Save Your Appetite

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It’s Sunday Supper!

If you grew up in an Italian family, you would know what Sunday supper is all about – food and lots of family.

At our house, gathering around for Sunday supper meant seeing the entire family and coming to the table hungry. It made sense to save your appetitie; Mother’s carefully prepared home-cooked meals were everything.

In preparation for these suppers, mother would get a jump start by doing all her grocery shopping on Saturday. She’d go to the local butcher, vegetable market, bakery, and then (in those early days) walk home, carrying those grocery bags herself.

Italians eating, drinking, and talking with their hands!

I will always treasure those childhood memories of our super-sized family sitting around our large and instantly expandable kitchen table with our cousins, aunts, uncles, and even the occasional neighborhood friend who was lucky (or unlucky?) enough to stumble in at dinner time and be strong-armed by my mother to join us.

Even when we were sitting elbow to elbow, there was always room for more. There was never any shortage of food and plenty of leftovers, as well.

The fondest of memories are made when gathered around the table

To anyone passing by our house who happened to glance through the front window, the scene likely resembled a cacophony of hand gestures, shoulder shrugs and a lot of head nodding. Italians eating, drinking, and talking with their hands!

Serving bowls and platters of food moved around the table in no particular order, yet Sunday suppers always ended without incident.

Someone usually remembered to bring to the table a birthday or anniversary. Even if there were no official celebration, the laughter, the jokes, and the stories filled the house. Some voices were louder than others and required the entire family’s attention. There was also the occasional story that was meant to be whispered and shared between a select few.

As the family grew older, our stories turned to more serious discussions. We would talk about the week’s biggest news. As I got older, and took on different jobs after school and then later full time work, it was easy to get pulled away from home. Sometimes dinner with the family became inconvenient or seemingly impossible.

My father understood that as we took on other responsibilities, it meant having to miss or show up late for dinner. But he understood the meaning behind the old saying, “families that eat together stay together.” His only request was that we at least try to come together for the weekly Sunday supper.

All grown up now

Later in life, I began to fully understand the impact and value our family dinners had on our lives. I miss those days. These days, kids and parents often eat their meals on different schedules. Many parents don’t take the time to cook. It’s a bit sad.

So much has changed over the last 25 years – advancements in medicine, science, education, sports, and especially technology has altered our lives to the point where we don’t have to share with each other in person. But important things have a way of resurfacing. Save your appetite; Sunday supper is making a come back!

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