Weekend Meditation: Sunday Suppers

The Sunday Supper is different than any other meal in my household. Casual, yet often more intentional than what I throw together during the week, Sunday Suppers are an opportunity to invite good friends over to talk and eat and enjoy our company. It's not an impressive dinner party, just a proper meal cooked with care and served up with a sense of generosity and neighborliness.

The Sunday Supper starts earlier than normal. Usually people arrive around 3:30 or 4:00 and the food is on the table no later than 5:00. This allows everyone to be on their way by 7:00 or so, allowing for a good night's rest before the cruel, inevitable arrival of Monday morning.

The pace is leisurely, the food served up family style in large bowls and dishes. No extra courses, except perhaps desert. In summer, the Sunday Supper can happen outdoors, but it is not a barbeque or a picnic. While casual, it does have some formality: real cutlery, china plates and even the occasional tablecloth.

Most Sunday Suppers I've given or have been to usually have a large main dish like a roast or a ham or a whole roast chicken in center of the table with various forms of veg and starch gathering at the edges. In the summertime, this often is forgone for lighter, cooler dishes like platters of cold meats and sliced cheeses. Sunday Suppers can often be a communal affair, with everyone pitching in with a dish to pass.

The food vies for attention with the discussions, stories and various forms of table talk. All subjects are allowed. In my house, the topics of sex, politics, and religion are encouraged! Everyone pitches in with the washing up and friends are often sent home with leftovers (Monday's lunch, perhaps) in a paper bag.

For me, the world just feels right after a Sunday Supper with friends. As I clean up the last of the meal and wipe down the table, I feel satisfied and fortified, ready to take on what the coming week offers.

What are your Sunday Suppers like?

Related: Survey: Dinner or Supper?

(Image: Dana Velden)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.