About 10 or 12 years ago, my sister and I along with our then boyfriends (now husbands) started our own version of the age old tradition...
The Sunday Night Dinner
Every Sunday evening, the four of us would get together; rotating thru which one of us would cook, alternating back and forth between our houses. Sometimes we would invite a friend or friends over to join us, but more often than not-- it was just the four of us.
When my turn came around each month, I would always relish the process of planing what would be on the menu my night. Frequently, I would go a bit overboard (as is my way) and I remember making everything from sushi to home-made lasagna to my own kim chee.
I have so many good memories of our times together...sitting outside dining al fresco in the summer or being cozy inside during the winter months. Setting a fancy table, lighting candles...the good, long conversations over bottles of wine.
Having close ties with family and just being together. I will never live down the time I made the chocolate mouse...don't ask. I don't even remember why it was so funny, but all you have to do is mention my chocolate mouse to my sister, my brother-in-law and my husband, and they start cracking up...I think it had something to do with how big I made the portions; maybe I offered too much; but is that such a bad thing?
More than anything...our Sunday Night Dinners were just what we did--it was our tradition. Every Sunday night...it was our thing. Our friends knew about it and always told us how cool it was that we did it. And, we did this for many years and even kept the tradition alive thru our moves to Boulder and then back to Santa Fe.
But then, the babies started coming and the dinners just kind of faded away and stopped...once Magda was born, life as Greg and I knew it, changed dramatically and along with the mountain biking and the snowboarding, the Dinners ceased to exist. It was sad but with an infant, we just couldn't pull it off in those early days...I think maybe the thinking was--we will just pause here and resume again when we can...
But oddly enough, the Sunday Night Dinner, came back--stronger than ever, however, in a different form. Instead of meeting over bottles of wine and lovingly home-cooked recipes found from the pages of Bon Appetit...we met over cups of coffee and breakfast burritos at our favorite breakfast cafe in Santa Fe.
Sunday Night Dinners became Saturday Morning Breakfasts. And, instead of spending long hours in the kitchen--every Saturday morning, like clockwork, our circle of loved ones would storm the cafe-- pulling tables together to make room for all the friends and babies who would join us. Grabbing handfuls of silverware and napkins for everyone and whispering a fierce and silent prayer of thanks under your breath when the nice server handed you a warm plate of deliciously made food--in which you had nothing to do with the preparation of--
you would dig in....
That was our new tradition and it lasted a long, long time. As long as we were in Santa Fe, we knew that Saturday mornings meant breakfasts at a couple choice cafes--with our family and friends.
|Poached Pears with Mascarpone|
And now, that we have left Santa Fe and the kids are older...Sunday Night Dinners have been translated to another iteration, yet again. The end of the weekend always feels a bit like sliding into home-base...it comes fast and furiously and with all that usually happens on a Sunday afternoon: soccer practice and games, getting ready for the week ahead, baths, phone conversations with family...there isn't exactly the time for those luxurious dinners of years ago; but we don't need to go out to dinner to get a break either...
Instead, Sunday Night Dinner, for us now...is some where in between: the meal is a little more special, a little bit fancy and a little out of the ordinary than what we would have during the week; but not overly so. And since Greg usually cooks during the week...the making of the Sunday Night Dinner is almost always mine. There is always wine and usually there is desert and the pace slows us all down a bit. But things are as special as they are simple--nothing super fancy; just something to set this meal apart from the rest of the week.
I envision that when the kids get older, we can start inviting friends again to join us...when that need to get a 4 & 7 year old into bed as early as possible subsides.
But until then, I guess my point is that this tradition is an important one to me--in whatever form it takes, and some variation of it will always be a part of us. A time to gather with friends and family, enjoy good food, create dear memories--to me, these are the things that makes for a wonderful life.