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There’s Nothing Like Sunday Dinner

A weekly ritual passed down through generations in the African-American community.

2018 New Year's Day Dinner

Growing up my Sundays were pretty routine. We went to church and then we all gathered at my grandparents’ house for dinner. All the aunts, uncles and cousins. EVERY SUNDAY. This was my life until I left for college. And then when I returned home from college, I jumped right back into this routine. There were times I may have skipped church, but dinner was a must.

Sunday dinner is a big deal in the black community. While I was having dinner with my family, I knew many friends whose families were doing the same thing. The menu may have changed, but the love was always the same. We’d sit around and eat and talk and just enjoy one another’s company. Family birthday celebrations were a big deal in my family. We would often have dinner together to celebrate a birthday. More recently, we’ve started doing more brunches because who doesn’t love waffles and pancakes!

Along with Sunday dinners and birthdays, we gathered together on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. We looked forward to spending holidays eating good food in better company. My mom and granny even had certain menu items that were a staple for specific holidays. For Easter lamb was a must. For Thanksgiving, we’d have a fried turkey, macaroni & cheese, collard greens, & cornbread. When Christmas came around it was similar to the Thanksgiving menu, but we’d also have fried chicken. To start our year, seafood was on the menu (see picture above). And of course, there was always dessert!

Phones were typically frowned upon while at the dinner table. It was a time to spend time with one another not spend time scrolling on your phone and/or tablet. From the elders to the babies, we all talked. Sometimes with several conversations taking place at once.

While I have moved away from home and now live in NYC, these are traditions I plan to carry on for years to come. If I’m blessed to have children, Sunday dinner will be apart of their week. It’s a tradition I sometimes share with friends where we gather on Sundays to eat a good meal and fellowship. I always feel my week goes better when it starts with love!

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