Utah The Land of Funeral Potatoes and Lime Jello
Part of the Utah culture involves traditional comfort foods. It began when the Women’s Relief Society Organization of the Mormon LDS Church. With the theme of charity and ever ready to lend a hand to the sick or bereaved, the weighty casserole otherwise known as au gratin potatoes is a cheesy side dish of scalloped potatoes with a cornflake crust better known as funeral potatoes in Utah. You cannot buy this at a store, but the majority of Utah women could make it off the top of their head at a moment’s notice.
Funeral potatoes are not the only dish associated with Utah. Lime jello in several varieties can also be found at picnics, campouts, wedding receptions and even funerals. Utahns have found that you can mix almost anything in the jello before it sets up, including grated carrots and canned pineapple, marshmallows and cool whip, and canned fruits of all kinds. If you haven’t heard of frog-eye salad, that is another favorite.
How did these two culinary delights come to be associated with Utahns and a few surrounding areas? Most because Utah is known for having large families and they tend to have even larger gatherings made up of extended family members. They need plenty of food to fill up all the hungry tummies.
So, if you want to give funeral potatoes a try here is a basic recipe:
Frozen hashbrown potatoes (thaw in microwave) Some say Tatertots work too.
A couple cups of mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
A can of cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup or even cream of celery soup)
Lots of margarine and sour cream
Can add chopped onions for a real kick or dried onion flakes
And if you want to help the cardiologists out – add a few bits of crumbled bacon
Cornflakes or potato chips
In a large cake pan – mix the thawed hashbrowns with the cheese
Blend together the soup with sour cream
Stir together hashbrowns, cheese and soup/sour cream mixture
Cover with crushed potato chips or crushed cornflakes
You can put some more cheese on top if you like
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Warning: Do not eat this too often or you will find your clothes getting smaller. To help in this department, you can use fat-free margarine, sour cream and cheese, but it will definitely not taste as good.
Another great thing about funeral potatoes is that is can be fixed and frozen, and then brought out when it is needed – since funerals are unexpected. Or when guests show up uninvited, or hungry missionaries stop by. Only do not put the cornflakes on until right before you pop it into the oven.
Some say that they call it funeral potatoes because it can give you a heart attack.