Serious Eats: Talk

Funeral Food

I'm sitting here working on a list of things I am making for my aunt's funeral (not sure when, she hasn't died yet, but I have been given permission to plan the menu anyway), and it got me wondering what other people deem funeral-appropriate.

When I first started cooking for funerals fifteen years ago or so, I sort of set guidelines for myself, number one on the list being that if someone has died the least I could do was cook everything from scratch. Then I tried to figure out foods that were comforting, a bit indulgent, but not overly festive.

I change things depending on the season, the person who has died, and my mood, but all the following have been served multiple times (it's a very odd mix):

Pimento cheese with veges and crackers.

Rice salad- it changes with each funeral, sometimes it's Italian, sometimes Asian, sometimes Indian-inspired.
Orzo salad.
A peasant-type salad of tomatoes, roasted peppers, and chunks of cheese with lots of herbs (Aug-Oct only, when tomatoes are good here).

Lasagne Bolognese or baked penne with country-style ragu (The Splendid Table).

Carrot cake (Sheila Lukins), oatmeal cookies, gingersnaps (Fannie Farmer cookbook, but I use half butter, add fresh & candied ginger), fruit pies, pound cake.

So, what do you cook?

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