Toasting over flavorful funeral foods

Food is our common ground, a universal experience. ~ James Beard

The after-funeral meal is a remarkable way to dive into the diversity of this incredible country. Sharing a delicious meal over stories about a cherished friend or family member unites people of different colors, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. More significantly, “breaking bread” with one another creates community. Below are comfort foods you may have the pleasure of experiencing from common regional and ethnic groups across the country.

Flavorful Funeral Foods Mexican

Mexican Americans

After a funeral mass, the death of a loved one is usually celebrated in the reception area of a church. Traditional foods like tacos filled with beans or potatoes, chicken with mole sauce, beef with chiles or green tomatillos sauce, rice, sweetbreads and Mexican pastries are served. Friends usually provide a side dish to help support the family.

Flavorful funeral foods in the deep south

Deep South

Be prepared to delight in mouthwatering foods that comfort the soul. A buffet of classic southern dishes like fried chicken, barbecue, macaroni and cheese, cheesy potatoes, collard greens, and cornbread will satisfy your palate as you wash it down with sweet tea.

Flavorful Funeral Foods Arab American

Arab Americans

With many countries comprising the Arab culture, traditional foods vary from place to place. Dishes with lamb, rice, and yogurt sauce are common. Pastries like Baklava and Halvah, a sweet dessert made from honey, flour, pine nuts and regional ingredients, are enjoyed with coffee.

Flavorful Funeral Foods Asian Americans

Asian American

Many foods served at Asian American funerals are peppered with symbolism. Rice, for example, is a symbol of life. Chicken helps the soul of the departed fly to heaven while duck protects the spirit as it makes its way to the afterlife. In one interesting tradition, a display of dim sum is laid at the foot of the dead’s casket. Buddhist priests exorcise the sins of the deceased when they engage in a chant that transfers the sins to the dim sum. The ‘sin eaters’ consume the dim sum to ensure the dead is released from sin and any other wrongdoing.

When the deceased originates from an unfamiliar background, not knowing what to expect can prevent us from participating in end-of-life celebrations. Whether it be weddings or funerals, a sense of appreciation and gratitude for other cultures and traditions is strengthened by attending these momentous occasions. Besides, you might just discover a new favorite dish.