25 October, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Birthday Flowers from Lynn

Sunday Dinner

Or did you call it Sunday supper at your house ? I was already forming a post on this topic when I wandered by the beautiful Sunday Suppers blog of Karen Mordechai.  In organizing a playdate for my son last week, I told the other parent we’d be done with dinner around 3 :00 p.m.. He was startled and asked if we had a mid-day meal on Sundays.  Truthfully, we seldom do. But when the stars align and there are no other commitments, I love having a real sit-down meal with my husband and son.  We use proper plates and napkins, and take our time eating. Then a light meal later on is easy to prepare and leaves time for a walk on the beach.

My Own Roast Chicken (with the dreaded plastic pop-up)
My Yankee Pot Roast

When I was a child, Sundays were generally spent at my grandparents, with my father. He watched football, and my grandmother prepared some sort of meat : roast beef, roast chicken, roast lamb, or ham. Always whipped potatoes, and a vegetable like string beans. Not one sauce, spice or flavoring.  I always drank ginger ale.  The meats rotated on a schedule, unless it was Christmas and we begged for tortière a Canadian meat pie. Oh, that was wonderful.  

Market in Languedoc-Roussillon
So I began to think about Sunday dinners in France.  When I lived in Avignon with Marc and Angéle, we had a large meal each Sunday. But since it was summer and horribly hot, she prepared the meat (á la grandmère) very early in the day and allowed it to sit out on the sideboard until dinnertime.  She went to the morning market for vegetables, salad greens, bread, cheese, and a bit of pastry.  Sunday markets in France generally close by 1:00 p.m. so that venders can have their own dinners.  Americans used to 24 hour services may be caught without decent groceries if they sleep in on Sunday. (The Marais in Paris is the exception.) A roasted chicken, some fresh cheese and a bit of tarte can be had in nearly any French village market, and make a fine picnic ( just stay off the grass !)   

Mayflower Beach, Dennis, MA

Growing up, Massachusetts had « Blue Laws » prohibiting store openings on Sundays. They were lifted for holiday shopping.  I believe that repealing them has had a very bad affect on family structure. Mom, Dad, or even kids are at work on Sundays, and there isn’t the opportunity for that one weekly pause, and breaking of bread together as a family.  Several US states are currently considering repealing their Blue Laws. I hope that they consider this.