My husband and I were driving home from his hometown sometime last year, talking almost the whole way about how much he misses Sunday dinners with his family at his grandma’s house, reminiscing about what it was like–the people, the food, the love… Which got me thinking about my grandma’s house and the meals she would cook. I swear I can still remember walking into a house filled with the most amazing smells and how comforting and amazing it was. At the same time, we said “I miss Sunday dinner.”
A lot of people I talk to miss getting together for Sunday dinner. It’s a tradition, especially in the South that seems to have gone by the wayside, and for a number of reasons.
I’m ‘crazy busy’.
I’m too tired.
I have to work on Sunday.
I live far away from any family.
After grandma died, it wasn’t the same.
No one continued the tradition.
I don’t cook much.
I’ve said all of those at one time or another but truth be told, I missed those meals. I missed that tradition. So I asked Ryan that day, why don’t we do it? Sometimes, it takes me half of the morning. But it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate, just sitting down with people I love, eating a warm meal, talking, laughing, connecting, and creating a new version of one of my favorite family traditions. Why not let my kids have the opportunity to reminisce about Sunday dinners too?
So we started! Every Sunday, Ryan takes over kid duty and I pull out my disposable aluminum pans, my paper plates and Dixie cups and get busy. It’s funny because he actually encouraged me to share pictures of our meals on the blog but I didn’t. I didn’t think the pictures of my disposable spread were pretty enough. No table cloth. No pretty tablescape. (I like making things pretty for special occassions). No crazy recipes with ingredients you can’t get at Walmart. Just us and a lot of food. A lot of canned vegetables. Who would want to see that?
Then I realized, that’s exactly what people want to see because it’s REAL. Sunday dinner doesn’t have to be pinworthy, just make your favorites and share them with the people you love. It’s really that simple. It doesn’t even have to be on Sunday. It’s funny that in this day and time, we’re so caught up in ‘creating experiences’ for our kids (and ourselves) that we forget that some of of the most memorable experiences are actually created at home.
Bigger than that, traditions are like glue–they bond us to others forever. I’m so glad that I restarted this one. Already, my daughters ask me on Saturday night what we’re having for Sunday dinner. We all look forward to it. More than that, I’m investing in my family. Most nights, I’m lucky to grab a bite or two off of my plate at the kitchen island. On Sunday, I get to look in everyone’s faces. There’s something to that.
I’ve learned over the past year that a successful dinner doesn’t require skill, it calls for having your priorities straight. Knowing what’s important, who is important, and what’s going to last. Order pizza. Get Chinese.Make a super easy and cheap Crock Pot meal. Kids don’t care. Most adults don’t care. A couple cans of corn, some butter, salt and pepper is all my kids need to feel like they’ve had a ‘real meal’.
Do you miss Sunday dinner? I say–start your own. Look, sometimes the cornbread is too dry. Sometimes I burn spaghetti. SPAGHETTI. But I show up. My family shows up. And that’s what Sunday dinner is all about. If you do Sunday dinner or want to start your own tradition, tell me about it in the comments! I would love to hear all about it.