody eats better than the bereaved Southerner. We celebrate weddings, christenings, birthdays, and just about every milestone in life with food. But every southerner knows that death cooking is our very best."

Now, it's not only the food, but it's also the presentation. For Southern ladies, polishing silver is a form of grief therapy thus the serving pieces will be immaculate. In addition, linens are required. "We do not want Mildred to go under with paper napkins."

Metcalfe forthrightly addresses the vanity often ascribed to Southern women by describing an older lady who passed away and wanted to be "laid out" as she looked during the happiest days of her life - when she was a waitress. Thanks to the craftsmanship of the local undertaker she appeared in her coffin in waitress uniform with ruby red lips and the same color hair.

Then there is Lavinia, the former wife of a philanderer. Not wishing to be outdone at his services, she made a Botox appointment, bought designer duds, and hired a King Air private jet which she directed to buzz the church. There wasn't anyone with ears who didn't know "someone" had arrived. Then, Lavinia strode smartly down the aisle stage-whispering, "I don't want anybody to know I'm here.....I just came for the children."

Greenville, Mississippi native Metcalfe hasn't missed a beat in relating the rollicking rites and rituals necessary for the Southerner's final goodbye, including the frequency of their visits to the local cemetery. "We won't forget you just because you've up and died," she writes. "We may even like you better and visit you more often."

Few will forget "Being Dead Is No Excuse."

- Gail Cooke
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed 'til I thought I'd die., March 14, 2005
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
"As I Lay Dying" with recipes and a lot more humor. This exploration of Southern funeral customs is not only funny, but it also confirms that the South is still different from the rest of the country and celebrates those differences. A southern funeral must follow certain forms and the mourners have to tell stories, have a laugh and eat well. You can read it for the description of the folkways and keep it on your shelf for the recipes.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy!, March 31, 2006
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This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
I liked this so much I bought 5 extra for gifts! Recipes are wonderful and book is delightful! I've made several of the dishes in it & they are great.When people ask for a recipe that comes from this book, I just tell them "It's a gift from the dead"..and we all have a laugh...and then they go buy the book!I love it to just read too!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Yankee View, May 7, 2005
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
"Being Dead is No Excuse" by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays is very funny, charming, and perhaps more accurate than some might like to admit.I admit it, I am a "Yankee," (Though to a true Northerner, a Yankee is from New England, and one who eats apple pie with sharp Cheddar cheese for breakfast!), but I am highly familiar with funerals and preparations for "a good send-off." Metcalfe and Hays have written a funny, touching book that has aspects (and aspics!) that are applicable anywhere in the United States.However, this otherwise excellent book has been marred by sloppy, sloppy editing, as is too common any more. One thing, the hymn is "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past," not "Oh God....." And some of the recipes, which are mostly Southern classics (and rightly so!) lack crucial information as to pan sizes, or yields. If you're not going to cook from this book, no problem, but many of the recipes are so appealing, that it is really unfortunate that they were not edited better.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Yankee needs a copy!, January 17, 2006
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
All my Yankee friends need a copy of this book! It is an insightful addition to my own whimsical library! If you live in the South it is a funny look at our strange funeral practices and if you don't live in the South it will give you a little insight on what we do and why we do it. It is a must read for any person North or South of the Mason-Dixon Line. Not only is it a fabulous read it has recipes also. Ok some are less than desirable eats but you will still find the delta ladies cook it with class and serve it on a silver platter. Yes, we still have good silver and we use it too, especially at a funeral. In the book they talk about Southern women polishing the silver when a death has happened and that is exactly as I remember it also. Buy it! Read it! Love it!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take it From Me, June 3, 2005
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
I'm a former Greenvillian, a long-time AA member, but alas, not Episcopalian.Two out of three ain't bad, so I feel qualified to testify that this book nails the quirky yet genteel personality of the Mississipi Delta. Truth, being stranger than fiction makes for howling, southern gothic comedy. Gayden Metcalfe is not exaggerating! The recipies for the funeral fare made me want to break out the pots and pans!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious dish & delicious dishes!, September 7, 2005
By 
C. M. (Gananoque, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
This is a book I will pick up again & again, anytime I want a laugh or a snicker. Gossipy stories about life in a small town & the best food to bring to the funeral reception! The recipes alone are worth the price of the book. Very, very funny anecdotes about death and dying in the glorious South. I assume the authors have now been ostrasized now that they dared reveal the foibles of their fellow citizens along with the treasured recipes. Just great, amusing reading!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny at times but also a bit trite, September 8, 2005
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This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
This book was fun to read in that it did a realistic comparison between the habits of bringing food to funerals in the south in that those of us who are from the south have actually eaten many of the foods described in the book. It is really part cookbook and part fun read, however, as much of the book is taken up with the recipes. After reading it, I passed it on to a friend who is from Nashville and who enjoys the southern culture and cooking. Enjoy it for a light read and a few laughs but know that it contains more recipes than anything else.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Guide to the Guide, September 23, 2005
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This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
As a Southern church musician, reared by a grandmother born in the late 1800's the details of the customs, societal expectations,family eccentricities and community fixtures are "dead on." (pun intended) The friendly(?) competition between churches and individuals illustrates the status-consciousness of the matrons in towns and small cities. The recipes remind me of the comfort food of my youth. And no one has more characters than South.

If you are from the South, you'll recognize the people and the ideology. If you're not from the South, this is a great introduction to our customs, cuisine and contrariness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of social and cultural insights throughout, May 9, 2005
This review is from: Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral (Hardcover)
Southern life and death receive close inspection and a healthy dose of humor in Being Dead Is No Excuse; The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting The Perfect Funeral.. Traditional Southern recipes for casseroles, relishes, and 'funeral and wake food' dish up a healthy (or unhealthy, at times) dose of authentic Southern cooking and observation mixed with a pinch of humor. Plenty of social and cultural insights throughout.
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Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral
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