A couple of years ago my friend, Southern Fried Momma, gifted me with a cookbook quite unlike any other. Entitled, Being Dead is No Excuse, it provides a bevy of true southern recipes. And, because SFM knew I needed some schooling in southern ways, it also provides the gentle reader with all the social and inside rules for hosting/attending a southern funeral. Because, let's face it, a funeral in the south is a serious social ritual. It is expected for friends of the bereaved family to deposit scores of prepared casseroles and traditional funeral fare at the home of the deceased.
Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays are the genius pair who explain everything from what to do with the, "eternal slick ham platter", to how to write a thank you note. Their best advice for the latter is to, "lay it on with a trowel".
A humorous read for certain and the recipes are not lacking. One of my favorites is for the southern classic, Cheese Straws. I made this recipe last week and created some wonderful cheese crackers. I know.....I know....they are not in the true southern squiggle shape. But, tasty nonetheless. Do try the recipe listed below.
The Ladies of St. James' Cheese Straws
4 cups all-purpose flour, measure before sifting
2 scant teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
4 sticks of salted butter, melted
4 (10 ounce) packages of extra-sharp cheese, finely shredded
5 dashes Tabasco
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Sift the flour, salt, and cayenne together. Work the melted butter into the shredded cheese (with your hands!). Note, the recipe read 4 sticks of butter, approximately. Use the amount of melted butter to produce a consistency appropriate to your cookie press. Incorporate the flour mixture a little at a time (still using your hands). Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire to taste. Fill the tube of the cookie press. Using the ribbon disk produces a real bit, while the smaller disc produces the familiar squiggle.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes, or until firm to the touch and slightly brown around the edges. Squiggles take only about 10 minutes.
Makes about ten dozen.