Meal of Mercy

The “Meal of Mercy” is Aunt Arlene’s name for the luncheon after the funeral service. It can be held at the home of a close friend or family member, or at a hall or a restaurant. It is a time to share memories of the dearly departed and provide support to the family before they return to their homes, less one person. Irish wakes traditionally resembled a party more than a funeral, with eating, drinking, and laughter.

In our family you may have heard me discuss the “funeral cake.” Although it is a tasty cake which has graced a table or too on a happy occasion, I always associated this crumb cake with death. (That is why it should never be served during tailgating!)  If we would come home and see the cake sitting on the dining room table, we would ask, “Who died?”

Here is the recipe. Good for a brunch or my funeral

Funeral  Crumb Cake

1 Box Duncan Hines butter cake mix

2/3 cup oil

4 eggs slightly beaten

2/3 cup milk

Mix well and beat until smooth. Pour onto 12X18 cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Cool slightly.


2 sticks margarine and 1 stick butter- melted and cooled slightly

4 cups flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and vanilla in large bowl.  Pour melted butter and margarine over and mix with spoon or fork. Spread crumbs over cake by hand, filling in all holes.

Put back in oven for 20 minutes longer. Watch to see that it doesn’t brown too quickly.  Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If I am at least 80 when I die, you may give me an Irish Wake, sharing many of your favorite memories of me as well as the songs from my funeral playlist accompanied by a nice slideshow. No one needs to wear black unless it is accompanied by garnet. All colors are welcome with the exception of orange and purple. Sequins and sparkles are permitted. No body viewing is allowed. I find it creepy. If you want to see me, then visit me when I am around to annoy you.

And speaking of 80, since I won’t be around for the meal of mercy, perhaps you can have a “Mommy Roast,” on my eightieth birthday, where you can all sit around in front of me and tell stories so I am able to defend myself.

Stay tuned for more party ideas!

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