The 5 Most Comforting Funeral Foods

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5. Sheet Cake: A good, old-fashioned Texas sheet cake with a thick layer of chocolate frosting and pecans will fortify even the saddest constitution. It's only a temporary fix, of course. But you can help stave off the tears for a little bit -- especially with the kiddos -- with a dessert that's a hybrid of brownies and Grandma's chocolate cake.

4. Chicken & Spaghetti: Another dish designed to feed the little ones while the parents tend to more important issues, chicken and spaghetti like Mom used to make can also provide the same feeling of comfort to those grownups too. Casseroles are quick and easy to throw together, and you likely already have the ingredients on hand for this one.

3. King Ranch Chicken Casserole: Like the chicken and spaghetti, this classic casserole will feed a family for at least a couple of days, as well as providing the same basic level of comfort as a dish of macaroni and cheese but with a little protein thrown in for good measure. As a bonus, this casserole freezes incredibly well.

2. Baked beans and brisket: Nothing says, "You've been in my thoughts" like a brisket that you smoked for six hours. Add a side of baked beans to make it a meal. Both the brisket and the beans can be eaten over the course of many days, and the brisket will make excellent sandwiches for the kids. (Yes, you can buy one if you don't have a smoker; we won't judge you.)

1. Potato salad and a Honeybaked ham: If you're sincerely East Texan, as I am, you can also make a pea salad (athough this might not be as universally appreciated). The Honeybaked ham is quick to grab from the store and can be used for many applications, from sandwiches to hot dinners to casseroles, and the potato (or pea) salad will keep for days and only get better with time. (Until it spoils; kinda goes without saying, doesn't it?)

What foods do you typically bring to loved ones? What foods do you seek solace in after a funeral service? Leave your own suggestions and traditions in the comments section below.

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Katharine Shilcutt