Who knew that it was illegal to serve food at a funeral home in Jersey? I just learned this today as there’s a move to lift the ban that may come up in the legislature during the next session. The ban goes back decades and was essentially put in place based on an emotional reaction to having food served in the same location as human remains. Of course this is completely illogical. After all, many if not most funeral homes in NJ have living space occupied by the funeral director and their family. I’m assuming they have a kitchen right? And what about people dying in hospitals? They they still have cafeterias and let you bring food when you visit your sick friends. The funeral industry is big business already taking in close to $21 billion every year. The key locally though is that these are primarily small businesses serving local communities. Should the services they provide be up to the funeral director and the family?
It’s clearly time to lift an antiquated, emotional ban and let funeral homes offer food. I’d like to go a step further and grant them the right to offer liquor as well. Pretty soon people will be able to include a menu and drink list in their ‘Last Will & Testament’ for mourners to enjoy while they pay respects. Seriously, think about the benefit to catering services in the Garden State. Many people already associate food as a critical part of the conversation when grieving for a lost loved one. Why have to schedule a separate event outside the funeral home? Having the mourning event be a part of the viewing alleviates the stress of organizing separate events. This enables the funeral director to handle all aspects of the final event.
Additionally, in many cases family members are at the funeral home for hours on end, especially when there are two viewings to accommodate a large crowd. At the very least there could be coffee and appetizers. Either way, it’s a decision for the family and not the professional politicians.
I know, you’re already thinking about what you’d serve at your own funeral. For me, I’m thinking pulled pork and bacon.