Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lunch for sixty?

I couldn't decide on a title for this post. The first one that came to mind was,"Oh, my aching feet!", but given the background it seems more than a little self absorbed.

I coordinate the funeral meals for our church. Today we provided lunch for the family before a memorial service. Customarily, services are held around 10:00 with lunch following. For the last several years we've been serving a casserole with salads and desserts. We ask how many to expect, but it's always just a guess.

I use this old-time favorite recipe for the casserole:

Tator Tot Casserole

Brown together:
2 lbs hamburger seasoned w/salt, pepper & onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
2 cans green beans, drained

2 lbs. tator tots

Mix browned, seasoned burger, soups & green beans. Spread in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with the tator tots. Bake at 350 until bubbly & brown

Although this recipe should serve 12-15, I estimate one recipe per 10 people to be served, just to be safe.

I call my list of faithfuls who volunteer to donate food or work in the kitchen and they bring salads and desserts. Just before the meal I pop pans of yeast rolls in the oven to give the kitchen a comforting, homey smell. Who doesn't love the smell of fresh baked bread?

We don't charge anything for this, though families often make a donation, and we don't have a budget, it just always works out.

A time or two, I have been pretty stressed when the attendance greatly exceeded the estimate. Then there was the time that Pastor invited everyone downstairs for lunch when we only planned for 70, but still it worked out okay. This jobs makes you believe in loaves & fishes.

Here's a picture of some of my helpers today. Don't they look lovely? Sorry, I didn't get a picture of everyone. There were three more of us.

Wasn't this a pretty spread?


Anonymous said...

As a child, the different Sunday School Dept.'s would provide lunch for the family after a funeral. These days, I guess more people work outside the home, and our church does not do this any longer. I know the families' you provide this for greatly appreciate it. Bless you and your helpers for being so compassionate to those who are grieving.

Nancy said...

Bless you for doing this: having a meal after a funeral is a great comfort for the family who have so many visitors from out of town.

My church used to have a hot casserole for funeral dinners, similar to the one you prepare. Since all of the helpers are aging (most are in their 80s), now cold cuts, breads, chips, salads, and desserts are served. The families appreciate the sandwiches, but it would be nice to serve a hot meal.

Aunt Dinah said...

Bless you and your helpers for all the hard work you do to provide a delicious, beautifully presented, and comforting meal to the bereaved. What a lovely and loving thing to do.

Far Side of Fifty said...

It looks suspiciously like a Minnesota Funeral Lunch..except we have pickles! It is a wonderful thing to do for the family..up here the family buys the main dish..buns with meat or the hotdish or cassarole ..and the rest is donated by church members. It is a labor of love, and appreciated by many! :)

Mountain Woman said...

What a lovely idea and thanks for sharing the recipe as well. The photo of your helpers was so nice. They look like such kind ladies. You all are truly good souls to help the bereaved.