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Plain & Simple for Funeral

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We had a close family friend pass during the night and I want to take some food to the house as I'm sure there will be plenty of visitors. I need some ideas for plain and simple food that won't require much work on their part. My mind has gone blank.
Thanks for any help and I love this site.

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  1. Hank, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

    Basically, anything in a casserole dish that is easy to keep in the fridge, then re-heat for large groups, or just scoop out a slice of and pop in the microwave. Maybe lasagna or enchiladas or baked pasta with cheese or one of the hot dishes listed in Prairie Home Companion website. I know it sounds crazy, but it is good comfort food. There is even one called Funeral Hot Dish.


    Another thing you can do to help is put your name on the underside of the dish in masking tape. This helps the family remember who to return the dish to, which makes it easier on them.


    1. Hanky, I'm very sorry for your loss. During our own, recent experience, a surprising hit was a gift of a large amount of Pastrami and big bag of Kaiser rolls. People could make their own sandwich when they felt hungry. (Along with chips, pickles and beer.)

      1. Hanky, sorry for your loss. I too lost a dear friend recently. We're still assisting the children with hot meals.

        Chicken pot pie, Mac & cheese, even a pre-ordered pizza, called in & paid for; del'vd to their home has been welcome.

        1. Thanks to all of you for the suggestions. This gives me lots of great ideas. The Prairie Home Companion site is wonderful.
          Guess it's off to the kitchen to get started.
          Thank you all again!

          1. Lasagna, casseroles, stews - nothing "interesting" or novel, just basic comfort food kinds of things. One thought is not to skimp on vegs - people tend not to eat very well at times like this but over-heavy, greasy food really does leave you feeling less than wonderful afterward.

            You might an extra batch or two and freeze it in couple-of-person meal size portions for use during the next week or two.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MikeG

              I agree with what MikeG said about vegetables, and would also recommend fresh fruit. When our family was in morning, we were happy to receive a beautiful fruit platter in addition to all of the other food that people brought.

            2. I'm from the south, so when my father past we had more food than we had any idea what to do with. Southern favorite for after the funeral is fried chicken: lasts a long time, is good hot or cold or for a snack, will freeze if there is too much.

              That would be the one thing I'd say: be sure and bring food that will freeze well so they can eat it over the coming weeks when they feel sad and don't feel like cooking.

              My deepest sympathies.

              1. My "go-to" dish for this situation is lasagna. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't like lasagna in some form (though I'm sure they're about to reply to this post). I'll make the pasta and the sauce but other than that, I keep it very plain and simple - pasta, sauce & cheese. I'll also drop over a salad in a re-sealable container and a bottle of dressing.

                Sandwich fixings are also good (nice bread, platter of cheese & meat, lettuce, pickles, small jars of mustard & mayo) or a vegetable & dip platter or even a cheese & crackers platter. If you can, make them on small catering trays with covers to they're easy to take out and put back.

                Quick breads (savoury with cheese & confit) are simple, easy and make a nice snack when the appetite is down. You could also brings scones with a nice selection of teas.

                1. I'm sorry for your loss, and hope the next few days are filled with the love of your family and friends.

                  You almost can't go wrong with good cold cuts and sliced cheese, and good sandwich bread or rolls, people nearly always can get down half a sandwich when anything more complicated seems like too much.

                  1. A good spiral sliced ham would be a good thing to bake and take along with some small sandwich rolls and maybe a jar of honey mustard. It's nice enough to put out when there are visitors, and great for making a little sandwich when it is time for a meal and no one wants to cook.

                    Also consider a side salad that lasts a few days in the fridge -- potato salad, cole slaw, broccoli and bacon, pasta salad, etc.

                    I'm sorry that you have lost a friend.

                    1. Hanky: Please accept my condolences as well. I lost a dear friend who was from Hawaii earlier this week and will be preparing food for her Hawaiian-style memorial service.

                      Thanks for asking for the advice. I will be making food to take to the service and appreciate everyone's ideas. I am planning on making lumpia and siu mais or poststickers. My friend's husband wants it to be a celebration of her life so he has asked everyone to come in Hawaiian dress.

