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What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner?

December 14, 2012 Carlino's Restaurant no comments
Sunday Dinners - Carlino's
“What really made Sundays special was the company”

Italians and Italian-Americans have a deep appreciation for history, even if it’s a personal history. For many of them, Sunday dinners are at the heart of those personal histories, and stories about memorable Sunday meals live for decades in the retelling.

Unlike hurried weekday meals that might be eaten in front of the television or in between the end of the school day and the beginning of dance or karate class, Sunday dinners were leisurely affairs in most households. The food was a little bit more special, too; with time to roast a chicken or prepare a marinara sauce that simmered on the stove for hours, a Sunday meal often felt more like a feast. For many families, it was the one day of the week during which everyone could relax and spend the day together.

Each family gathering had its own Sunday traditions. In some families, it was choosing someone for the honor of saying grace. In others, it was finishing dinner in time to spend the afternoon playing outside or cheering the local football team together. The food was always the centerpiece, but every family had a special Sunday menu or two. Tender veal scaloppini, a roast chicken, spaghetti and meatballs – whatever it was, its aroma and taste became inextricably linked with happy family memories for everyone around the table.

What really made Sundays special, though, was the company. Visiting relatives and close friends were more likely to share the table on a Sunday than for any other day. Dressing for dinner might not have been important for other days, but for Sundays, it was a way to show guests they were special enough to merit the extra effort. At the same time, Sunday dinners still felt serene in a way that special-occasion meals like holiday gatherings didn’t. On Sundays, kids could get away with a few pranks and pratfalls that wouldn’t work during a once-a-year Thanksgiving dinner.

Think back to your own favorite Sunday dinners and what made them special to you. Perhaps it was a time to see the friends and family you hadn’t seen in a while, or maybe it was just good to spend more leisurely time with the people you saw every day. If you’re seeking inspiration this holiday season, or if you’re simply looking for a great read that will get you thinking about your own personal history, we recommend Dr. Ed Iannuccilli’s book, What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner?

For Carlo, Sunday dinners were a special treat. The food on the table was simple, but his mother served it with the pride and panache of a top chef revealing a masterpiece and the atmosphere was always celebratory on Sundays. She’d been in the kitchen cooking all day and that could only mean something exceptional. Whether it was chicken cacciatore or succulent veal involtini, everyone knew they were in for a special delight.

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