To try a recipe for spicy cheese and tomato dip, in which the author sought comfort after her mother passed away, click here.
I have had one of the saddest weeks of my life: my mother, Frances Trosclair, lost her battle with bone cancer. As I have mentioned many times in my articles, she was an amazing person, a true Southern lady, a great citizen, and a wonderful mother. Of the hundreds of cards and well wishes we have received almost everyone touched on a "life well lived." She was so present in my life that I know I will not be able to fill the void for a very long time, if ever.
My mother was way too joyful for me to dwell on the sadness, so I will share the lighter side of the past few days and some of the tender moments and thoughts on comfort food. Knowing there is not anyone reading this article that has not experienced a broken heart, I ask you what is the food that gives comfort and relief?
Natchez, Mississippi, my second love after my family, is such a caring, generous community. This town has funeral food down to a science. There have been Southern cookbooks written about funeral food and now I am beginning to understand the need for it. Most people do not have to worry about a meal for at least a week after the time they lose a loved one. The casseroles and cakes begin to arrive within hours. There is also the Carriage House restaurant—I call it "funeral food central"—for those who do not stock casseroles in their freezers or who aren't adept at whipping up buttermilk pound cake. It just takes a phone call (and credit card) to send your love and affection, starting with the best fried chicken in the South and trays of their pimento cheese and chicken salad tea sandwiches, which are always welcome and most definitely qualify as comfort food. Even on the first day there was so much food arriving. I felt overwhelmed, and I said to my brother-in-law, What are we going to do with eight pound cakes? He said to just be a gracious recipient.