Lisa Rogak is the author of a book called Death Warmed Over, a combination cookbook and sociological study of funeral meals and rituals. She starts it with the story of a man dying at home in bed. He could smell the aroma of chocolate chip cookies—his favorite—baking downstairs. He wanted one more cookie before he died.

He dragged his body out of bed, rolled down the stairs, crawled into the kitchen, and reached out a trembling arm to grasp one final cookie, when he felt the sting of a spatula smack his hand. “Put that back,” his wife said. “They’re for the funeral.” — John Ortberg, When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).