Funeral Food

One of my neighbors suddenly passed away. Our families are very close, there are two teenage boys that play basketball with my son, we carpool all the time. The father did all the cooking, as he owned a catering company.

I don’t know what to take to them. This is L.A. In July, we don’t really do casseroles, as in the Midwest. I cook, the boys’ mother doesn’t, so I want to help.

Please let me know if you have any ideas for dishes I can take over there a couple times a week, for the next few weeks. Namaste.

I would have your boy ask their boys what they like.

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So sorry for the loss of your friend.

Meat and fixings for tacos will give them a quick meal that they can customize. A pot of meat balls and sauce along with pasta and sandwich rolls covers dinner and lunch. A quiche can be used for any meal. Fresh fruit salad, chicken salad, hummus and pitas lend themselves to light meals. Maybe a breakfest casserole that they can bake in the morning.

Don’t write off the casseroles. Sometimes comfort food is the only thing that appeals during grief.

What ever you bring will be appreciated.


Your a good friend and they are lucky to have your help and support
at this difficult time . Wishing you, your boys and this family peace and healing
and strength in the days to come.
You didn’t mention it, but sometimes religion and or culture play a roll
in what people eat when a death occurs, often extended family visit or just
tradition. Are you aware of any particular leanings? Could you call his business
to find out what the family’s preferences are, or was the business a one
man show? I hope that with the support of friends like you and your boys
this family gets through this terrible time with just a bit more ease. Nutritious comfort food at a time when both are needed … posting links because it’s quicker than describing what I had in mind
Maybe a simple pasta with a salad. Some garlic bread

a salad that could be a complete meal

a fabulous cobb salad
or Italian or American chef salad


So thoughtful of you
If your friend has teenage boys, they will always be hungry, just like my 43 year old son who eats almost every 2 hours when at home.
I buy whole NY strip or filet when on sale, have the butcher slice it very thin and freeze them in individual portions. . All I have to do is make a batch of sauteed onions, garlic and peppers in EVOO, and when my son is hungry and I do not feel like cooking between meals, he can just take those meat out, pan fry it, place a slice of cheese on it , toast some pre sliced focaccia bread, add hot cherry pepper hoagie spread and the precooked onion pepper mixture. Steak and Cheese Sandwich is always a welcome fast food in my home . Even my two pomeranians look forward to it ( of course without the hot cherry pepper and focaccia) They can smell it when we are cooking it and even knows what it is when I take them out of the freezer .
I think you SV, and that could be frozen in individual portions which they can throw in the grill or fry pan as needed?
I remember your cooking some meat one day? last minute or something? Well, those beef looks very good.
I am sure it will be great comfort food with salad, or as a sandwich? or with French Fries.
Hope this helps

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You have made an excellent case for a prepaid $X account at one or more delivery joints.


I’m thinking more snacks, like pies, brownies and crumb cakes. With teenagers that won’t go to waste.

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-Martha stewart’s mac and cheese with a side salad

  • breakfast burritos
  • calzones
  • chili and cornbread
  • fresh fruit salad and muffins
  • cold sesame peanut noodles
  • egg salad/tuna salad and a great loaf of bread
  • cookies

Find out if mom or her sons plan to start cooking. If so, offer to go over there a few times to teach them some versatile basics, like roast chicken, and/or their favorite meals. Use their kitchen rather than yours, to avoid variables associated with equipment specifics.


How about cold sandwiches, the fixings for easy to assemble meals.
Pizza fixins for homemade prep, heat and serve
Fresh fruit and vegetables they can grab on the go
Canned tuna and chicken for quick salads and sandwiches
Fixins for burgers
Beef stew
Chicken fingers

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Hi, Erica:

This is really an outstanding suggestion, since the OP is already close.

So much of the “funeral food” custom is about supporting the bereaved materially through their private grief, sparing them from drudgery in mourning. What you suggest does that and simultaneously offers re-engagement and a way forward. That sounds like the epitome of support to me.




Where I grew up funeral food (or graduations for that matter) was invariably ham buns on potato rolls, potato or macaroni salad and a relish tray.

Dessert was cake and coffee.

It’s easy to make in advance, and doesn’t wilt in the heat.

Lasagne is also always correct, as is meatloaf and mashed potatoes.


+1 Lasagne. Especially if frozen. One can eat for a long, long time on individually frozen lasagna.

We recently were gifted some banana bread post-funeral. This is filling, not bad for you, and lasts at least a week or two.

Why wouldn’t you do a tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top? Could be just the thing to put a smile on their faces. Don’t forget the cream of mushroom and peas…

Also, if you are looking for an LA style casserole, chicken or beef enchiladas and a salad are always good.

Because Midwest.

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I grew up in the midwest and live in LA for 20+ years now, and don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat or even talk about eating tuna noodle casserole out here! In the midwest, they used to even serve it as a school lunch.

@Bookwich, I’d probably do something like:
lasagna/baked ziti (only if you want to run your oven)
spaghetti & meatballs
Teriyaki beef/chicken with rice and stirfried veggies (they can assemble their own bowls)
Taco meat and all the fixings for tacos
Fajitas (meat/onions/peppers) with tortillas, rice and beans
Lula kabobs with hummus, tzatziki, salad and pita
Chicken tikka masala, basmati rice and Trader Joe’s frozen naan
Chili Dogs (I bet the boys would like some “junk food”)
BBQ Chicken with macaroni or potato salad and corn on the cob or baked beans

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Not just yet, but when they and you are up to it, perhaps find out a few things that Dad used to make that was special to him and the family. Assist them as a group to re create these dishes in his honor. Could be a nice way of honoring and keeping his memory alive while creating a new tradition for the family


The one of the last times I did “funeral” food was actually before my friend’s mother died. I had some drumsticks in the freezer so thawed/cooked them with a simple herb marinade, made a big salad, a veggie dish (I forget what it was) and a starch (ditto). Brought it all over and the family dug into them. My friend said it was a great primal release, chomping away at the drums. I know I brought food again after that but I don’t remember what it was.

I would probably do something similar again–probably chicken breasts, again cooked simply, that can be eaten “as is” or made into chicken salad or another “left-over” preparation. Kabobs are also good (any protein) and simple to prepare. If you’re up to grilling, that’s a perfect way to go. Casseroles tend to look funky after a few days IMHO.

One last thought–some people’s comfort food can be another person’s “I won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole.” Best to know what their preferences are before you send/bring anything over. Great idea (above) to get input from the neighbor’s kids as to what they like. You never know how they’ll respond.

It’s great that you’re doing this, hope it works out well.


Hey, I have a dessert idea for you now. This is just a guess, but I will bet you don’t see a lot of lime Jell-O with fruit cocktail and Kool whip out there either. It would go great with the tuna casserole.