Monday, August 4, 2008

Of Funerals and Funeral Potatoes

Okay. I've finally dug up the courage to tell you all what's been going on, and why I've not been posting for the last week and a half.

First off, I'm sorry for not posting as regularly as I'd like. Like I mentioned in my last post, I've had some family issues to deal with. This time was my father. He'd been in the hospital for about a month, undergoing various surgeries, when the doctors discovered a very aggressive tumor in his right frontal lobe of his brain. Knowing he would never recover, and anything we could do at this point would only prolong life, not make anything better, we discontinued all life support. He entered into hospice care, being given medications to keep him out of pain until he passed away on Sunday, July 27th. Needless to say, this has been a difficult time for my family.

As Mormons or, more properly, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that family relationships can last forever. My parents were sealed together as husband and wife in the Manti LDS Temple when I was a young boy. My brothers and I were sealed to them as their sons. My wife and I were married in the Jordan River LDS Temple, and so our children have been born “in the covenant.” If we keep the faith, we can enjoy the same familial relationship in Heaven that we enjoy here on Earth. Knowing that brings great comfort to me. I know that my father knew it because he taught it to us. I know that I will see him again.

To quote our scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants, section 138, verses 47 – 48
47. The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48. Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.
Dad's funeral was last Wednesday. There is a traditional potato casserole that gets served at funerals, or other pot-luck “get-togethers.” Commonly known as “funeral potatoes” (my wife knows them as “yummy potatoes”) it's basically a potatoes au gratin variation made with frozen cubed hash brown potatoes and extra cheese.

Admittedly, we didn't have these at the funeral. I can't say I'm sorry. They're okay, but not a favorite of mine. Offering it to you today may be in bad taste but, my Dad liked a good joke and not all of them were in good taste. Maybe I'm just my father's son.

Funeral Potatoes


24 oz. frozen cubed hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 14 oz. cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
non-stick cooking spray, olive oil, or butter to grease the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine onions, soup, sour cream, 1 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix in the potatoes. Spread evenly across the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.


Giddy Gastronome said...

Please accept my condolences. I know what it is to lose a loved one. I shall definately not laugh at your potatoes, instead I shall try your recipe and feel sorrow or joy whatever you want me to feel when I eat them. Stay strong!
Your friend at twitter

Perry Smith said...

I was sad to read about the passing of your father. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I also know that life is eternal and you will have a chance to be with your father again.
As for the recipe, this is one that we use often in my house along with ham and a brown sugar/mustard glaze. My family loves it.

Kalyn said...

I'm very sorry to hear about the death of your father. It's such a difficult thing to come to terms with, no matter what the circumstances. My best to you and your family.

Misa Gracie said...

I am glad that you are able to take comfort in the knowledge that our families can be forever. Understanding that we do not end when our bodies die and that we can be together as a family again helped me when my own father passed away.

(I usually make funeral potatoes for brunch and add cubed ham steak and sub cream of asparagus or mushroom soup.)

John Newman said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. I'm starting to feel a bit more "normal" this week.

Your variations and suggestions for the recipe got me thinking. I love the idea of adding ham, but what about chopped asparagus and/or mushrooms as well? Nutmeg might kick things up just a bit, too.

Hmmm ...