Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Supper

When I set dinner down in front of him tonight, Walt said that it certainly looked special. I'll admit that it was a step up from a casserole or spaghetti, and did require a bit of creativity and effort, but I didn't think of it as "special."

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(lamb chops, sauteed mushrooms, scalloped potatoes)

When I was growing up, Sundays dinners were special. On week days we had meatloaf or casseroles or hot dogs or pizza or something of that nature. My father was often out of town overnight and when he was gone we sometimes we had things like scrambled eggs or even pancakes. (I loved those dinners because they seemed somehow "naughty" ... eating breakfast for dinner.)

But if we were going to have roast beef or leg of lamb or something more expensive, we would generally have it on Sunday.

We didn't eat Sunday dinners in the dining room, but at the kitchen table like other meals (unless we were having company), but Sunday dinners just seemed special.

When I moved out of the house and started attending the University of California, I became very active in the Newman Club, a place where Catholic students could gather and socialize. It became my home away from home.

One thing the Newman Club had was Sunday suppers. A wonderful Russian woman, Mrs. Balakshin, cooked dinner for all the Newman Club members who wanted to get together and eat on a Sunday night.

Oh, we didn't have roast beef or anything like that, but Sunday suppers were a chance for us all to get together. The priests would often join us.

I remember a time when Mrs. Balakshin was sick and we decided we'd cook the dinner ourselves rather than cancel Sunday supper. I took on the task of making spaghetti for everyone. I was not a cook at that time and I certainly didn't understand the principles of cooking for a crowd. The only thing I remember from that embarrassing incident was that the water in the huge pot had not come to a full boil when I added the spaghetti, but in my haste to get dinner ready for the people who were getting impatient, I went ahead and added it anyway. By the time it was cooked, it had congealed into this one big mushy ball that nobody could eat.

I don't remember what we ate that night, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't spaghetti!

When we got married and started having kids I had this grand plan that we would have Sunday suppers. When we bought our house, we had a perfect dining room, and I had inherited a great dining room table when my grandmother died.

Somehow that idea never became a habit. I'm sure we ate in the dining room often, but we never created the kind of ritual of "Sunday supper" that I fantasized about when we started having children.

We had special dinners for birthdays and when guests came and other special occasions, dinners that were held in the dining room with the good china and the good silverware, but nobody ever felt bad because they were going to be gone on Sunday and missing a special dinner.

I sat down after dinner tonight and watched Brothers and Sisters, a show which seems to take place mostly around the family dinner table, always fraught with angst and argument and hurt feelings. And I thought maybe...just maybe...not having established a ritual of the family Sunday dinner wasn't such a bad idea after all.

HarWm.jpg (46722 bytes)

This is one of the portraits taken by volunteer photographer Ron Pluth at Petco yesterday. I knew the SPCA wouldn't be using them for the Petfinder web site since Harry had been adopted, but I asked Ashley if I could have copies for my records. I love this picture, especially of Harry.


City Girl said...

I cook dinner - big dinners - from scratch all the time. On Sundays I spend the entire afteroon cooking for the two of us. But because we never eat at our dining room table (we eat at the coffee table in front of the teevee) it never seems special. All that work, and we wolf it down in ten minutes. I really would like to use the dining room more often - especially on Sundays - seems like it would make all that work more worthwhile!

Bev Sykes said...

I always enjoyed cooking, but after nearly 50 years, I'm really tired of it!

Anonymous said...

sigh::I still make Sunday dinner every week...husband looks forward to it because he always knows he'll have a meat...a starch...and a vegetable...and not all thrown in together in a casserole! Our daughter who's 25 still enjoys them as well. I can see this ritual will not go away and am actually looking forward to the day when there are grandchildren around our table as well.

Bev Sykes said...

I still make meat, starch and vegetables at most meals, though sometimes resort to a casserole. I always thought we would have big family dinners with grandchildren gathered around the dining room table, but I suspect my granddaughter is not going to be allowed in our house until she is well past childhood.

crazy dog lady said...

Im lucky I have one of those- a starch, a meat, or a vegetable for dinner each night! Sunday is the day we didnt have dinner. We had a late lunch of pasta at 1pm and then dinner was everyone for themselves.