Interesting Facts About Funeral Food Traditions
Sharing a meal together after a funeral is customary in many cultures around the globe as it enables family and friends to share memories of the one who passed on. Preparing a condolence dish or meal for the deceased's family is a loving (and practical) way to express your sympathy for their loss. Funeral food traditions provide comfort and sustenance in time of need, making them widely accepted all over the world. Here are a few ways different cultures celebrate these traditions.
Traditional Funeral Dishes
In the Jewish culture, families partake of the “seudat havara’ah — the ‘meal of comfort’ — after a loved one is buried. Traditionally, this meal consists of hard-boiled eggs. Jewish families today, however, may alter the menu to suit personal taste and preference. Those of the Hindu faith aren't permitted to eat meat when mourning the loss of a loved one. Families in this culture are often given fruit baskets or vegetable samosas (a deep-fried pastry containing potato, onions, peas and spices) for their funeral meal. In Mexico, they celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) by eating traditional sweet bread at their loved one’s grave.
If you attend a Korean funeral, you may be served Yukgaejan — a spicy beef soup that contains scallions, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, chili and garlic — with rice as the funeral meal. In Ireland, the famous wake cake is still the all-time favorite comfort food for funerals. The traditional wake cake recipe calls for cream cheese mixed with dried fruits to give it a rich, luscious taste. American funeral comfort food ranges from Southern fried chicken to classic Midwest casseroles. Louisiana is famous for its jambalaya while Idaho has its signature potato cheese dish topped with cream sauce and butter. In contrast, at an Amish funeral, you’re more likely to be served a simple, yet tasty raisin filled pie.
Preparing a home cooked meal to gift the family of the deceased is a tradition well worth preserving as it’s an expression of your concern and love.
Funeral Meal Prep Tips
If you’re planning to make a home-cooked meal for a funeral, the following tips can help your meal be a blessing to those who receive it. Include a list of the ingredients you used to prepare your meal to avert problems with food allergies. You can also attach brief instructions for reheating the meal or storing it. Avoid elaborate dishes or meals when possible. Simple dishes are easier to reheat and keep as well as easier to digest during this emotional time. If you can’t cook or lack time to prepare food, drop off fresh produce or baked goods from a local bakery for the deceased’s family to show you care. Don't forget to include disposable plates and silverware with your meal to minimize dishwashing afterward.
When it’s time to lay your loved one to rest, we at Northside Chapel Funeral Directors and Crematory will be there for you in your time of need. Call us at 770-645-1414 to pre-plan your funeral or help you arrange a memorable service for a loved one who has recently passed on.