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Oct 12, 2011 11:17 AM

What homecooked meals are best to bring to Jewish home during Shiva (period of mourning)?

I'm looking for some ideas for a kosher meal to bring to my friend's parent's house. They practice Conservative Judaism if that is relevant. Any threads I've searched have recommended bringing store-bought food but I'd rather bring something homemade. Preferably something pareve (no meat/dairy) that isn't too acidic (my friend has a condition, no tomatoes/oj). My first idea was a Spanish Tortilla, but I feel like there has to be something more traditional/flavorful.

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  1. Please check with a good friend of theirs. A conservative friend of mine does not want anyone bringing homemade food for religious occasions unless they maintain a true Kosher kitchen. That is why so many recommend store-bought foods.

    1 Reply
    1. re: travelerjjm

      Ditto that. Even if the parents don't strictly observe dietary laws there may be other family members who do, so they may have a desire to maintain consistency. Store-bought is rarely an insult in such cases.

    2. Here are some Kosher restaurants you could order from down the shore:

      Google "kosher central new jersey". There's quite a bit to choose from.

      1. If you go kosher deli route, think finger food", something that could be picked up with a napkin - small potato knishes for example. You could bring a nice fruit plate arranged on a disposal platter/tray.

        1. Ditto to all the above - although I can understand your desire to put some love and effort into your preparation - if they are "kosher" then making something in a non-kosher kitchen would not be appreciated by them. Of course, if you can find out if Kosher matters at all - and if it doesn't - for not all Jewish families are kosher - then you can cook or bake to your heart's content!
          I am sure, just by your presence, and your desire to comfort them, you will be appreciated greatly.

          1. I am sorry for your friend's loss. I agree with the posters above, but I would also like to recommend a food style. The Shiva week is very hectic and emotionally draining. Often, those who are sitting Shiva have very little time to eat their meals in between the visits of friends and relatives. I have found that soup is greatly appreciated as it is a filling snack to help fill the belly when time is short. Also, sometimes the mourners do not have the same interest in food as they normally do so soup can nourish without being overwhelming. Fresh bread and spreads are also appreciated. I agree about fruit platters. Bagels and lox/tuna platters are also often found at Shivas.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cappucino

              Indeed that is the reason why food is brought in the first place; it's not for the visitors, it's for the mourners, who if left to their own devices will probably not feel up to the effort of preparing food for themselves. Thus soup is a great idea.

              1. re: zsero

                It's been a decade since we sat shiva for my father, but what stands out in my memory is a huge bowl of fresh green salad that my cousins brought over as part of a meal. So much shiva food is heavy and starchy--lots of kugels and pastas, not to mention sweets of all sorts--that it was a major treat to have fresh green vegetables. Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but I was extremely grateful that my relatives thought a little bit out of the box. So consider a salad or a tray of crudites, in addition to or instead of the other items suggested.