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Sunday Dinner

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Has anyone seen Russell Cronkhite's new book, "A Return to Sunday Dinner"? It's inspired me to write a NJ-based newspaper story on the subject. I'd love to hear from anyone who has fond memories of and favorite recipes from big Sunday afternoon family dinners. Does anyone still gather the generations around the dining room table on a regular basis?

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Does anyone still gather the generations around the dining room table on a regular basis?

thanksgiving, xmas, and sometimes easter. although i come from a family who didn't eat together very often to being with.

those are still some of my fondest memories. not in a mushy way, but in a get everyone around the table and argue about useless nonsense way. kind of like egullet used to get sometimes.

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Actually, while not generations, my girlfriend and I cook every Sunday for our 4 kids plus whatever customers of mine have nothing to do and whatever family decides to show up. We can have anywhere from the six of us to 20 on Sundays. Sunday is my family day and I don't work in the restaurant unless we're "REALLY" short. We cook pretty much everything. The kids are between 9 & 13 and really enjoy cooking with us. It'll help them to learn as I tell them that if they can cook for their college pals and save money perhaps their pals will help them out when they're short on cash. By the way, there's no children's table in our house like there was I was a kid growing up in a Italian household. Good luck with your story.

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Not only do I remember Sunday dinners, I remember my dad getting paid on Fridays, and my mom doing the weekly shopping on Saturday, and then often prepping the "Sunday Roast" on Saturday evening, so it was ready to pop in when we came home from mass...I used to sneak peaks all Saturday night at the leg of lamb, or veal, or roast beef, with anticipation of the next day's dinner!

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Sunday dinner is still the "big" meal of the week in our house. I always roast something, and it is the one day of the week we are most likely to eat all together. I don't have a big family, and Don's family is out West, but quite often we'll have my brother family and my mom out for dinner.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Sunday is often the day that I'll cook--pots of soup, pork tenderloin, a chicken, etc., and extend an invitation to other single friends to come over and hang. I guess it's the 2004 version of the family dinner on Sunday! Come to think of it, they often leave with leftovers...

I also try to do that b/c I once read that a good way to prevent the Sunday blues from creeping up by 10am is to make plans for to do something fun (i.e., dinner or a movie) later in the day so you don't feel like the weekend is over when you still have half of it left. Harder to do now that Sex and the City has ended, of course...sigh. :huh: But I still think that Sunday is a day when many people truly take some down time while also getting organized for the week ahead.


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Sex and the City...., shit all I've cooked is Italian food for everyone since The Soprano's started, I was actually grateful to eat at a Japanese buffet yesterday. :blink:

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We try to eat dinner together as much as possible, but it seems as the kids get older and older and we work harder and harder its not possibloe. Sunday is the one night when we always eat together. I love to cook and it really relaxes me. My son (who is 12) is starting to take an interest and I've been able to allow him to come into the kitchen and share the pleasure with me and it gives me alot of satisfaction.


I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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Has anyone seen Russell Cronkhite's new book, "A Return to Sunday Dinner"? It's inspired me to write a NJ-based newspaper story on the subject. I'd love to hear from anyone who has fond memories of and favorite recipes from big Sunday afternoon family dinners. Does anyone still gather the generations around the dining room table on a regular basis?

My fondest memories are of Sunday dinners at my maternal grandmother's kitchen table, crammed into a small kitchen in Scranton, PA; Nonna was Southern Italian, from Bari, and created magnificently simple Sunday dinners of home made gnocchi or ravioli or cappaletti (she never called them orrechetti --"little ears"--but rather cappaletti --"little hats"), meatballs, sausage, and pork chops in a smooth red sauce; tangy, bitter salads of chicory and lettuce; and hard cookies and fresh fruit for dessert. Truly spectacular food that I still attempt to recreate in Sunday dinners at my house with friends and family. My mother's family was quite large, so when the last-minute invitation came from Nonna , you dropped whatever you were doing and accepted, because it might be some time before you were invited again.


Rich Pawlak

 

Reporter, The Trentonian

Feature Writer, INSIDE Magazine
Food Writer At Large

MY BLOG: THE OMNIVORE

"In Cerveza et Pizza Veritas"

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We still have Sunday dinner, but the difference is I'm the one that cooks it.

