29 March 2010

funeral potatoes

Yesterday in Relief Society, Sister B. got up to thank everyone for helping out with the four funerals we've had in the past seven weeks in our ward.

I've been so disheartened lately by the hateful rhetoric and irreconcilable differences heightened by the healthcare reform process, and even uncomfortable at church thinking about how I might be worshipping next to someone who thinks I'm a communist or a baby-killer because of my political views, so when Sister B. said that, I felt the balm of creamed soup come over my soul. After all, no matter what our political views, when asked to bring potatoes to a funeral, we all combine two cans of cream of chicken soup, one pint of sour cream, 1/2 bunch of scallions, and 2 c. of cheddar cheese with a bag of frozen shredded potatoes and bake at 350 in a 9x13 dish. At least that's what I've been doing since I moved to Utah seven years ago. (Although some of us choose to top with crushed cornflakes or potato chips and some of us don't). For a moment I melted, became molten inside, as Scarlett Lindeman described funeral potatoes in this beautifully written article.

This can't be a bad thing, to come together in this way, even with processed, industrial food, to support each other in our trials. And though I've had my moments of alienation in the past twenty-plus years as a sister, this communal spirit keeps me in the fold year in and year out.

p.s.--photo of molten funeral potatoes stolen from this website.

p.p.s.--are funeral potatoes served in any other churches, for instance, midwestern churches, where they also serve a lot of jello?

8 comments:

Sue said...

Lara, I know the Methodists are masters at making funeral potatoes - both in Washington state and Iowa. That goes for a lot of other pot-luck dishes I thought were exclusively to our church. And while they're really terrible for us, healthwise, I LOVE them!

M-L said...

please sit next to me next time and we will be in good company!

Julie said...

I really appreciated this post and the article you referenced. I wince a bit whenever this part of the Utah LDS culture arises, but it is oh so true.

Marsha said...

I like your blog. Discovered it this rainy Easter, and have bookmarked it.

Luisa said...

Thankfully, funeral potatoes aren't just for funerals. I love those things. I never make them, but when I'm at a funeral luncheon, church potluck, or someone's house for dinner, if those funeral potatoes are available, I PIG OUT.

I hate that differing political views often cause believers to have bad feelings toward one another. There's just no room for that kind of nonsense in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should have our hearts knit together with unity and love and funeral potatoes.

Frieda said...

Hi! Just found you on the Hive...I was reminded of how good and comforting these potatoes are when I attended my MIL's funeral last year. I also appreciated the comment that they are not just for funerals...love them with cornflakes on top...definitely a Utah staple.

Anne said...

Okay, I have to delurk for a minute and say I hopped over from Katie's facebook post. She's told me about your blog before and I was glad to have a reminder to check it out. The only other groups I know that make funeral potatoes are Methodists and the ones I had used straight cream instead of cream of whatever soup (we like mushroom and NO cornflakes!) I agree that all the processed food and stereotypes aside, it's great to have traditions to bring us together despite all the differences!

lara said...

Thanks for commenting,Anne. I need that recipe for straight-cream funeral potatoes.