Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jul 30, 2007 03:25 PM

Food to make someone whose relative has just passed

What foods would you appreciate getting in a similar situation? I'm thinking casserole, because you can always freeze it if you get too much -- but that also seems a little mundane and bland. Any ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Once when we had a particularly difficult death in the family a friend brought a really nice
    platter of vegetables, fruits and dips. When you just don't feel like eating you may at least snack with something like this there. I'm sure it helped us all get a little nourishment when we may not have otherwise. It was very thoughtful and, at least for us, practical.

    Another time someone brought Italian beef and bags of nice rolls and a salad. We could heat it up or freeze it, except for the salad, of course.

    Still, I think that a tasty casserole-type dish is never bad. Comfort food. If you have a recipe you really like I wouldn't worry about it seeming dull. Good is good.

    Good of you to do it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: xena

      This is another case where ethnicity and tradition would play a part in your decision. A good friend of mine brought a ring of cooked shrimp to a third friend's house after her father had passed away. The problem was it was a Jewish shiva (condolence) call and it was just not the thing to do.the bereaved probably have other callers to serve and so a fruit bowl or cookie platter may be appreciated.

    2. Definitely take into account cultural traditions/requirements. Assuming you can cook for them, my vote is something yummy and carb heavy like homemade mac and cheese, lasagna, etc.

      1. Things to make sandwiches with are really helpful. If people are in and out, or someone is hungry, a hot meal is not always the best option. We have had people bring sandwich ingredients and bread or a ham or turkey breast and rolls to the house and everything was always consumed with appreciation. Part of the issue is the size of the family and if there are a lot of people from out of town. Casseroles are good if you know there is a large group.

        1 Reply
        1. re: WCchopper

          I agree with WCchopper. I went to a friend's father's funeral earlier this year, and while everyone brought lots and lots of cakes to the wake, the most comforting, popular thing there was a simple platter of bagels, with mayo, salt and hard boiled eggs on the side.

        2. Thank you so much for the suggestions, all. My friend is eastern european (Georgian). No taboo foods--unless maybe green vegetables. =)

          3 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            I agree with the comfort food recommendations. I live in SW Florida, so people are dying all the time, high age population. I either do a relatively mild, cheesy baked ziti; a pasta salad with lots of cheese, meats (salami, soppresata, etc.) veggies and a vinaigrette so it can sit out without spoiling; or a baked ham or roast beef (Jewish or not) with rolls and sauces. Anything that makes it easy for the grieving and lets them keep fueled.

            1. re: phneale

              You wrote "I do...or a baked ham or roast beef (Jewish or not) with rolls and sauces." Are you really saying that you bring a ham to a Jewish home of mourning? If so, I hope you understand that your choice is a risky one.

              Many Jews who do not keep kosher and may even eat ham on other occasions are often likely to want to stick to tradition during a period of mourning. Even if you're completely confident about the feelings of your immediate friends, you are likely to be unaware of the feelings of every Jewish member of the family in mourning. Since your objective is to "...make it easy for the grieving" avoiding a food like ham seems like an easy and desirable thing to do.

              1. re: Indy 67

                I'm thinking that what phneale meant was that he/she brings ham to non-jewish families and roast beef to jewish families. The syntax just got a little bit screwed up.

          2. I recently experienced a death in the family, and honestly, by the end of the week there was one thing we would have appreciated. A gift certificate to a local pizzeria. People sent us meat platters, fruit baskets, and enough junky food to make us sick; and while it was greatly appreciated by everyone, if there are several days of funeral events, then the main family that is together all the time would definitely appreciate a gift certificate for pizza. (Often just as cheap or cheaper than a meat platter, or fruit basket)

            2 Replies
            1. re: milkyway4679

              Agreed. The other thing that is important is to check in a couple of weeks later with the survivor. Everyone is great the first week and then they all move on to their regular lives. That is when an invitation to come over for dinner or go out together is most appreciated. It is also when the loss hits the hardest.

              1. re: milkyway4679

                We were flooded with wonderful good food after my aunt's funeral. After three days of rich good food, a friend made a White Castle run for us. We just needed junk food at that point. And my aunt would have loved the White Castles.

                One main thing on taking food is put it in a throw away pan. The family does not need to be tracking owners of dishes and returning them.