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by Abigail Van Buren

Matriarch Uses Inheritance To Keep Her Family in Line

DEAR ABBY: I have never seen this issue discussed anywhere but cannot believe I'm the only person who is dismayed by the tradition of bringing casseroles to the homes of the bereaved.

When my father died, my mother and I hosted a post-memorial get-together at her home. Each of my parents' many friends and acquaintances brought a casserole. Mom's refrigerator was always full, so there was no room after the seventh casserole. My mother told me to take the rest to the basement and say it was put in the freezer. My parents never owned a freezer, so after everyone left, we put 17 casseroles down the garbage disposal.

Please make your readers aware that post-funeral food is often inconvenient even if the thought is appreciated. A restaurant gift card accomplishes the same thing and assures the family will end up with something they actually like. -- ENOUGH IS TOO MUCH

DEAR ENOUGH: That the love, effort and expense your parents' friends went to ended up down the drain is a shame. I am printing your letter because your suggestion makes sense and readers may appreciate it. If this happens to other readers, it would not be ungracious to be honest. Explain there is no more room in the fridge or freezer and suggest the food be taken with the mourners when they leave.

Read more in: Death | Etiquette & Ethics