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Funeral Slaw and Food for Others

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The recipe is called funeral slaw because it is perfect for taking to the home or the wake of mourners, where it can sit out and be served for hours.

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Something to Cook…

Hello GfreeDeliciously Friend 

Confession, I’m more than a bit brain-dead after the Memorial Day weekend. It’s a combination of things that have set the stage for this slump in my creativity, so I want to apologize for any lack of enthusiasm the subject of this message holds in hitting your inbox this week.

Still, I’ve got things to say and recipes to share. But first, as I’m sure you are, my heart is aching for the parents in Uvalde, Texas, families of shoppers hurt or killed in Buffalo, New York, others across America, and still the people in Ukraine. You know what’s happening here and worldwide, so I don’t want to dwell on it. Instead, I’m sending a warm virtual hug, hoping that you’ll feel my genuine caring, love, and compassion for the sadness and sorrows you may be going through in life.

On the Homefront, here at Lac du Nibiinaabe, I’m cooking because that’s what I do when I’m troubled or upset. Today I’m making food because Dear Hubby and I are preparing for the first road trip of any distance we’ve made since COVID began. Not an adventure for fun but a memorial journey for a funeral to honor the passing of a family member a state away.

Thank you for your caring thoughts. It’s okay; she was ready to step into heaven, past the pearly gates, and finally, be at home alongside her mother, father, brother, sisters, husband, sons, and others she has loved and lost before her. To finally join them sitting at the table with our heavenly Father.

I wonder what that table will be like.

What will the food be like?

Ham, buns, hot dishes, ham salad sandwiches, Jello salad, funeral slaw (see below), and sheet cake are among the family-style dishes I bet they’ll serve. The spread, prepared by mostly elderly church women who’ve labored untold hours to present the feast from the recipes of their ancestors, will be awaiting us in the church basement after the committal service in the country cemetery.

The pastor will give a quick prayer and be a good sport about trying nearly everything on the table as family and friends are led through the line. Everyone will try their darndest to be cordial and polite and not snicker audibly when the old gentleman that no one seems to know at the end of the table in the center of the hall comments loudly about the potato hot dish resembling wallpaper paste.

Celebrating a life lived in another year and another funeral for another family member (or friend), where we’re filling our plate in another parish’s hall, as another mourner of a bitter-sweet gathering interspersed with emotions – happiness and sadness.

It’s a crying shame that all too often, our families and close friends are reduced to getting together for sharing meals only at funerals or weddings. But it’s a similar truth, I hear, shared by many families nowadays.

“The world begins at a kitchen table,” writes Joy Harjo (U.S. Poet laureate in 2019) in her poem, Perhaps the World Ends Here. “At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.”

No, this is not the first funeral since the beginning of COVID. Nor is it the first in a very long time of hard weeks at the end of hard months, even more at the end of a hard couple of years. But like the kitchen table, it is also, as Harjo notes, “a place to hide in the shadow of terror.” And so, it is, and so we do go on.

Now more than ever, I can tell you that I depend on the certainty of meals shared with family and friends, the rituals and rhythms that so eloquently compose the sonnets of our times spent together. Verses that shape our daily life and the futures of our children and grandchildren.

I find purpose and peace in making gluten-free and allergen-free foods that go on our table, wherever that table is. In making safe meals from whole food, I can trust to serve at that table. Foods that, in the face of unspeakable tragedy and earthly sorrows, can do the talking for us, comforting us and those we love.

Making food will never undo grief or stop terrible things from happening. But it can show others how much we care. And it will always be a way of connecting in this world during days when connection feels more vital than ever.

Funeral Slaw

Shortly after moving to Wisconsin’s Holyland, I first made this salad for a summer family get-together. The recipe is called funeral slaw because it is perfect for taking to the home or the wake of mourners, where it can sit out and be served for hours. This version is adapted from a recipe for Funeral Coleslaw found in a fundraising cookbook compiled by Consolidated Parochial Elementary School (C.P.E.S) in rural Fond du Lac County (now Holyland Catholic) and printed by Morris Press.

I’ve made this Funeral Slaw with all (and then without some) of the salad ingredients as listed below. I even substituted chopped Napa Cabbage for traditional green cabbage and added pine nuts and pepitas as pictured above. Another time, the celery seed was left out of the dressing because I had none. My point is, feel free to add, delete, or substitute whenever necessary. And whichever way you decide to make it, this funeral slaw will please and comfort all the eaters at your table. Enjoy!

How to Make the Dressing

▢ 1 cup Cider Vinegar

▢ 1/2 cup Sugar

▢ 3 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil

▢ 3 tablespoons Water

▢ 1 teaspoon Celery Seed

▢ 1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard

For the Salad

▢ 1 small head of green Cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded (may substitute Napa Cabbage)

▢ 1 small head of purple Cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded

▢ 1 large Carrot, shredded

▢ 1 small, sweet Onion, shredded (optional)

▢ 1 large, green or red, sweet Pepper, shredded (optional)

▢ Toasted Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, or Pepitas to garnish (optional)

Instructions

1. Bring the vinegar, sugar, oil, water, celery seeds, and dry mustard to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature.

2. Add the shredded vegetables to a large bowl and lightly toss to combine. Pour the cooled dressing over the vegetables. Refrigerate 24 hours. Keeps for days.



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Hi, I'm Kymberley, the creator of G-Free Deliciously and the Amazing, Glorious Journey Programs. I pray that my work will inspire you to honor your body through God and Good Food from the inside out, all while enjoying your Amazing, Glorious Journey!

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where my passion is to nourish everyday life GfreeDeliciously. I’m a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach, Certified Gluten-Free Practitioner, Accredited Gut Microbiome & Gluten-Free Health Specialist, and self-taught Gfree lifestyle expert on [most] gluten-free things. From a young age, I loved cooking, so when I received a celiac diagnosis, I set out on a mission to reimagine traditional foods – preparing them a bit differently to eliminate gluten. Here, you’ll find hundreds of tested and perfected, easy gluten-free recipes made with natural, whole foods with clean ingredients that your entire family can enjoy. Gluten-free foods created for all food lovers gathered at the same table. Foods that promote a healthy, happy gut – satisfying meals and treats that never, ever compromise on taste, are simple to make, and save you time – even when life gets busy. So, no matter how you eat, the recipes should be perfect!

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