So, I have to admit, it feels a bit morbid to be talking about this, but here we go. In the South, we have rather large families. Families aren't blood only-they include our church friends, people we work with and good neighbors. When we lose someone we love, we cook. It is a given that a meal will be served after each funeral service. That being said, I have not always been a fan of this. Understand the whys and hows of the concept, but never felt comfortable with it. These meals are often served at the church of the deceased person or at the home of an immediate family member. All those out of the circle of the immediate family are expected to contribute. Funeral foods are like celebration foods (later post) and comfort foods combined. Also, they must be foods that "keep well" (don't spoil easily), as any leftover will be divided and sent home with grieving family members.
Fried chicken, meat platters, cheese platters, fruit salads, casseroles of any kind, etc., are the types of thing we would see set up buffet style. The foods are always home cooked.....nothing else would do. Nothing says lovin' like something fresh outta the oven! Sweet tea and lemonade are often served for beverages and assorted cookies, cakes and pies for dessert. Tupperware is seen in abundance and each persons containers are marked for two reasons. Easy identification and so thank you card lists can be made. Y'all know we Southerners ALWAYS send thank-you cards!!
Funeral meals always include reminiscing and tears of remembrance, sorrow and love. Sharing a meal together is such a bonding experience and what better way to honor a loved one? As I said before, I haven't always been fond of funeral meals. To me, it seemed like another needless chore for a family who is most likely exhausted AND consumed by grief. After losing several members of my immediate family in the the last few years, I have changed my opinion.