                      1. Sympathies to you upon your loss... similar to lasagne, but quicker (for me) ...I almost always make stuffed shells and bring along a baguette. One time, a neighbor's daughter called me to say "Thank you for the shells...we just devoured them and they were so easy to re-heat."

                        1. I usually take one of my chocolate pound cakes. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28368...

                          It is very moist and will last up to a week. It is nice to have with coffee, tea, or a glass of port, and would not be bad with a good single malt or fine bourbon too.

                          I am sorry you have lost a friend and neighbor.

                          1. One thing we loved when we had a death was a big pot of homemade soup.People could just grab a coffee mug and eat.

                            1. Sorry for your loss, Hanky. The thing we most appreciated when we had a loss in the family was a huge slow cooker filled with vegetable soup and platters of sandwich makings. We didn't have to think about heating the soup up and our friend just kept refilling it. The best part for me was when I realized that she'd opened up about 100 cans of Campbell's and Progresso vegie soups, mixed them to together and put them in plastic containers.
                              "I know you're a foodie..." she said. Then we laughed so hard we ended up sitting on the floor together. I know, it wasn't the soup...but it was just so great.

                              1. So sorry. And during the holidays...

                                If you can get your hands on some coney rolls or snowflake rolls, finger sandwiches are easy to grab, easy to take on the go, too. Make a few varieties--tuna, ham, roast beef, or turkey.

                                I go along with all the above posters who suggested pastas.
                                Even the kids in my family like chicken ziti and broccoli. A big tray of that would get some veggies into them and be easy to reheat.

                                Finally, although it's much maligned, is a quiche. It can serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner and depending on what you put in it it's cheap to make. Some cheese, some asparagus, some ham maybe?

                                Last thing...Dairy Queen had awesome tips but I'd suggest giving in dishes/trays you don't want back. I remember the last thing I needed was to think "Oh, I have to get Joan's platter back to her". If you don't have anything "Giveable" at home, they sell reheatable reusable stuff in the tupperware/tinfoil aisle in supermarkets.

                                1. My condolences Hank. If you have a crock pot to loan, a big pot of chicken soup is always welcomed, especially with the cooler weater. I would also pick up a large package of thicker foam soup bowls and spoons to bring along as well. Oopsy I see another poster already mentioned soup.

                                  1. This is going to sound gross but if you are low on cash and ideas, a recipe that people will eat (Cheap, fast, good) is Hamburger Helper/tuna helper.

                                    A few pounds of hamburger or a few pounds of tuna, a few boxes of that, and a disposable aluminum foil baking tray. Its really low brow comfort food, but it comforts and its good if you dont have a lot of time or money to cook. I also like to bring a bottle of wine. Wine always makes me feel more human, you know?

                                    1. So sorry for your loss.

                                      Rice pudding holds up well and can be eaten warm or cold, and is also pretty inexpensive to make. It's practically a tradition in my small hometown on the post-service buffet table, and I just can't imagine a funeral without it. So comforting...

                                      1. This is along the same lines as some other posters, but I'd basically put together a big basket of picnic-type food: bread and crackers, cheeses, hard french salami, sun-dried tomato spread & a nice mustard, few bags of baby carrots, some chips, some cookies, bunch of apples, and a bag of good coffee.
                                        If you wanted to do something homemade, you could roast a chicken and then slice off the meat to be used in sandwiches.

                                        We did this for, well, I guess it was the opposite of your situation -- our friends had a baby -- and it was very helpful.

                                        I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm sure anything you bring will be very appreciated.

                                        1. Sorry for your loss. When my grandmother died recently, we did as many others have suggested a do-it-yourself bar. Maybe it's the Jews in us, but sandwiches were the big hit... Turkey, pastrami, corned beef, a little cheese and tomatoes, good mustard, some rye, egg, kaiser rolls, and of course pickles. Some potato salad, egg salad, and/or coleslaw. And rugelach.

                                          And, to make clean up simple, bring paper plates and garbage bags... We had people help clean up, and we thought this was really great at the time.

                                          Again, I'm very sorry.