Over the last few days as we dealt with the news and then logistics related to the death of and funeral arrangements for Lisa's dad, food was an immediate and constant expression of support from friends and family. I got the news while at work and headed home immediately to be with my wife. One of my friends and coworkers arranged to have dinner delivered to our house that evening. We were in decision-mode - making plans for our own travel, who needed to call which friends, where to have the funeral, etc. It was so nice to have one less decision to make that evening- what do we eat for dinner.
By the time we arrived in Akron, friends and family overwhelmed us with food. It came in handy as lots of people came and went over the next couple of days.
It seems that this tradition of feeding people in times of mourning is somewhat universal. These traditions are the subject of a Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals, and Customs from Around the World by Lisa Rogak. The book looks at 100 different cultures and the role food plays in thier death rituals.