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Food and Funerals


takomabaker
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It's definitely a Jewish custom. When somebody passes away, the family sits Shiva for one week and traditionally friends and family provide the meals for the week. While many people still do the cooking themselves, it's very common to have a deli or caterer send a meal to the house.

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I do it in the West but I am both Jewish and was raised in a family where this was common practice. I have provided food for many households who were not only newly bereaved but also in the midst of a health crisis or perhaps adjusting to life with a newborn.

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I do it in the West but I am both Jewish and was raised in a family where this was common practice.  I have provided food for many households who were not only newly bereaved but also in the midst of a health crisis or perhaps adjusting to life with a newborn.

Everyone does it in small town Ontario and since I'm Jewish too, I bring lots and lots!!

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It happens in Hawaii, too. We have a mix of many different cultures, so it may not be strictly followed by all cultures. For instance, the Japanese and Chinese custom is to give the family money (always wrapped up or in an envelope) toward the funeral expenses, then immediately after the funeral, the family holds a banquet that people who attended the funeral attend.

When my husband died last year, Filipino friends immediately came over with food, and over the next few days, people sent gift trays of sweets. After his memorial service on the beach, we held a picnic on the beach.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Here in mid-Missouri, we seem to have a combination of traditions. We both bring food to families and, in my town, often have meals at church immediately following the funeral and burial.

My grandpa jokes thatt most people only go to the burial to find out which church is hosting the lunch. My church, the Catholic Church in town (and the largest congregation), has fried chicken catered in and potluck side dishes from several families who live in the regional area of the deceased's family. It's very organized and a really important part of our parish budget; we see it as a major part of fellowship (not to mention a vital part of Burying the Dead - a Corporal Work of Mercy). Other churches go all potluck or have sandwiches and PL sides. Some organize food to be sent for the family for a few meals a week for a few weeks.

Food we bring around the time of the funeral isn't necessarily just for the day of the funeral. Sometimes it's a matter of sending muffin or fruit platters for people who show up at the homes before or after services, doing a round of grocery shopping, or even just showing up with a few coffees and donuts. There aren't a ton of casseroles that show up, but deli platters are big. I try to bring salads or veggie side dishes, since things that do show up are generally meat- or carb-centered.

I would say that more than food, potted plants and flower sprays are the go-to bereavement gift. When my Grandma died last year, our house was full of peace lilies and potted palms, til I killed them. I have a decidedly brown thumb.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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When I was a small child we lived in the Chicago area and I remember my mom bringing casseroles and baked hams to families who had suffered a loss. We're not Jewish or Southern :biggrin: . I always figured it was a sort of kindess so the bereaved wouldn't have to cook in their time of mourning.

As an adult, I do the same with my friends who suffer a loss. With a house full of people after the services, something like a ham comes in handy.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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My father-in-law recently passed away and two people went above and beyond anything I have seen before when they prepared and delivered complete meals for a large group on two successive nights. What was more remarkable to me was that they weren't even close relations. One was the mother and the other an aunt of a granddaughter-in-law. Whether this represents a local tradition or only the goodness of two people, I couldn't say.

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I'm a Roman Catholic from Bombay, India.

Usually when there is a death in a family, relatives and friends take on the responsibility of cooking meals for the direct family on the day of the funeral and the day after. This could be either in the home where the person has passed away or in their own homes.

We also have the ceremony of a 'month's mind' mass on the day that marks bereaved's one month of passing. Depending on the time of the mass - morning, late morning or evening - the family of the bereaved provides a meal for their close family and friends.

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