Don't be getting all offended by the term funeral food. What else would you call food that is prepared for after the funeral? Bereavement Food? Doesn't work for me. My minister, Scott, thinks I should refer to it as Soul Food. Southern Food, Soul Food or Southern Funeral Food are pretty much the same. However, Southern Funeral Food seems to always have three ingredients that are sometimes missing from the other two, Cool Whip, Velveeta cheese and cream of mushroom soup. If you have never been to a country church for this meal after a funeral you have never had real country cookin'.
If you are driving around in the country during the week or on a Saturday and come across a little country church with lots of cars around ,there is going to be funeral food there soon. Stop in and have a bite. They will make you feel welcome and feed you til you drop. This will be the menu; fried chicken, country ham, city ham, roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (Velveeta), green beans, corn, Lima beans, squash casserole (cream of mushroom soup), cabbage of some kind, kale or collard greens, and ofcourse mashed potatoes, etc., at least 5 different jello type salads, all sweet, homemade yeast rolls, cornbread. The dessert table would put any fine restaurant to shame. These are the basics, angel food cake, jam cake, chocolate cake, apple cake, blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler, apple pie, pecan pie, chocolate cream pie and more. Plus at least 5 tubs of Cool Whip. The beverages are Maxwell House coffee, sweet tea and lemonade. Don't be asking for unsweet tea or any kind of fancy coffee.
The vegetables will all be fresh from the garden unless it's winter then they will use their canned or frozen. Everything is homemade from scratch. Not one of these women have a recipe for anything except maybe their cakes.
At my church these events are all organized by Betty Rose, who I have known all my life and not a more precious person is living today than Betty. She has committees for different foods and it rotates with the funerals. Did I mention that Betty is in her 80's. I have always considered myself a fairly good cook, I couldn't hold a candle to these women. They don't have computers to get new recipes, they don't even want them, they might have an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook or Good Housekeeping. They use hog jowl and bacon grease to season with, more butter than Paul Deen ever thought about.
Our oldest church member is Louise Charles, 90. Louise still drives, still has 40 plus people for Christmas dinner and last summer I stopped by to get her pepper relish recipe and she was painting her house. Betty would not hurt your feeling for the world and Louise will tell you what she thinks in a heart beat.div>
I feel very lucky to have been ask to be in this fine group of women. Today will be our first funeral of the year and first since last summer. We had a 15 minute meeting after church Sunday and Betty gave us our instructions. No one knows how many people will be there, she mentioned they were expecting a large crowd. This lunch will be served without one problem, I promise. There is no such thing as running out of food. The Chef at the finest restaurant in the country serving 1,000 people could not do a better job than this group of ladies.
From time to time I will be posting some of my favorite Southern Funeral Food recipes and I wanted you to know what I was talking about.