I recently read an article stating that today’s American families consume approximately 70% of their meals outside of the home. It is a number that boggles and left me reflecting on my own upbringing. Inspired by my memories, I am proud of a tradition I was raised to remember.
Sunday dinners with a table full of family were the core of my upbringing. Coming from a traditional Italian family, it is no surprise that every Sunday was quite literally “Prince spaghetti day”. For years, I had the opportunity to bond with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as we would dive into plates spilling over with grandma’s homemade “gravy” and a tray full of desserts to follow. But these dinners weren’t just an opportunity to indulge, it turns out these Sunday dinners became the foundation on which I built the true understanding of family. Sunday visits involved impromptu family photoshoots in the backyard with my talented Aunt behind the lens, a chance to learn funny little facts from my grandpa and grow incredibly close to my grandma. I was able to witness first hand the care with which she took in nurturing a house full of family, despite piles of dishes and clean-up (of which she insisted she could do on her own every time).
Even today, my 90-year-old grandmother is vibrant, beautiful and inspiring. Long after losing my mother, her daughter, I still feel a bond with her. I am grateful for those Sunday dinners because it was a tradition that kept me grounded long after divorce was rocking our family. She kept those dinners alive, and in turn, kept me stable and close to her, and my grandpa, through it all.
Sunday dinners weren’t just dinner, they were a proven way to stay safe in a storm even when the world around me was changing. Something I remember and continue to celebrate with every home cooked meal I make.