Humor • November 2023
The Judge's Daughter: Justice of the Pies
Written by Pamela Buchmeyer
Thanksgiving is so delicious that I’d just as soon skip all the rest of the meal. That’s one reason I bought Maya-Camille Broussard’s new cookbook Justice of the Pies: Sweet and Savory Pies, Quiches, and Tarts plus Inspirational Stories from Exceptional People: A Baking Book. The other reason is that she wrote it in honor of her late father, a criminal defense lawyer and “pie master” who loved to bake for family and friends and no doubt as relief from courthouse stress.
My father couldn’t cook much beyond frozen dinners; his favorites were Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies. But I’m honored to write in his memory as well. The late Judge Jerry L. Buchmeyer wrote a humor column for the Texas Bar Journal for 28 years.
Chef Broussard’s eatery in Chicago is also called Justice of the Pies, and she’s featured on the Netflix series Bake Squad. Her book is a welcome addition to my collection of oddball legal-themed cookbooks. Yes, there really is such a thing!
Cookbooks were great fundraisers for legal nonprofits. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has one (see below) and more recently, cookbooks have become passion projects for judges and lawyers.
“Courthouse Cuisine” is what I call this genre of culinary publishing, and this month I’m serving up a tasty sample. The most important ingredient for these cookbooks is always a clever title. Plus, I relish a noble cause, a dash of vintage appeal, and whenever possible, the added seasoning of a Texas connection. The results are savory and sweet—something for which I am truly grateful. Voila, justice is served.
I’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve got a culinary contribution. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few of the titles in my unique and growing collection of legal-themed cookbooks. Unfortunately (or not) space does not permit printing actual recipes.
A Cookbook for People Who Hate Lawyers: How to Become a Great
Cook and Avoid Lawyers, by Stuart Faber, 2021
The author shares recipes developed from his 1940s Midwestern childhood to his world travels, plus tips from years as a seasoned litigator about how to never need an attorney. The publisher is correct: “This is a book, like no other.”
Culinary Justice, A Cookbook for People Who Can’t Stomach
Lawyers, by Karen Pordum, 1996
The author is a litigator and a legal recruiter who wrote a great introduction: “. . . many of us [lawyers] are obnoxious, pretentious and unlikeable . . . and the only way we can get other people to eat with us is to cook for them.”
LegalEats: A Lawyer’s Lite Cookbook, by Flavia Tuzza, 2000
Recipes plus legal cartoons and humorous quotes. Must try: Legal Lasagna, Libelously Light Strawberry Cheesecake, and Prosecutor’s Pizza (pound your dough like your worst adversary).
A Piece of Cake
Gavelling Gourmet, by Anne Lieben, and published by the
Lawyers Wives Omaha Nebraska
No publishing date but what a title!
The Attorney’s Appetite, A Compendium of Dishes Favored by
Members of the Bench and of the Bar, by the Women’s Division of the
Legal Aid Society New York, 1969
Favorite recipes: Maine Fiddleheads and Crabmeat Velma.
The Law and the Palate, by Lawyer’s Wives of Greater Milwaukee, 1966, and The Law and the Palate, by the Lackawanna Lawyers’ Auxiliary in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1990 (featuring a lovely recipe for pretzel Jell-O salad).
Reminds me of my mother’s years as a member of the Dallas Lawyer’s Wives Club. These social/philanthropic clubs for legal spouses were popular throughout the U.S. in the 1950s through early 1970s (a different era).
In the Soup
The Watergate Cookbook, by N. Y. Alplaus, 1973
A hard to find classic! Written, it is whispered, by either someone who was “deep in the soup” of Watergate and needed royalties to pay lawyers, or by a Washington hostess who lost her seat at the table post-Nixon. Cooking tip: whenever a pot boils over and loses its lid, be prepared to show you had nothing to do with it as you were watching TV. Featured recipes: Nixon’s Hot Cross Bread; Liddy’s Fool-Proof Devil’s Food Cake; Kissinger’s Snow-White Capers.
A Taste of Justice, Minnesota Lawyers Cookbook, 2001
Best disclaimer ever! “Because the Board of Judicial Standards advised there may be potential conflicts of interest (a position we disagree with but will respect), we decided not to print recipes from the Bench.”
The Food Court: A Collection of Courthouse Recipes, by the Doughtery County Law Library, Albany, Georgia, 2016
The Past . . . and Repast, by Gordon A. Cotton, 2009, benefiting the Vicksburg Old Courthouse Museum in Mississippi
Justice is Served: A Cookbook to Benefit the University of
Wyoming Law Library, 1988
Best recipes names! Prima Facie Primavera Salad, Stop & Frisk Carmelcorn, and Res Ipsa Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Collin County Courthouse Cookbook: Sesquicentennial
1836-1986, by Bill Roberts, 1986
I absolutely love cookbooks benefiting historical courthouses. Note: The courthouse crowd in Collin County published several volumes of this cookbook. This one is my favorite.
No Fault Cooking by the American College of Trial Lawyers, Robert L. Clare, 1998
From the Kitchen to the Courtroom: Doing Justice to Pasta, by
Judge Patricia Di Mango, 2021
Di Mango starred on the CBS show Hot Bench and then joined her mentor Judge Judy Sheindlin on Amazon for Tribunal.
Cooking with an Accent: An Immigration Lawyer’s Cookbook,
by Mira Mdivani, 2005
An immigration attorney in Kansas City presents recipes, both exotic and familiar, from all over the world, plus coming-to-America stories of family, hardship, love, and the American dream.
From Courtroom to Cucina: 70 Authentic Recipes that Took Me from
Litigation to Salivation, by Danielle Caminiti, 2021
A former prosecutor in Kings County, New York, Caminiti made the best of the 2020 global pandemic and courthouse closures by reinventing herself and pursuing her passion—cooking!
Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, & Cooking
for RBG, by Leslie Karst, 2023
The author finagled her way into hosting a dinner for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ginsburg’s husband, Martin, a noted tax lawyer and gourmand.
Chef Supreme, by the spouses of the justices of the U.S.
A tribute to the late Martin Ginsburg with recipes, photos, and fond tales.
Table for 9: Supreme Court Food Traditions & Recipes,
by Clare Cushman (with a foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg), 2018
A fascinating history of the court as told through menus and food traditions. Outstanding photos and more.
Final food for thought. At a fundraiser in Philadelphia, “chefs” from some of the city’s finest law firms gathered to compete in a tasty competition. A cookbook quickly followed, and a grand idea was whipped up, which arguably, many more of us legal professionals could prepare. TBJ
PAMELA BUCHMEYER is an attorney and award-winning writer who lives in Dallas and Jupiter, Florida. Her work-in-progress is a humorous murder mystery, The Judge’s Daughter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.