Hash brown casserole

Hash brown casserole

A good friend lost her husband last week after a valiant fight with cancer. The first thought, of course, is to call her or visit her. Do something. Anything.

But the hardest words to form always involve the death of someone. When there are no words, you still have to make an attempt. That is when I recalled the wise thoughts of the great Nashville writer, John Egerton. “Sometimes when people have lost a loved one, all you can do is take them a bowl of potato salad and tell them you’re sorry.” 

Food is the communion table of the South. It most often comes in the form of casseroles, salads or sweets. Sharable offerings of love and solace.

That is a long way around to hash brown casserole, I know. But it is pure comfort in a pan. The most iconic version available to the public is at Cracker Barrel. I know people who go to the Barrel just to eat it. They add eggs or bacon to the order to maintain some sense of normalcy in front of the waitress. But the casserole is really what they want.

Jim’s funeral is next Saturday. The reception is in the “blow it up” category for the Women of St. Paul’s. There are three types of funeral receptions. Category one is the basic reception for someone you actually never met. Nice but plain. Store bought can be acceptable in this case. The next is a reception at which store bought will not make an appearance at all. Homemade only. With lemonade and fruit tea. The honoree, if that is what you would call him or her, had a solid place in the congregation but perhaps was not well known.  The “blow it up” reception is for a beloved church family member. It always involves shrimp cocktail, often beef tenderloin and always wine.

We will be blowing it up for Jim. I don’t know if the hash brown casserole will make an appearance. Maybe I’ll just take some potato salad and say I’m sorry.

Hash brown casserole
  • 1 bag Simply Potatoes hash browns
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ can cream of chicken soup
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Add a little more grated cheese to the top and broil until the cheese begins to brown.





  1. Dee Thompson
    June 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Love this. I wrote a blog with my thoughts on funeral food. Thanks for inspiring me!

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      June 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      There probably could be a scholarly tome written on funeral food in the South!

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