Let me tell you -- it DOES have an impact on the younger generation. My niece at either 8 or 9 years old had to write a paper on "Favorite Things." Her favorite things were "going to church on Sunday and coming home to eat whatever NaNa (me) cooked for dinner (they call lunch 'dinner' in the South) with the entire family.

We all sit at the table, and there are lots of stories told, past and present, with the younger generation sitting on our laps, asking questions, laughing, etc. -- making new memories. I wouldn't miss it for anything.

Rhonda

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Sunday dinner for me always meant a trip to my paternal grandparents' home in Astoria, Queens where my parents, Aunt, Uncle, cousins, and maternal grandmother would feast on spaghetti, bracciole, meatballs, sausage, and tender chunks of pork slowly simmered in tomato sauce. (Strangely enough when my grandma unexpectedly passed away, a pot of her spaghetti and meatballs was in her fridge and we ate it late one night after her wake. I even saved a small cup of her sauce and put it in the fridge to share with whoever my future husband would be. Sadly it never survived the freezer burn....)The minute we'd come bounding through the door of their blue awning-ed, white aluminum sided modest two-family, my Dad and I would immediately lunge for that fragrant pot of bubbling sauce on the stove and sample a meatball sprinkled with some pecorino mashed down right in the lid of the pot. Often there would be a roast beef surrounded by carrots, onions, and --horrors!---canned White Rose potatoes all nice and browned and crisp on the bottom. In this world of Yukon Golds, fingerlings, and Peruvian purples, I still crave the taste of those silly canned spuds. They instantly transport me. My mother laughs that her "gourmet" daughter has such a strong affinity for such a pedestrian product. You can't mess with memories, I say...

There would often be a frittata or broccoli rabe and eggs or fried cauliflower. Sometimes long skinny green Italian peppers stuffed with anchovies, rasins, and breadcrumbs in the Sicilan tradition. Sometimes small eggplants split down the middle filled with parsely, salami and a chunk of provolone and baked in a thick tomato sauce. A tossed salad and good, crusty bread always rounded things out and no matter what yummy cookies or cake my Grandma Rose would have made there'd always be a carton of Breyer's ice cream. To this day as much as I love Haagen Daaz, Ciao Bella, and Ben and Jerry's, I have a strange feeling of mushiness whenever I see a tri-colored Breyer's container in someone's freezer. It's like seeing some old friend with whom I don't have very much in common anymore but once loved and continue to love oh so very much. My Grandma Rose would stir my ice cream up with a teaspoon, round and round in a little ceramic bowl until it resembled a thick, sweet soup. Pure heaven. I sometimes find myself doing this even now at a grown up thirty-two years old.

After dinner I recall fondly my grandpa scouring the dishes before he'd put them in the dishwasher. I never understood why he basically washed them first, so untrusting was he of the dishwasher's industrial strength. He never let anyone help with this task and always entertained his daugters in law's testimonies to the wonders of his Maytag appliance with a wry skepticism. My Grandma, who was a hairdresser, gave haircuts to everyone after coffee and my cousins and I read the "funnies" in the living room. Eveytime my grandma began a sentence with "You remember so and so.....?" we knew that person was surely dead....victim to a stroke or heart attack or other depressing malady..My grandparents' house was where I was called "Precious Angel" and smothered with countless kissess. It was the only place my dad was called not Frank, but "Frankie."

The food never really changed much. It wasn't exciting, gourmet fare by any means. It was simple food prepared with tremendous love which is why yes,

I do believe my grandma was a fine cook. I recall during my angst ridden teenage years complaining to my mom, herself quite the gourmet, that the food at grandma and grandpa's was boring and predictable. Silly girl I was! My granparents have been gone for seven years now and boy...what I'd do to have those Sunday dinners with them again.

I wear the engagement ring I inherited from my grandmother with great love and pride, however her Sunday sauce pot is my most treasured heirloom. Every time I use it I offer her and my grandfather a "Hail Mary" I know they'd love and I reminisce joyfully over our Sunday Dinners.


Edited by ZenFoodist (log)

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:biggrin:

Sunday dinner is almost always cooked at home, after I get back from singing Mass in the morning: I stop at Whole Foods and pick up some of whatever looks good and/or is on sale, plus a bottle or two of wine at a local liquor place, and then the entire rest of the afternoon is spent cooking, and reading, and laughing, and eating, and drinking.

