Monday, August 10, 2009

pot roast on sundays

I don't serve pot roast on Sundays. This may not seem like a big deal, but the big Sunday meal is kind of ingrained in my religious culture. I would say a large number of women in my church have their Sunday dinners prepared before I am typically awake on a Sunday morning. Simmering away in a crock-pot or slipped in the oven just before church, their families arrive home to the lovely aroma of meat and potatoes.

Not mine. When we get home, all things edible are fair game. Fend for yourself or starve. If we haven't gorged ourselves on snacking, I might make dinner later that night but sometimes, I am ashamed to admit, we make cookies or caramel popcorn after church and no one is hungry come dinner time.

The problem with this (aside from the general nutritional issues) is my enormous sense of guilt about my lackadaisical attitude toward Sunday dining. I long ago realized it's not the pot roast I feel bad about, but the event of a big shared meal. Something different and important to mark the Sabbath as special.

In the years that have followed this realization, I have implemented several new "traditions" for Sunday meals (waffles for dinner, leftover day, brunch right after church) but none of them have stuck. Some of them were just bad ideas (leftovers!) but the biggest problem was that none of them really lent themselves to time shared together in the kitchen or at the table. There was nothing special about them.

Another tradition I have been wanting to start is a weekly home-made pizza night. Last week I brought it up again. I suggested we try it on Fridays, but we never know what a Friday will bring, and Saturdays are no better. Dave suggested we try Sundays. I stared at him blankly. Pizza on Sundays? It seemed wrong somehow. But it makes perfect sense for us and it couldn't be worse than waffles or leftovers.

Last night we tried it. After a nap and watching a movie with the kids, I started the dough and then called everyone up to help. Abi made the sauce - with full control over seasoning. Max helped with the veggie prep and put on the cheese. Dave was in charge of the meat (sausage) and I sauteed the flavor (onions, garlic, peppers). The pizza turned out beautifully!

It took some tenacity, on my part, to keep everyone in the kitchen, but over time I think it could fulfill all my Sunday meal dreams: family togetherness, a meaningful meal and (start to finish) no more than an hour and a half.

It may be a little unorthodox, but I think that makes it even better!