I believe in Sunday lunch. Yes, Sunday lunch. Not brunch with its nibbles and Bloody Marys. Not Sunday dinner at 1 p.m. with a pot roast simmered during church. Not a weekday peanut butter sandwich at the kitchen counter.
I believe in gathering family and friends for Sunday lunch. For an hour to eat, to drink espresso, to debate reactions to the Sunday news.
For me, Sunday lunch preparation begins on Saturday. In summer, at a farmer’s market, tomatoes, zucchini, miniature purple and white eggplant beg to be made into ratatouille. In winter, soup crowns the menu–mushroom from scratch, beans with kale and sausage. The dishes of our Sunday lunch are simple. I search for fresh produce, drive to the Italian Hill for smelly cheeses, prosciutto, and knobby bread called ciompa that we pull apart. I bake an apple pie or chocolate brownies to go with coffee.
Most of all, I believe in the people of Sunday lunch–the memory of family, the promise of future guests at our table. When I was a child, my father paused before Sunday lunch to pray that we all be mindful of the needs of others. As a young mother, I relished loud Sunday lunches at my Italian in-laws’. Pasta was the centerpiece. As empty nesters, my husband and I became lunch hosts. It was our turn to serve our parents. We also offered a home cooked meal to our working girl niece, to a nephew and a cousin studying nearby. When alone for lunch, my husband and I set the table as if guests might appear. With espresso in our best Sunday cups, we spread our calendars out to plan the week ahead.
The people at our dining room table arrange themselves like the pieces of a kaleidoscope, then shift, and move on. We welcome each new pattern of faces, of talk, of connections.
And because of this, I believe in sitting down to lunch every Sunday.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.