What Should You Bring To A Funeral?

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Southerners have mastered funeral etiquette. When friends and neighbors have suffered a loss, we are at the doorstep with a covered dish in hand and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We are ready to help plan, host, and entertain to ease the burden of those we love. One of the most important elements of any Southern gathering is the food, and funerals are no exception. Our minds immediately jump to a casserole that's easy to heat up and store in the freezer. In fact, you may have heard of some Southern grandmothers preparing their iconic casserole and popping it in the freezer for the specific purpose of serving it at her own funeral. Are casseroles the best option for a family in mourning? Should you bring more than one dish, or will that clutter up the family's fridge? We turned to Elizabeth Heiskell, author of the upcoming book What Can I Bring?, to ask her advice on the best dishes for a Southern funeral.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[music][audible] There is no reason in the world that you should ever and I mean ever bring one of those plastic dome containers filled with all that sleek deli mate. Number one, it did ever fit in the refrigerator and you've got to think about space. There's going to be plenty of room for all the other food to fit in. And plus, who in the world while they are mourning wants to fix some big all deli sandwich? To a grieving family you always wanna bring something that you can serve at either breakfast, lunch or dinner, that's why I love to bring my coca cola and brown sugar ham. I think probably one of the strangest traditions that we have Is that a lot of people would specify exactly how they want their funeral day to go in their will. And I'm not talking about just how they want the service to go .I mean every single aspect, all the way down to what sort of starch they want served and the shade of lilies need to pick. For the casket cover as well as the flowers for the luncheon afterwards. [MUSIC] We're gonna start with lots of bourbon, we feel like there is absolutely no reason not to set up a full bar, especially if the one that's in the coffin enjoyed a little toddy around 5:00. [music][audible] So, lots of booze and lots of food is going to be the perfect way to celebrate the ends to one's life. One of our friends here at Southern Living had a grandmother that prepared all of the casseroles ahead of time and had them in the [chuckles] freezer just to make sure that the funeral food was absolutely perfect. Now, some people may say that this is a little bit controlling. But in the South we think it's brilliant. You don't want anybody messing up your casseroles. I would be perfectly offended and probably come back from the grave if somebody did not make my green bean casserole properly. [MUSIC] We know it's gonna have to start with a can of cream of [music][audible] And that's just what I call it. It's a can of cream of chicken. It's a can of cream of mushroom. It's a can of cream of celery. It really that matter. They're all completely interchangeable. These casseroles are the bed rock of all Southern funerals and lowered[?] honey if you throw some crushed up potato chips on top of it, that's just go make it all the better. [MUSIC] Bringing more than one item to a funeral is really, really smart. What I suggest, though, is that you bring something for them to eat that day or maybe the next day And then being something that's going to go directly on the freezer, make sure you have it in a parax dish that's covered and labelled so that a month later when they pull it out they know what it is, where it's from and how to prepare it. What can I bring is all about knowing what your friends and family need even before they know what they need and bringing it Yet. [MUSIC]
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