We all know that when someone we care about has a loss in their family, we just want to do something, anything to comfort them. The most common method of comfort, and much appreciated is taking food to the home where the family will gather. Let’s face it, people have to eat and their lives are quite busy during those few days following the death, leading up to and immediately after the funeral. ‘Back in the old days’, people brought so much food to homes during this time, that families had plenty to freeze and enjoy later. People brought food in their nicest dishes too! Those willing to sit around and reminisce about the good old days, will recall how there would just be so much food brought, and in their nicest dishes too. There would be half dozen different cakes, many made from scratch. My favorite was always anything chocolate. Because there was always a German Chocolate cake brought to the house when we had a family member to pass away, my mother declared that cake completely forbidden in our family. She considered it to be a bad omen. I don’t even remember the last time anyone in our family even considered eating any German Chocolate Cake. Thank goodness, Momma didn’t say that about fried chicken!
I’m kind of old school, I still like to cook and take food when my life is touched with a friend experiencing the loss of a loved one. I have joined the ranks of modern women now though and no longer take my nicest dishes. I purchased a giant package of disposable aluminum pans to have on hand for such an unexpected occasion. I still remember a nice baking dish with a matching carrying basket that I was never able to get returned from a friend more than 30 years ago. Bless her heart. I myself am still in possession of a plastic container which was brought to my home in March of this year when my mother passed away. I have every (good) intention of returning it to the friend who brought it filled with delicious chicken and rice for my family to enjoy, which we all did.
Casseroles and fried chicken are popular dishes for funeral food. It’s a little bit like homecoming at church. One of my ‘go to’ funeral foods is b-b-q chicken legs. It is really easy to do and a nice break from all the fried chicken coming in. I use Shake-n-Bake which makes it that much easier to prepare as well. I can never see myself walking up to someone’s home with just one dish in hand. Momma didn’t raise me like that. There has to also be a dessert. I like to take my Sour Cream Pound Cake too. See that recipe in a separate post. I still remember when my brother passed away after a lengthy illness, there was a huge smoked pork butt brought in from a local favorite restaurant. I once took a bunch of frozen pizzas and put them in the freezer of a friend whose husband passed away suddenly. She had teenagers, I knew those pizzas would come in handy soon. You can tailor your kindness toward the family you are touching.
Things have certainly changed through the years. Most homes are two income households now so Momma’s simply don’t have the free time to cook, prepare and deliver food as it was back in the old days. There are alternatives now though. Most cities have an abundance of caterers who are willing to prepare and deliver. Grocery stores have meal preparation services. Many people are opting to donate gift cards to local restaurants. Some folks bring other needed items such as cola’s, paper plates, paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper. I took a large amount of toilet paper to a family whose lost loved one was quite a popular and much loved person. I knew there would be a lot of food brought in. When I came in the door with that toilet paper, my friend just threw her arms around me and said, “How did you know?” She said that was the best thing anyone could have brought. Experience is the best teacher, isn’t it!