Internet Scratching Head Over Idaho And Utah Staple "Funeral Potatoes"

Apr 6, 2018

Funeral potatoes, a traditional post-memorial service side dish in Idaho, Utah and parts of the Midwest, are having a moment. Walmart is selling a frozen version of the casserole staple. Traditional versions of the dish call for a can of cream of chicken soup and a crunchy topping of corn flakes.
Credit Classic Film / Flickr

Funeral potatoes have gone mainstream. The word on the crunchy, cheesy and gooey casserole has gotten out. Walmart is selling a frozen version of the dish – and the internet is freaking out.

To be clear, I had never heard of funeral potatoes until learning about the variety available in the frozen food aisle. It took staring at the package, and even spell-checking “funeral,” until the reality of the name dawned on me. I was convinced the bag said “’fun-real’ potatoes.”

While funeral potatoes are a known commodity in Idaho, Utah and parts of the South and Midwest, the wider world is having some issues with advertisements for the macabrely named spuds.

The Statesman reports Twitter being awash in questions about funeral potatoes after Facebook ads for the frozen product started appearing. Users asked if the dish was real, what’s in it and if it’s weird to sell a bulk version.

The frozen funeral potatoes on sale at Walmart are produced by Utah-based Auguson Farms. According to their website, the frozen version is made from real potatoes, only requires water, and fits a 9x13 casserole. The package says for a more traditional funeral potato, top with shredded cheese and two cups of crushed corn flakes. 

Auguson says the dish, “has become a pleasing favorite at funeral luncheons, church gatherings, family dinners and holiday meals.” Nothing more perfectly encapsulates the tensions (or silence) that can electrify the Thanksgiving table than a dish with “funeral” in the name.

Some digital denizens familiar with the dish didn’t question the existence of mass-market funeral potatoes. They explained the food’s ties to the Mormon Church and suggested that if somebody served you pre-packaged funeral potatoes, they probably hate you.

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