Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ye Olde Fashioned Sunday Dinner

Think: After church family gathering over a weekly feast. Traditions being upheld, homestyle foods being served. Roasts and gravies and special potatoes. Tablecloths and mom in her apron, smiling over steaming platters of food.

It's a freaking Norman Rockwell painting over here on Sundays!

Most weeks, after church, the family all gathers round a buffet spread set up on our kitchen island. We pray as a family, serve ourselves and head to the dining room to take part in this time honored tradition. Some weeks we have roasts, or chicken, or a giganto salad bar. On holidays we have a full brunch, a few times of year we have a taco bar. In the winter we often have a large kettle of homemade soup and fresh baked breads.

Fresh corn, Roasted red potatoes, bbq chicken...

(out of frame: big veggie salad) Roast chicken for those who don't like BBQ, and the BBQ, hush puppies

It's a wonderful tradition and I am glad that my family has it. But this is one of those areas where I struggle. Part of me loves that I am able to do this each week. It makes me happy that they enjoy it, and that I am the one to provide such strong emotionally wrapped memories for them. And the other part of me thinks, "Holy heck! This is a lot of work!"

And the other best/worst part: I've been doing this so long that I think I make it look easy.

We come home from church, I change clothes, put on my apron and get busy. By the time my mother-in-law arrives,within a couple hours,I am usually ready to put all the food on the table. That trick alone has taken years to perfect. I'm proud of it, but it also means that no one really knows what goes into these feasts.

I don't do it ALL alone- the kids help by setting the table. This week it was Noah's turn. He picked out everything for it and approved the beverages- ice water and cherry limeade.
Those are place cards, even if they look like paper. And he's still shy some napkins.

I know that in the romanticized version of this dinner, the family sits around telling stories for hours, lingering over the meal, and going back for seconds or thirds. In our version we usually end up talking about some sort of bodily fluids landing in places they don't belong, and the eating ( seconds included) is usually wrapped up in about 25 minutes. My mother-in-law and I usually are the last ones at the table.

I will say, my children are faulted in some manners. Luke slurps just about every type of food, Noah picks at his, and Bekah usually only eats plain chicken and potatoes. But they do ask to be excused when they are done, and they do clear the table. Then they all plunk themselves down in the living room.
There are five people hiding in that room. I am not one of them...

...because someone has to clean up this mess.

Within an hour of finishing dinner, the kitchen us back to it's clean state. I'm afraid it's traditional roles here, too..the womenfolk rinsing dishes, putting away leftovers, and cleaning up. Could we change this? Probably. Is it worth the effort, time, and broken dishes it would take? Probably not.

We sometimes have dessert at this point, this week we had bar cookies- layered graham crackers, melted caramel, peanuts, crushed pretzels and marshmallows topped with melted chocolate and allowed to set.Sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy goodness.

When I load the dishwasher with that final set of plates and cups,sweep the crumbs from the floor, and remove the tablecloth-  I take off my apron. My service is done. I won't make a later supper, they can have lefotvers or cereal, I really don't care. I'm not getting it for them, and they know that.

The family has dispersed, usually outside to play, and I have saved my most magnificent trick of the day. My audience is small, just myself. Closing the doors to the bedroom, I lay down .....and take a nap.

I wonder if Rockwell ever painted that image?

1 comment:

  1. I learned something this week. When loading the dishwasher plan it so you only have to open the door once. Cause apparently opening and shutting the door is invitation for disaster.


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