Savor the South–Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner, a Savor the South Cookbook by Bridgette A. Lacy, UNC Press 2015, $19.00 hardback, 136 pages

Sunday Dinner, a Savor the South Cookbook by Bridgette A. Lacy, UNC Press 2015, $19.00 hardback, 136 pages

Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.

–Samuel Pepys

These days we can’t seem to manage dinner during the week, and the notion of Sunday dinner–a gathering of family and friends over a traditional meal, every week–seems impossible.

But perhaps we shouldn’t give up so fast. It doesn’t have to be every Sunday, and it could just as easily be brunch or lunch–leaving time for homework, laundry, and other weekend errands that set up the week.

An occasional pause–pulling out china and linen, cutting some flowers for a vase, and making an extra dish or a special dessert. If family is nearby, call on friends; they’ll be glad for a good meal and a chance to linger and lounge.

Lacy begins Sunday Dinner by recalling her Virginia girlhood, when the meal was her grandfather’s garden produce, her grandmother’s fried chicken, at a table set by Aunt Barbara Anne. She sees those dinners now, as “the artistic expression of my grandfather’s love for his family.” But the food and china were just markers for the ritual of gathering, being with each other and defining a sacred space and time.

Lacy recognizes that not everyone defines their week by a Sunday church service or fired chicken. Maybe it’s Friday night challah or an elaborate Italian-American antipasto. My own sacred time is Sunday morning–with the family and the newspaper–over a more elaborate breakfast. Or perhaps a shared brunch, which seems to be a time to catch people as they ease into the day.

So, what to cook? Lacy suggests some of grandfather’s recipes–Papa’s Nilla Wafer Brown Pound Cake or Big Jimmy’s Coconut Pie. Heads up–Papa liked his desserts sweet, so adjust accordingly.

Her chapters offer Main Dishes and Sides, Salads and Breads, Desserts and Drinks–everything for an appealingly laden table. The dishes themselves are resolutely homey, from Classic Buttery Mashed Potatoes and Peach Cobbler to Mama’s Meaty Crabcakes and Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese. Comfort food that will please everyone–perhaps even reconcile them!

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