As I write this, on a Sunday afternoon, a loaf of banana bread rising in the oven is perfuming the house with that inimitable baked smell of love.
Meanwhile on top of the stove is a cast iron frying pan in which I’m smothering a spatchcocked chicken under a plate weighted with cans from my pantry. You can find Craig Claiborne’s iconic recipe here. It’s a brilliant, disarmingly simple recipe that’s all about technique and results in a big flavor you can’t believe.
The banana bread is for my “first breakfast” (I’m like a hobbit: first breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies) in the week ahead. First breakfast is when I wake up super early and pad to the kitchen, make a cup of tea, slice a piece of whatever I’ve baked, and go back to bed for a lovely moment. Of course I’m always “dieting” — but I made a deal with myself: I can eat what I like if I bake it myself. It takes work and makes me ever more appreciative.
The smothered chicken is my Sunday dinner, which I’ll serve with ancient grains, green peas and sliced tomatoes.
I didn’t grow up with the tradition of Sunday dinner. When I was married and raising a family, Sunday dinner was the last thing I wanted to make after a week of cooking three meals a day. Sunday was my day off; I couldn’t care less what anyone ate — pizza or sandwiches, a can of soup or leftovers.
But now with children grown and flown, and me living alone, the ritual of Sunday dinner gives me great comfort. Sunday dinner has no set time; it can be at two, four, six or eight. It’s a pause, a sit down acknowledgement of my place in the world.
When I cook, and especially when I bake, I feel young. A beautiful loaf of banana bread doesn’t tell (or know )the age of the person who baked it. A table lovingly set with a delicious meal has no idea if I have arrhythmia or a new hip. These are my ageless moments. I cherish them.
It’s during the week now that I nibble things here and there. I start thinking about my next Sunday dinner when I grocery shop on Friday afternoon. And then, more often than not, I call up a friend and invite them over and suddenly I find myself entertaining but not, if you know what I mean. The balm of Sunday dinner. Loving and being loved.
Hello my lovelies! What is your take on Sunday dinner? Yay or nay? Any standby favorites you care to share? We’re always looking for inspiration. Please talk to us in the comments box below, it’s ever so much fun to hear from you. If you enjoy being part of our life loving, wise, witty, savvy group of women, please enter your email in the box above so you don’t miss a thing.