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NY Times – New York State Makes It Legal to Cry in Your Funeral Pie

By Sarah Maslin Nir, July 26

In the West, a homey casserole of slivered potatoes, sour cream and canned mushroom soup is so often served at wakes and memorials that it is commonly known as “funeral potatoes.” In Pennsylvania Dutch country, the go-to dish is a custard and raisin pastry called “funeral pie.”

Yet in New York State’s funeral homes, arcane rules had long forbidden food and drinks. But last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, signed a law permitting funeral parlors to serve light refreshments and nonalcoholic drinks, joining 46 other states where the bereaved have the option of crying into their potatoes and pie.

“Culturally, we use food as a socializing element in all sorts of circumstances,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Democrat who represents Midtown Manhattan. Mr. Gottfried was a sponsor of the legislation along with State Senator Betty Little, a Republican who represents parts of northern New York. “To me, the notion that at a funeral you couldn’t get a cup of tea or something to eat to stave off hunger or maintain your blood-sugar level just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Gannett – NY lawmakers OK food in funeral homes

By Jon Campbell, 6/22

ALBANY — Soon you will be able to have a sandwich or a snack while mourning the loss of a loved one in New York.

State lawmakers passed a bill last week allowing funeral homes to serve non-alcoholic beverages and small food items like sandwiches, baked goods and platters.

If signed by Cuomo, the measure would put an end to New York’s decades-long ban on providing food in funeral homes, which has long been part of state Department of Health regulations.

Funeral home directors and caterers have pushed back against state-level food bans in recent years, even challenging Pennsylvania’s ban in federal court.

In a memo attached to the bill, the measure’s sponsors — Republican Sen. Betty Little of the North Country and Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan — said wakes often run for several hours, leaving attendees searching for refreshments.