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Funeral reception recipe ideas

  • k

The mother of my husband' best friend just passed away and her funeral is this Saturday. There will be a reception afterward at their home. I would like to bring a food dish or dessert but not sure what. The crowd will be a mix of black and white folk with a number of them coming in from South Carolina. I'm a New Yorker myself so any Midwest/deep South suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. t
    The Dairy Queen

    Oh dear, my condolences. Hmmm...well, lasagna or casserole were what we always brought in Iowa. If you go to Garrison Keillor's site, you'll find lots of "hot dish" recipes, including Tater Tot hot dish and Funeral Hot Dish. Some of those are pretty comforting if that's the kind of food you're used to. Also, fried chicken is a good choice. Back home, we always put our name and phone number on the underside of the dish in masking tape so the folks would know to whom to return the dish.


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      The Dairy Queen

      Sorry, I meant, but neglected, to provide the link to PrairieHome.org.


      Link: http://www.prairiehome.org/features/h...

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        As a native Minnesotan, I'd like to weigh in on the Prairie Home Companion recipes.

        I think Garison Keilor is funny, but he makes too many generalizations about Minnesota cuisine.

        We NEVER ate this kind of food. My mother would have been ashamed to show her face, serving her family minute rice and canned soup concoctions rife with ground beef and canned green beens or refrigerated biscuits. That would be the day she'd serve something like this.

        Nor would the mothers of my friends have made or served this. The only place I ever ate this kind of food was at camp, or at the cabin (known as a cottage in the rest of the midwest -- a small second home, usually used only in the summer, usually on a remote lake) when someone's dad was cooking. We always thought it was kind of yucky in those days -- just survival-type food.

        We grew up very middle-class in the north of Minnesota in the 70s, and we did not eat this way. In fact, I'd never even seen a "tater tot" until I went away to college and was confronted with one in the school's dining hall.

        Wild rice we did eat in quantity -- and there are a number of wild rice hotdishes we made (and yes, we called it "hotdish" not a casserole). They were never made with canned soup, however, and were a pretty individual thing. This grain holds up well to this kind of cooking, and doesn't get mushy or disintegrate like white rice might (again, this would be real Minnesota wild rice, not from a paddy, hand-harvested and parched and very delicious).

        I just wanted to defend Minnesota cuisine (if there is such a thing) and put the word out that not all people in the state eat like this :)

    2. When I hosted a memorial service/reception for my dear departed boss, I made sure to serve all of his favorite foods, though I still have 5 cans of Cel-ray soda in my pantry (!). If there's anything that comes to mind that your friend's mom really loved, perhaps you could bring that.

      1. m

        My North Carolina relatives always had ham biscuits at funerals. Get packages of small appetizer-size biscuits (the prepackaged ones in the bread section at the supermarket. This is nothing fancy). Cut the biscuits in half and put a piece of Virginia ham slightly larger than the biscuit in the middle. That's it.

        If you don't know what I mean by Virginia ham, it's the really salty cured ham that's thicker than regular cold-cut ham.

        Maybe someone who's from NC/SC can expand on my explanation.

        1. Home made mac and cheese with a good parmesan crust and bits of ham folded in are always a pleaser. A large platter of small sandwiches (assorted varieties). Don't do a dessert. When my father in law died my m-i-l was overwhelmed with the sweet offerings.c

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            I can't smell Krispy Kreme doughnut s without thinking of my father's death - everyone showed up with doughnuts and our house smelled of them for days.
            Take a nice substantial casserolte or stew. If you take something that freezes well, they will think of you gratefuully in a few days

            1. re: hunter moore

              In this situation I always make a chunky minestrone soup. It's not exactly ideal for a buffet, but it's a nice change. Based on my experience in this situation, kind friends and neighbors provided lots of meat, sandwiches, rich casseroles, and sweets. We went for days without a bite of vegetables, so the soup gives a little balance, while still being warm and comforting. And as suggested, a soup or stew will freeze if there's extra food.

          2. Home made mac and cheese with a good parmesan crust and bits of ham folded in are always a pleaser. A large platter of small sandwiches (assorted varieties). Don't do a dessert. When my father in law died my m-i-l was overwhelmed with the sweet offerings.c

            1. Good potato salad is beloved in the South. Ham biscuits are good, but we always made them from scratch. Folks would think badly of us for making packaged biscuits. Cornbread is good and mixed greens cooked with a ham hock are good, too.

              That awful green bean casserole with the cream of mushroom soup and Durkee fried onions is great--everyone loves that (even I, who think its awful, love it) and it is comforting.

              Think casseroles with creamy sauces.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BarbaraF

                Hey! I was going to post to see if any chowhounds would own up to loving this. It sounds horribly good but have never come across it in real life. Now if only I can locate those canned fried onions...

                1. re: julesrules

                  There are ways to improve it--like I've added sauteed fresh mushrooms (with caramelized onions or leeks in them, some sherry), and used frozen or blanched fresh green beans instead of canned, so they are actually green in color. Have added sour cream to the sauce bits, and then instead of using the fried onions throughout, since there are caramelized onions or leeks (garlic, too, now that I think of it) inside, I just use fried onions on top, then you only have to use half of them.

                  I've done it.

                  And then you know what happens? I get crap for gilding the lily, or some dink of a cousin says, "How can you go to chef school and mess up the green bean casserole?"

                  So, be forwarned--if you mess with the recipe, someone who is addicted only to the original, can-oriented version will whine and complain.

                  Oh, and by the way, those fried onions often are found in the condiments section or the canned vegetable aisle. Or they might hang out in the snacks section. Different stores tuck them away in different places. They are awful, purely awful for you, but, well, the casserole apparently ain't right without it.

                  At least, if you talk to my cousins, it isn't....

                  I will also cop to loving fried baloney sandwiches (only with kosher beef bologna, though) with durkee hot sauce on 'em. This fact horrifies my husband.

                  There are just a few things that will out me as a former redneck, and the love of that casserole, those sandwiches and Johnny Cash are three of 'em.

              2. I just saw that the reception was today, so this will have to be for future reference. As a SC native, i can tell you that (at least at the funerals i've been to)they are dominated by pork products- a plethora of ham(canned, smoked, honey, country)and desserts(pound cakes,cobblers,layer cakes. Fresh vegetables and fruit are either feast or famine depending on the season. Also many cassaroles and jello salads(yes people really do still make those). At my grandmother's reception, and especially afterwards, we appreciated simple fruit salads, cooked veggies,and anything to put in the freezer for later. i also like to take homemade sweet potato or buttermilk bisquits to eat with all that ham.