In solitude (surprisingly comforting and healing) or with friends, that's what sets me up for the coming week.

:biggrin:


Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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I agree Sunday dinner is a good thing. When I was younger, I spent it at my grandmothers ( although her cooking wasn't the memorable part). For my husband, who is from Chile, Sunday is family day ( plus a little soccer). I really enjoyed Sundays in Chile. The main focus there is the big afternoon lunch and then tea later in the afternoon. We sometimes make a combination of the two, having a big lunch and then light Tea with cakes and bread with friends. Other times we have an early Sunday dinner either by ourselves or with friends.

I have contemplated instituting a regular Sunday dinner with friends in the area. A couple of Sundays a month at the same time and those who can come come and those who can't make it for another time!! I actually think I am going to go ahead and schedule the first one.

Thanks for the inspiration in the topic!! I'm motivated!!

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There would often be a frittata or broccoli rabe and eggs or fried cauliflower.

Ooh! Ooh!

Do you remember how the fried cauliflower was prepared? This sounds intriguing and a natural segue from the wonderful Roasted Cauliflower. Was it breaded? Was there a sauce to go with it?

And thank you for posting such a moving post on your Sunday dinners!


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Sex and the City...., shit all I've cooked is Italian food for everyone since The Soprano's started, I was actually grateful to eat at a Japanese buffet yesterday. :blink:

That's so funny because we have "Soprano's spaghetti and meatballs" every Sunday night when the new episodes are on. The rest of the year the Sundays are hit or miss. We usually do "dunch" which is dinner + lunch so we only eat once on Sunday. I am enjoying Soprano's spaghetti and meatballs because it only lasts a little while.

I had a friend who always had "Taco Bell 60 Minutes" which was simply Taco Bell eaten during "60 Minutes".

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ZenFoodist... That post is a classic. Thank you so much for sharing.

My family is scattered now, two grown kids living thousands of miles away. I miss those times. My son lived with me for a time while finishing school. We often revived the Sunday Dinner tradition and he would invite his friends. I cooked, of course, and he was the kitchen helper, which we both enjoyed. When they are in town for a visit, we revive the tradition. Dinner is always Sunday afternoon. Sometimes it is BBQ and sometimes a more traditional dinner of requested favorites. The food is important and usually involves at least one experiment. But the most important thing is the telling of stories, reminiscing and planning for future times together.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Sunday Dinner was always roast meat or a whole thing like a chicken, --------mashed or browned potatoes and 2 or 3 vegetables - usually root vegetables ---- and gravy. Nothing fancy --all from scratch. Something like mint, or apple or cranberry sauce on the side. (Except the bright green mint jelly was the only prepared thing) As a kid it was usually just our own family (I was one of 4 kids). The closest Grandparents were hours away.

But the whole dinner idea carried out to my own family of 4 kids. The theme repeated when we went to my in-laws for Sunday Dinner. Again a roast with all the fixings, but this time we had the mixing of cousins and other in-laws. A fun time!

It seemed that whenever I had a roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mushrooms and onions in gravy, there was a football game on the radio. (No TV during dinner) The announcer was Marty Glickman, and my daughter associated that menu with his voice, calling it a Marty Glickman Dinner. She has carried the MGD to her own family!

Even now, with the kids gone, and when we are alone, I still have a small roast with the familiar foods. It just goes with Sunday music, the Sunday papers and especially football.

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The cauliflower was cut into chunks, boiled briefly with a bay leaf to make it more tender, drained well, soaked in a bit of egg and then dredged through bread crumbs to which copious amounts of pecorino romano, black pepper, and chopped parsely had been added. The florets were then fried up in some olive oil and served room temperature or right out of the oil depending on how undisciplined you were :) No sauce....although my Long Island bred husband always pines for a bowl of marinara everytime we have this now in the style of calzones east of the Nassau border. I never quite could figure that out.

