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Two Tasty Legacies

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Two Tasty Legacies

Food is becoming a frequently mentioned hobby or passion in today’s obituaries. Whether it’s a treasured homemade spaghetti sauce, a ritual of Saturday morning pancakes made by dad or a worldwide hunt for the best ice cream flavor, specialty cooking and enthusiastic eating are often mentioned among things a person will be remembered or beloved for – with a fond smile.

And, clearly, it’s not just a man’s heart that is moved by food. Below are obituaries for women who became local legends in their communities – one in Athens, Georgia, and the other in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Cecilia de las Mercedes Duran de Villaveces was born to a prominent family in the Amazonas region of Colombia, the great granddaughter of a former president of the country. She was schooled in Bogotá and married, but threats from drug lords in the area forced the family to relocate to the United States. After her husband Alvaro died, she wanted to work, so she researched and recreated the recipe for cakes she recalled from her childhood in South America. Cecilia’s Cakes soon became a state-wide institution in Georgia.

In Beaufort, Madeleine Pollitzer made ham biscuits in the hundreds and often sold them by the honor system: pick up biscuits at her back door, leave money in the box. It was the homemade mustard that made the biscuits – and her pickled shrimp – irresistible to inveterate return customers. While the biscuits did provide some income, Pollitzer also started a dance school, had a catering business, started a pony club, hosted a bed-and-breakfast, and managed a hunting property.

Read about these two women, remarkable in many ways beyond baking, and how they will be kept alive with these well-written remembrances.

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Susan Soper is the author of ObitKit™, A Guide to Celebrating Your Life. A lifelong journalist, she has been a reporter with Newsday, writer for CNN, and Features Editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she launched a series called "Living with Grief."