Death and hunger

Charles 4 Comments

Funerals in Britain are customarily followed by eating and drinking. Are there any time-honoured foods served at funerals? Are there traditional regional variants? Are there any funeral-specific favourites — the sorts of food people associate most strongly with funerals? I’m not talking generic sausage rolls and eggy sandwiches here.

Is the custom of taking food to the bereaved still going strong? I’m not aware that it is. An Englishman’s home is his castle, after all, an English family a very private affair.

I ask because every time I read a piece in an American paper about funeral food I reflect that they seem to do it so much better than us, and in far greater quantities. If you are interested in pondering further, there’s a good piece which illustrates what I’m getting at in the Houston Press here. Do read the blog to which it links, too.

Is that we just eat anything after a funeral nowadays? Is it the case that we very rarely sit down to do it, except on soft furnishings? Anything in that?

Any views? Is this a matter of any importance whatsoever? (What a lot of questions!)

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Rupert Callender
13 years ago

We did a local funeral two days ago. The son of the woman who died said that just before the funeral he went up stairs for a shower, and when he came down, the kitchen table was groaning with food brought by neighbours for the do after.
The thing is, its the squeeky wheel that gets the grease. People jump at the opportunity to help in such a down to earth and achievable way, but they must be given permission to do so.
Perhaps that notion is at the heart of all of this movement.

13 years ago

Brilliant picture – I thought it was a novelty coffin! (well, I did once see one that was a chunky KitKat, with ‘death by chocolate’ written on it).

13 years ago

Gosh, “death by chockolate”? now that is extreme humor…

thanks for this entry. When my mum died we all felt food drift into the backgrownd and ate convenience foods or went out although we couldnt really afford it but whenever I will next hear of a death I will most certainly bring food; it’s such a practical way to support someone in times of grief.

Charles Cowling
13 years ago

Sonya, extreme humour is always welcome here. It finds a safe home and a warm welcome. It’s interesting, I think, how words can fail to communicate anything of value to bereaved people. We mumble, “So sorry to hear of your loss,” or “She will be missed,” or whatever, but it often fails to do either side any good. This is a good point you make, I think. Taking food is a way of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’. Do you remember the newspaper headline when Princess Diana died: “SHOW US YOU CARE”? It was directed at the royal… Read more »