The remaining breadcrumbs were added to the remaining eggs and glumped off a spoon into the hot oil and we'd eat these fried up bread patties on Italian bread sometimes for a Catholic School lunch. My Irish classmates called them "BOBS" Bread on bread sandwiches. I called them heaven :)

Which explains why I've never been able to stay on Atkins for very long.....

lisa

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When I was small we would go to my grandparents house for Sunday dinner right after church, it would always be the same thing, salad (with onions and radishes) roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravey, white bread and string beans-french cut (every once in a while asparagus), there was always a bowl of olives (black pitted) on the table. Desert was a yellow layer cake with coconut icing. After dinner my Gandfather would retire to the sofa and have a beer (usually Pabst) and a cigarette, Lucky Strikes.

After a time we started going to my other Grandmother's house for Sunday dinner after church, totally different. We would walk in and she would be cooking a large pot of pierogies and a tray of stuffed cabbage, no salad, no veggies or dessert, just the main course. I remember eating pirogies until my stomach hurt w/ tons of sour cream, after you cleaned your plate she would put more on, if you tried to tell her you were full she would say, "what you're not hungry - eat".

Now I try to cook a full meal every Sunday (we usually don't have salad and desert on the weekdays) and I like to make it special, we eat in the dining room and set a proper table.


Edited by lcdm (log)

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The cauliflower was cut into chunks....

Lisa, thank you for taking the time to post this! It sounds delicious. I appreciate it.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Childhood Sunday dinners for me meant rotating between grandparents' homes, both farms within 30 miles of our house. My maternal gma's meant everybody got to have their favorites - white gravy instead of brown, pickled beets, and neopolitan ice cream so we could each have whatever flavor was our favorite. She once made us popcorn for breakfast!!!. Paternal gma wasn't as accomodating, but there were MANY more grandkids (more cousins - the best part of Sunday dinner), so everybody's favorite was out of the question. At both there were HUGE gardens that were the basis of meals, whether fresh picked or canned from. Main dish was usually fried chicken or sometimes a beef roast. Don't forget the evening entertainment - Lawrence Welk, The Wonderful World of Disney, or Bonanza. (I can't remember what came on which night).

My Sunday dinners are usually my son and his gf, with any number of friends or neighbors thrown in. If we miss a Sunday, the gf tells my how much she missed it. I just love her!!! :smile:


Stop Family Violence

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Sunday dinner when I was growing up was a big deal. Often our "distended family" (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and strays from my parents bar) gathered around the table. The good dishes and glassware were brought out of the china closet and linen table cloths and napkins were also used. Roasted meats were featured like rare roast beef, garlicy leg of lamb, pork roast or ham. Sides included: Cole slaw with pineapple, jello mold, beets and beet greens, string bean casserole, sauteed mushrooms, white asparagus with Russian dressing, scalloped or creamed potatoes. Desserts like butterscotch pie, coconut cake or ice box cake were regulars.

Today, Sunday Dinner includes my wife and myself (kids are grown up). The most impotant feature is that it must be uncomplicated and ready to serve onto the TV tables by the time the Sopranos' starts.

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Does anyone still gather the generations around the dining room table on a regular basis?

Isn't once a year more than enough? Didn't we invent Thanksgiving as a way to distance ourselves from family? We can now have a couple of ritual dinners per year where family is celebrated, but the real point is to give thanks for the 49 Sundays per year when we're all blessedly apart.

-michael


"Tis no man. Tis a remorseless eating machine."

-Captain McAllister of The Frying Dutchmen, on Homer Simpson

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but the real point is to give thanks for the 49 Sundays per year when we're all blessedly apart.

Seeing there are many people with kids off fighting the war, I am sure they'd differ with your opinion. I am part of a very small clan myself, due to deaths, and to the fact that sis took hubbie and kids and moved to FL. So...for some of us, sharing time with people who are our flesh and blood--those whom I love, and who love me, is very special to me. If you find yourself at the kids' table, it's no wonder why.

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As a dutiful son I still visit my elderly parents every Sunday afternoon for "dinner". It's a good way to keep up to date with them without looking like I'm checking up. Besides, my Mom is still a better cook than I am.

Traditionally we had our biggest meal of the day, (supper), in the evening every day except Sunday, when it was served at 3:00 and called "dinner". A beef or pork roast ,or chicken, was/is common Sunday fare. There were certain items, like Italian food, that were for some reason never served on Sunday.

Also, since my Father has never been a big fan of desserts, Sunday is the only day my Mother will bake a pie or something.

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