TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Funeral Food

The other day, I mentioned casually on Facebook that a nice neighbor of ours had come to the door with a Tupperware container full of tuna noodle hotdish (minus the crumbled potato chips for the top). I added snarkily something about it being almost as much fun as attending at a Lutheran funeral.

Well, that seemed to wake up the internet a bit. Almost 200 Facebook friends chimed in with comments. Most spoke favorably — almost wistfully — about funeral food, past and present, like hamburger hotdish and homemade chocolate bars. Although, one Facebooker called the ever popular Cheez Whiz and sliced olive bun-topping “death spread.” (I thought that was a little mean. Maybe just because I like it.)

Jell-O as a side dish was discussed. Jell-O etiquette, even. One Facebook friend suggesting that Jell-O with vegetables, like chopped carrots and cabbage suspended in it, only be served to people you don’t particularly like. And yet another spoke rather highly of it, especially when topped with a thin layer of mayo.

One comment suggested that Catholics feel a little left out in the funeral food area. Oh, well.

The most elegant funeral food I ever had in North Dakota — or anywhere — was at a reception held at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks following an Episcopal funeral one summer. Cucumber sandwiches and chocolate-covered strawberries were served with a nice variety of red and white wine. (All true.) I commiserated with the family at the reception a very long time.

If it weren’t in such bad taste, I would suggest that the viral Marilyn Hagerty move on from writing about chain restaurants and set her highly cultivated foodie sights instead on funeral food. Marilyn seems fixated these days on sticky menus and the size of parking lots, anyway.

I think funeral food reviews would be a nice diversion for Marilyn and one that would be welcomed by readers. Also, it might perk up the church basement ladies a little. They’ve been resting on their laurels way too long, it seems to me.

Just an idea, Marilyn.

2 thoughts on “TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Funeral Food”

  • Helen Murphy September 24, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Great idea! We have noticed Marilyn making fewer comments about the food and more about the menus and surroundings. It might inspire the church ladies to try some new recipes. Stories about the ladies and men doing the planning and cleanup for years would make for good reading if the menu was lacking.

  • Sheri McMahon September 24, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    When my father-in-law passed away, his memorial service was held at a Presbyterian church. All they had to eat was thin little cookies. When my cousin’s daughter died at a tragically young age (26) in the early 90’s, her funeral was held at a Lutheran church in NW Minnesota. When the ceremonies were over, doors rolled back in the rear of the sanctuary to reveal a dining room that looked like a Country Kitchen. And the food?–oh my. Several hot dishes, I seem to remember ham and scalloped potatos, salads, desserts. I haven’t seen the cheese/olive buns much for quite a while, but they did show up at a church event I attended Memorial Day–and, yep, green jello with celery and carrots and mayo topping. But I ate the glorified rice.


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