Bringing food to grieving friends and family is a way of sustaining people close to us, both literally and figuratively. Preparing meals for the bereaved is a tradition in many cultures (during the Jewish mourning period called shiva, it’s forbidden to prepare your own food), but there is more to bringing food than simply dropping off a casserole.
Writing for the Jew and the Carrot, a website dedicated to Jews, food, and sustainability, Tamar Fox has compiled a list of tips for considerate food-bearing sympathizers.
In addition to etiquette guidelines (calling ahead, respecting dietary needs, etc.), Fox writes that food-related memories, such as a favorite meal or a funny story, can open up a healing dialogue. Fox writes that it “can be awkward to try to express sympathy without resorting to clichés. But food can be a great vehicle to beginning a conversation about the deceased.”