As Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. We’d like to argue that needing to eat ranks pretty high up there as well. Historically, funerals have been associated with post-service receptions, a time when people can gather, share memories, and eat tea sandwiches prepared by dutiful parishioners. Nowadays, funeral services come in all shapes, forms, and sizes but it’s hard to argue the healing qualities of a good meal. That’s why we’ve managed to uncover so many traditional forms of funeral fare. From Utah’s finest to funeral pie, we cover the spectrum. Bon appetit!
How many casseroles can you think of that merited their own commemorative pin at the Olympics? Say hello to funeral potatoes, a curious combination of cheese, hash browns, mushroom soup, sour cream and potato chips. Typically prepared by members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints Relief Society, funeral potatoes are a crowd-pleasing comfort food that hit the spot during times of sadness.
Should you take part in a graveside service in Estonia, don’t be surprised if mourners produce cabbage rolls, desserts, and vodka in the moments following the burial. Do not, however, be tempted to save some for later. To take any of the food out of the cemetery is considered inauspicious. Instead, conserve your appetite for the larger post-funeral feast which takes place later in the day.
We have the fine folks in Pennsylvania to thank for funeral pie, a custard and raisin gem of a dish that will satisfy even the sweetest of teeth. The dark filling seems suitably appropriate for a post-funeral reception and the fact that it tastes pretty good doesn’t hurt either.
Irish Wake Cake
Irish funerals have a reputation of being boozy affairs, making the need for a hearty cake all the more important. Wake Cake (which actually looks more like a loaf) includes lemon juice, dried currants, and plenty of sugar. We’ll toast to that.
Chow Mein and Laulau
If you should find yourself at a Hawaiian funeral, chances are you’ll come across a plate of laulau and bowls of chow mein. The former is a little packet of chicken or pork, wrapped in a taro leaf and steamed and the latter is likely familiar to any carryout aficionado.
Funeral Meat Sandwiches
Maybe not the most appetizing name, funeral meat refers to a deviled ham concoction served up post-service in South Dakota. Served alongside your classic bars, cakes, and pies, these hearty nibbles are portable, tasty, and can withstand sitting on a serving dish sans refrigeration.
Served in Romania, colaci is a ring-shaped bread that holds tremendous significance. Often, a coin is baked into the colaci and placed in the casket to accompany the deceased on the final journey. In other instances, small loaves are prepared and handed out to funeral guests.
So there you have it, funeral feasts from around the world. Have something to add to the list? Leave us a comment or send us a note.