Are Comfort Foods Really Comforting?

Funeral homes across the country are all linked by one thread. Whether you’re a funeral home in the midwest or a coastal institution, there’s one thing in common: providing food for grieving families.

Plan a Funeral: FoodWhat do people bring family members when a loved one dies? Casseroles, heavy foods, things you eat on a rainy day. Food unites people in times of stress and when people need to seek comfort. Men tend to like more savory foods, while women opt for sweet ones, but believe it or not, comfort foods aren’t scientifically designed to make people feel better. It’s just something that happens over time.

In a 2014 New York Times piece, writer Jan Hoffman dissected the myth of comfort foods, that high-caloric meals don’t automatically make people feel better. It’s more personal. Not everyone’s comfort food is high in fat. Tests were conducted on “sad” individuals who were given healthier, comfort foods proven to elevate mood (almonds, for example) versus heavier staples (mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese), and the results were pretty much the same. Perhaps comfort foods are just reasons to partake in high-calorie meals; maybe there is no real effect on the body.

On the other hand, comfort foods are often linked to remembrance. People at wakes often bring a favorite meal of the deceased or something he or she would often make for family get-togethers, potlucks, and other events. This is because food associated with happy memories can yield satisfaction and pleasure for those that are grieving. By eating a favorite soup of a loved one who recently passed, you’re keeping a piece of that person alive.

Planning a funeral can be a tasking process, but food is one thing that can help ease the situation, whether it’s all in your head or not. What matters is that you feel comfort during a difficult circumstance.

For more ideas about how to plan a funeral and answers to other questions, check out Markwell’s blog, which offers further information. You can also call Markwell at (888) 932-2630 or email them at