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Lacy's Lit

Cooks in the Cemetery

I returned to the home place, Lynchburg, Va. I was so happy to see familiar faces at the Old City Cemetery for a book signing. My mother, Esther Claxton who suffers from painful sciatica, was even able to come. She caught the train from Washington, D.C., to attend the event in her hometown.I couldn’t have written Sunday Dinner without having her sharing stories and recipes from our collective past. It was also great to meet new kindred spirits as well such as author Jessica B. Ward. She’s written two books, “Food to Die For: A Book of Funeral Food, Tips, and Tales From the Old City Cemetery,” and “Food to Live For.” Her books are filled with comfort food recipes from Southwest Virginia. Ted Delaney, the executive director of Old City Cemetery, said this cemetery loves cookbooks. The 27-acre historic landmark is one of the oldest public cemeteries in the country still in use. About 75 percent of the buried are African-American including my paternal great-great grandparents. This was my first visit to the Old City Cemetery but it won’t be my last. I want to explore the grounds and learn more about my ancestors and discover more recipes. You never know who you may find standing among the tombstones. Maybe another good cook.

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