Some of the best memories I have of growing up are of Sunday Dinners. Almost every Sunday we would head out to my grandparents farm after church. They lived in a wonderful old farmhouse, with a huge woodstove and no plumbing!
Granny had 13 children and on Sundays various combinations of aunts, uncles and cousins would appear. The aunts would all be in the kitchen cooking with Granny, chatting and laughing, shooing we children away from underfoot. Sent to play outside we would roam around the farm, sometimes going where we weren't supposed to. Like the hay loft. Despite being told countless times that someone was going to break a leg from jumping off the loft into the huge pile of hay we never really believed that it could happen. (And to my knowledge it never did, although there were some sprained ankles!)
Finally, we would all be called into the house. Granny set a country table and the big meal was at noon. Crowded around the huge kitchen table, we would sit, waiting for all the dishes to be passed around. Oh the food!! Beef with the best gravy that I have ever tasted in my life. That gravy was so good that sometimes I would have a little dish of it after my meal, all by itself! Ham or chicken and always mashed potatoes. Two or three different vegetables. Every kind of pickle imaginable. Fresh baked soft rolls and some kind of salad. Depression glass dishes filled with wild strawberry preserves or molasses. Three or four different pies. The BEST cookies in the world...soft molasses, crisp oatmeal, delicious shortbread.
In the spirit of trying to recreate (in some small way) those Sunday dinners, I have been attempting to make that meal special. Sometimes we have a friend and their children over, sometimes not. However, there are always the six of us.
The table is always set nicely. The good dishes and glasses are used. Sometimes a tablecloth is on the table and the cloth napkins.
Dessert is always served and is always homeade. Sometimes it's simply gelatin with fresh fruit and homeade biscuits on the side. On other occasions I'll make a Martha Stewart confection which is always labour intensive but absolutely exquisite and worth it. This is often made on Saturday.
I think I'll start adding a relish plate: celery, radishes, olives, little pickles. I remember those being on granny's table.
I really enjoy the quiet of early Sunday afternoon spent puttering in the kitchen, listening to music or just the wind chimes and the sound of children's voices floating in through the window.
Last Sunday I served the following:
Pot Roast and gravy (cooked all day on the stove in a cast iron Dutch Oven)
green and yellow beans
Homeade caramel pudding with fresh whipped cream
Biscuits with butter and strawberry jam.
Sitting around the table eating, talking, laughing...these are the things that memories are made of.