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Aug 18, 2009 10:53 AM

I'd like to cater my own wake

No, I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, but you never know. I've attended several wakes where I was sure that the honorees would have loved to have been there to see their friends, and eat the wonderful food everyone brought. Having the wake after they're gone is such a waste of fun.

For years, I've been toying with the idea of catering my own wake because I love to cook and I'd love to see my friends gather together BEFORE I die, so I can be included.

There are two other compelling reasons:

First, I don't know my real birthdate; even though both my parents were in attendance, they disagree on when I was born, and neither one knew the date anyway (this was in rural China, with no calendars). An annual wake could take the place of annual birthday celebrations.

Second, my husband said that if I did this as an annual event, then my friends could pick and choose which one to attend, and then after I die, they wouldn't feel guilty if not being able to attend the last one.

Any Chowhound suggestions for fun food themes, other than the requisite RIP cake? TIA.

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  1. Hard to say without knowing more about you. Would the RIP cake be angel's food or devil's food?

    1. This sounds morbid... why not just have a birthday party? Would you expect your friends to eulogize you?

      2 Replies
      1. re: iluvcookies

        No eulogy - I think they'd roast me, no pun intended.

        1. re: iluvcookies

          I don't think it is morbid at all. Go for it. My mom was going to order her box casket early..and use it for a coffee table, but she died too soon.

        2. I find this a charming idea, though I'm thinking of it even more literally than you - leaving instructions and a bequest in my will to ensure that my friends and family will be fed after my passing as I feed them while I'm here! I can just imagine them saying "This is SO Bob."

          As for what would be on the menu - I'll have to give that some thought.

          1. I'm a little confused about your first reason. You don't want to throw a birthday party, since you don't know your birthdate. But you'll throw a wake, even though you don't know your deathdate, either.

            That said, you should serve fugu, because there's a chance that someone will die and give the party that extra oomph. Or one of those ridiculous "death by chocolate" desserts, if you don't want to risk actually killing a guest.

            6 Replies
            1. re: small h

              Well, since I don't know either date, then why not a wake, and be different? Everyone else has a b'day every year, but wakes are pretty rare. Perhaps this isn't a good idea after all, unless there's only one...

              1. re: Claudette

                I think it's an excellent idea to throw an annual party. I just question tying it to your death, which hasn't happened yet.

                If this is mostly about the food and the company, how about celebrating the anniversary of the first time you made a certain really excellent dish? You can just make up a date, since you were going to, anyway.

                1. re: Claudette

                  I think it would be like throwing yourself a wedding every year just because they're not as common as birthdays. There's a reason for a wake just like a wedding. If you want to celebrate yourself, have a celebration party. Throw it on a certain day like donut day or April Fools Day or Valentine's Day or pick something that is meaningful to you. Despite the good food you'll miss at your real wake, you can't have your wake and eat it, too.;-)

                  1. re: Claudette

                    If someone threw herself a wake, I'd assume she had some terminal illness and would be dead within a few months. There's nothing wrong with just finding some significant date in your life and celebrating that instead of having a faux wake.

                    1. re: queencru

                      I tend to agree - you could scare people, and possibly offend someone who has had a recent loss/actual wake to plan. Even if people understand your sense of humour etc, I think it would be more appropriate as one-off, not a yearly party. But there is nothing wrong with throwing a yearly party unrelated to a birthday - many people have yearly BBQs for example.

                  2. re: small h

                    the fugu comment is pretty good, small. =)

                    also, i agree: skip the wake, just throw an annual celebration for no reason. (like chowser, i guess i'd find it a little self-absorbed for someone to throw themselves an annual wake.) or maybe just throw a killer (hoho) lunar new year celebration. i think traditionally that's when all chinese people celebrated their birthdays, anyway. (there are some risks, according to superstition, to telling people your real birthday.)

                  3. Hold on a little longer to 12/21/2012, then splurge!