I’m salivating to try a dish already known to many as “funeral potatoes.”
Yes, people, there is such a dish. It’s a Mormon ritual delight served after funerals. I first heard of the dish years ago after a client of my wife mention that she needed get home to make funeral potatoes.
I thought to myself, “She’s so funny.”
But last week in conversation with my supervisor, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I asked about the dish. His face lit up as he schooled this brother on funeral potatoes. He shared that he’s tasted some so delicious it made his ears wiggle; and, he added, he’s had some that was, well, just plain boring.
I decided to Google “funeral potatoes,” and this is what turned up: Two potato chili cumin, triple cheese scalloped, dill potato au gratin, potatoes a la boulangre, cheesy garlic, sage scalloped, and — one that got my stomach growling — ham and artichoke potatoes. Curiosity got the best of me; I Googled “LDS food recipes” and found great looking dishes prepared from many home made recipes. Hmmm. That’s food for thought, with major pun intended.
I’m in search of the 2013 Mrs. or Miss “funeral potato queen.”
It’s all about bragging rights, my sisters; I visualize an event — how about a family-friendly, open-to-the-public “Taste of Zion” tasting event? — with all the proceeds going food banks.
I admit I’m not Church member and would be considered an outsider. However, in 2001, I wrote an article in the local papers about soul singer Gladys Knight moving testimony at a Stake center in Mesa. That article, I was informed by the editor, generated a then-record 26,440 online hits in one day.
I was told that I’d be forever considered a friend of the church. I hope I’m still that friend.
I understand that each stake center has wards connected to the Relief Society — a group of 24/7 female Good Samaritans whose motto is “charity never fails”. What’s the possibility of the stake president selecting a member of one of their wards to represent that stake? Each stake that participates could have a booth or tables with a variety of other foods, deserts and, of course, green Jell-O with sweet Kool-Aid.
Tickets could be purchase in advanced, allowing access to each stake to table test on its own different funeral potato recipes, and other foods provided.
I’d love for my next door neighbor who’s a member of the Gilbert Greenfield Stake to enter. Betty Crocker can’t hold a candle to Becky. She makes the best home made donuts out of — you guessed it — potatoes. She calls them ”spud nuts!”
Now what does Ol’ Coach Goodie get out of this, you ask? First, I can enjoy funeral potatoes without sadly attending a funeral. Second: of course I’d want to be one of the judges, and third, perhaps I could have the honor of crowning the funeral potatoes queens and, who knows, possibly a king!
Finally, knowing all the proceeds could go to local food banks — and any leftover potatoes can be dropped off at local food shelters — is also a win.
If you think this “Taste of Zion” has potential and know any sisters of the church who believe they bake the best funeral potatoes in the Phoenix East Valley — hear that, Roc Arnett, I’m plugging it! — to take the crown, please share this piece with them.
I’m hoping there’s a society stake President out there blessed with great event planning skills that’s says “Amen, Coach Goodie” and forms an exploratory committee. I’d be honored to be on the committee and tickled to death — no pun intended.
I want to find and enjoy the best funeral potatoes around — instead of having them served at my own funeral!
Photo: John Goodie of Gilbert is a Mesa park ranger.