I was just on a Jewish Kosher baskets website; I got an email from them advertising Purim baskets, but when I went onto their site, I explored "beyond Purim."
Shabbat, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Birthday, Anniversary, Get Well, New Baby/Brit, College Dorm baskets and packages are listed with a wide offering of goodies.
Then to my utter surprise, I found a section for Shiva/Condolences, and began to explore. My cynical self rose to the surface as I perused the goods.
Dried fruit platters, nut platters, rugelach tins, mandelbroit, chocolate arrays, bagels packages seem to be the natural way to go. People need comfort food at a time like this if they choose to eat at all.
But WAIT. Wow...gourmet packages are offered too. Gourmet cheeses, pates, jams, crackers are offered up in expensive but heartfelt style..with Deepest Sympathy...
Tell me how many mourners you know whom you don't have to nudge to eat or drink just a little bit. "Not now," they say, or "I can't eat anything," they tell you. You suggest strongly then that they have to eat something; shiva is difficult and they have to keep up their strength.
Do beautifully presented gourmet baskets have a place in a house of mourning? Does a bit of fresh Norweigian lox on a marble bagel imported from one of NY's finest kosher bakeries, followed by a croissant spread with a Swiss jam and a fine glass of herbal tea really make all the difference? "Wow, I just HAD to have something from that Deepest Sympathy basket or I would have been so weak."
I think we can save fancy, gourmet snacks for better occasions. Bring out the roasted chicken, chicken soup, potatoes and garden salad...and offer it up with sincere condolences. Those will serve just fine....