Creating a Bereavement Food Platter
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Creating a Bereavement Food Platter

What to offer as a condolance after the visitation and funeral. A cheap and cheerful way to present a beavrement gift.

As a private chef, I have been asked to create a bereavement basket or platters instead of the customary "casserole" dish. For my client, it is a time to offer condolences and sympathy. If not a charity or flowers, the proper etiquette is through food. A consideration is given to the family receiving this as well as the person who has just passed. Recently this was the situation with an artistic young man who loved to cook and had died suddenly. There would be varied ages attending the grandparent’s home after the visitation. In knowing that this millennial generation is made up of vegans as much as the more traditional, I decided to present something a little different for all…I have an excess of those generic, black plastic platters. As they are cheap and can be left, they can also be cheerful. I simply re-invent them. All that is needed is some foliage from your or your neighbor’s back yard, a glue gun, glue sticks, scissors and some imagination. As there were recently autumn leaves still available, I started by hot gluding a circle of them around the platter edges. I added some rosemary, thyme and lavender stems which were not only attractive, but smelled good…Small magnolia leaves, ivy, holly and boxwood are excellent for Christmas and are hearty enough to hold well. So do a few sticks of cinnamon.

Once the foliage circle is completed, food components can be added such as sandwiches or slices of cake on a piece of parchment paper. For this platter, a large loaf of bakery bread with its center carved out, was lined with lettuce leaves that retained moisture. This is perfect for layering tea sandwiches. I hollowed out cabbage heads that became containers large enough for 8 oz. tubs of dip to be added. Crudities and crackers filled in the remaining spaces…As I mostly work in client’s homes, the beauty of this platter is that it can be finished on site. The sandwiches and spreads can be made in their kitchen as well as the pieces of vegetables cut fresh. For the vegans, I did a couple of edamane humus and a tofu/pickled plum dips…Those with a different palate, curried chicken salad sandwiches was the ticket…If you want to fudge a little, pick up store bought items. The final result is a beautiful display of fresh foliage, plenty of food, all carefully and lovingly prepared to bring some comfort to a family going through a difficult time.

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