Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mourning Accessories: Hand Fans

Victorian Mourning Fans

Fans have been almost a necessity since the beginning of time. To move stale air, cool the skin, hide away from the sun, and so much more. They have come in all sizes from very large ones on long sticks to cool rooms, to small hand sized ones that fit in a pocket. They have been made all over the world, and from just about every material. During the Georgian and Victorian Era there was even a language of fans, and a code of conduct. With the rules and codes of conduct for mourning, even fans were included. Solid black for deep mourning covered in paper or silk, then Chantilly Lace over cream, lilac, or white. The blades were made of wood, ebony, ivory, mother of pearl, and more. Starting as plain as possible, then as mourning progressed decoration became more ornate. Many folding fans were imported from the Orient, or Venice. Today there are still many Victorian hand fans available on the market, though many are in need of restoration and repair. Is it time to add to your collection?

Images from Ebay

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: The Medical Book by Pickover

The Medical Book by Clifford Pickover

Very interesting coverage of how medical has changed since B.C. till now. Though my only issue is the year assigned said what happened, but no end date, cure date or much really was ended in it. I would have loved more information like X bacteria was discovered in X year, X year vaccine was released. It was more of a general ball park on most subjects. Still eye opening on when things happened and how things were discovered.

4/5 Coffins

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Medical-Book-Surgeons-Milestones-Medicine/dp/1402785852/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516045741&sr=8-1&keywords=the+medical+book+pickover

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Funerals and Food

Food and Funerals

In almost every culture, and every point in time, food has always played a major role in funerals, funerary rites, and death in general. From grave goods like breads and wines so that the soul may carry full bellies in the after life, to the Turning of the Bones ceremonies where bones of those long since past and brought out, cleaned and given a place at the table with food and drink like the living. How often is it then when someone dies, everyone seems to supply the grieving family with foods like casseroles? It only seems natural to provide food.

Some places have superstitions that when a person dies in a house all foods of a certain type need to be removed from the house or the foods will go bad. In Brittany, an area of Northwestern France, it is believed that if a person dies of cancer, you are to place a dish of butter near the body so that the cancer will leach into the butter. Then after a short period of time the butter is removed from the house so that no surviving family members will contract the disease.

When we thing of celebrations and food we mainly think about weddings, but most caterers say that more food is eaten at a funeral then at a wedding. Why is that? Is it a jab to death that the living are doing one act that the deceased can no longer do? Or is it drowning our sorrows in cakes, sandwiches, and libations?

Regardless the link between food and funerals is very close. There are even foods that are reserved for funerals exclusively. Below you will see a recipe for Amish Funeral Pie. This is a simple food, with simple preparation, but a long history of being associated with being an only funeral food. There are also many variations of this pie, just like there are a lot of variations of funeral cakes from Belgium to Norway to Creole style.

What kinds of foods have you experienced at funerals? What recipe do you have that is a comfort or funeral food? We would like to know your story about the food, and share a recipe too.

Funeral Pie- Amish

  • Prep 30 m
  • Cook 45 m
  • Ready In 4 h 15 m


  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line a pan with half the pastry and chill.
  2. Place the raisins and 2/3 cup of the water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the sugars, cornstarch, spices, and salt in a bowl and, mixing all the time, slowly add the remaining water. Add this mixture to the heating raisins. Cook and stir until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the vinegar and butter and heat until the butter is melted. Cool until room temperature.
  4. Pour into the prepared shell and top with the second crust. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool completely before serving.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Book Review: Death Warmed Over (Funeral Foods)

Death Warmed Over by Lisa Rogak

Everyone loves to eat, and we all bring food to our funeral rituals. Almost every culture has foods that go great with funerals, this book brings together some of those recipes for us to celebrate. Lots of little anecdotes are tucked in to those pages as well as some information from each culture represented with in. Fun little book and most of the foods sound amazing. Not your typical cook book, but one that will definitely turn heads at parties.

5/5 Coffins- tasty treats will ensue

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Warmed-Over-Funeral-Rituals/dp/1580085636/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515776174&sr=8-1&keywords=death+warmed+over

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: Corpses, Coffins, Crypts

Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts a History of Burial by Penny Colman

This book beautifully outlines most of the basic history of all subjects. They also cover what happens more then some of the other books I have read. This book is really fascinating, as I ear marked quite a few topics for discussion in future blog posts. I highly recommend this book for a good oversight into the world of burials. There is a nice reference list, bibliography, and definitions section.

5/5 Coffins for depth of information.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Corpses-Coffins-Crypts-byColman-Colman/dp/B004X7EN54/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1515775572&sr=8-3&keywords=corpses+coffins+and+crypts

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: A History of Mourning (Funerals,Death and Lamentations)

A History of Mourning (Funerals,Death and Lamentations)

by Richard Davey 

SAVE YOURSELF! Don't even bother. This book killed me with in the first few pages. He has no citations, no references, no bibliography, no nothing! I do not even know how this book passed an editor! I tried to push through for you, my fans, but I finally gave up after page 12. Save your money, save yourself the time.

 0/5 Coffins- I think he actually owes me one on this.

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1494428962/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Book Review: When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

by Caitlin Doughty 

Hilarity ensues! This is a tough field of work for anyone, especially in a man's job. The author not only has taken on stereotypes, but a job most people would never work. Her stories are direct from the mouth, and heart. If you want an inside look into the world of the crematory then this book is for you. It will warm your heart, and help you put your mind at ease in a lot of ways. There is even an awesome book club and discussion pages for this book.

5/5 Coffins

Amazon Listing: https://www.amazon.com/Smoke-Gets-Your-Eyes-Crematory/dp/0393351904/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514912405&sr=8-1&keywords=when+smoke+gets+in+your+eyes