family dinner

What Happened to Sunday Dinner?

as you can see there is no one at the table…


family dinner

dinner’s ready but no one is here…

I loved the Sunday dinners of my youth. My grandparents had a big Sunday dinner ever single week. The whole family or whoever could make it that Sunday would be there. My aunts, uncles and cousins, we all were together and it really didn’t matter what food we had it was the fact we were all together.  I don’t remember a single thing we ate but the conversations around that table are forever in my heart. I can still picture Grandma’s kitchen…it was so tiny, yet we all fit in there just fine.

After we ate us kids would be running around the kitchen while the grownups were trying to do the dishes and clean up the mess we all left behind. Then we would all go sit outside on the porch or sometimes at my Dad’s parents house around my Grandma’s kitchen bar. We all loved that bar. Especially when Grandma fed us ice cream with this weird green stuff on it. Our parents weren’t thrilled about us eating it, you could tell by the looks they had on their faces. It wasn’t till I was older and realized she was putting creme de menthe on our ice cream (yeah, alcohol…go Grandma) I fully recognized why they weren’t happy with her. But we all just loved it and Grandma!

We had those dinners until my grandfather passed away then Mom and Dad had them at our house. My Grandmother would be there and whoever else wanted to come. These Sunday family dinners went on for years…and years. We were always “expected” to make the dinners even when I grew up, got married and had a family of my own. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being there with my parents and whoever else showed up that day. It’s just that it was Every. Single. Sunday. Sometimes I secretly wished I didn’t have to go. Sometimes I thought, “wouldn’t it be wonderful to just do something different on Sunday?”

When my father passed away I started having my own Sunday dinners. I had moved away from my hometown at this point and there were a bunch of friends who did as well, so I would invite them along with my 3 kids and their friends to our house every Sunday without fail. Sometimes people would bring food but most of the time I would just cook. We had some good conversations at our dinners, that’s for sure. My kids friends told me they really liked coming to our house for dinner because you just never knew what the topic of conversation was going to be…but it always ended with everyone laughing. And maybe someone crying…

“Growing up, I learned life’s important lessons at the dinner table.” ~ chef John Besh

The kids grew up and had boyfriends and girlfriends and we decided to start going out on Sundays for dinner. Everyone got to pick a restaurant. Each week someone would pick their favorite and it was fun and I didn’t have to cook. But we were all still together, every Sunday…without fail. It didn’t matter what was going on in everyones life we made that dinner. My friends were all jealous, they couldn’t believe we kept the tradition going. “How did I do it?”..”You are so lucky, my kids don’t come around anymore…not even for food.” But mine did.

After my daughter had not one but two kids(after the first one, we continued to go out) her and her husband decided it would be easier to come to their house for our Sunday dinners. We didn’t mind as long as we still had them and were all together. We had dinners on the grill, we had crabs, we had lots of amazing food. And the conversations continued. Until it didn’t.

After that my son and his wife had dinners on Sundays. Sometimes we went out but most of the time we had dinner at their place. They had two kids and they are very funny kids. So the dinners were always entertaining. When my son died last year, the dinners did as well. My oldest and I still go out to dinner most Sundays and sometimes we get together with my nieces, cousins or friends from back home where I grew up. But I miss those Sunday dinners. I miss the ones of my youth, the ones with my parents and the ones I had every single Sunday no matter what.

I think about the days I said to myself…”wouldn’t it just be wonderful to do something different on a Sunday?” I can now but I don’t want to. Be careful what you wish for, because sometimes you get it.

Did you have Sunday dinners with your whole family when you were growing up? Do you still have them?

“…the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link with some memory of the table.” ~ Charles Pierre Monselet


30 thoughts on “What Happened to Sunday Dinner?

  1. I loved your Sunday dinners with the kids.. I loved that you included me in your family for those great sunday dinners.. For some reason I remember that one where you all decided that you needed to have double cheese in the lasagna.. it was good but really gooey.. and of course all the conversation and laughter were the best.

  2. we did, but not many…my childhood was not the best, hence I don’t bring it up often. But then when Mike and Rita had their place, it was kind of an every Sunday thing to go down there for dinner, and of course, those memories are my best. That has kinda now diminished too with Dalton away at school and her other two boys living on their own. But those WERE the best days. HUGS

  3. No, never had Sunday dinners. Both parents worked, grandparents died before I was born. Sounds great.

  4. I love the idea of Sunday lunches, but my kids live too far away – and I think the idea of being committed to something every week doesn’t fit with their millenial mindsets these days. So I just grab the few opportunities that come along and make the most of them (that would be about four times a year – but better than nothing!)

  5. Lovely post. I have written several posts over the years about our Sunday dinners and how much I learned and loved those big family dinners and just being around the kitchen table in Grandmother’s kitchen. When my nest started emptying out the dinners at our house became quite boring so while the last of my 4 daughters was in college, I started Wednesday night dinners. She and any of her friends would come over every week. Now that three of my girls live close, we are back to Sunday dinners. I love them and am especially excited about having them again since I have a granddaughter now. 🙂 I enjoyed this post very much. 🙂

    1. Thank you Pam for the kind comments…I am so happy you are having the family dinners again. I so wish I could. My daughter and I try to do it with my nieces every now and then. But it isn’t the same as having everyone around the table together….

    1. Alana, I think that is the problem these days, no one lives close enough….and it is a wonderful tradition….

  6. Renee, We did have Sunday dinners when I was a kid. I still remember them as wonderful, happy times. Even my always-on-the-go family now tries to get together for dinner on Sunday. It doesn’t always work, but love when it does.

    1. Thank you for your comments Leigh! I think the other reason is people don’t live in the same town as the rest of the family like they did back in the day…also everyone is busy with sports and whatever.

  7. We had Sunday dinners, and loved being around the family. My husband and I try to do at least one a month. Maybe we will try do host more than one…thanks for bringing up the memories, and I am very sorry for the your loss of your son.

  8. Such sweet memories, Renee! My family was so fraught with dysfunction that happy family get-togethers were rare (and certainly not a tradition!). Thanks for sharing your happy times.

    1. Haralee, thanks! I think Carla has a great idea…maybe some friends would like to do Sunday dinners…because I have lost so many family members and my daughter and 3 grands live in Vermont…

  9. We had Sunday dinners every night of the week 🙂 well at least the nuclear family. I’ve been thinking about this concept so much lately and longing to launch a Sunday dinner with my neighbor friends. I know people are so busy but I wish we could just gather unplugged and be together each Sunday night as the weekends wrap up and the craziness of the week is about to begin

    1. It truly was a magical time…those sunday dinners…your idea sounds great Carla…maybe I can find some people who will want to do it too!

  10. I loved that we went to Nanny’s or Grandmas for Sunday dinners as a kid…such great memories. I also miss the Sunday dinners we used to have at our house or at Dave’s. It was always fun to have everyone together! Love you Mom!

  11. I loved, loved, loved Sunday dinners. My Mom cooked them for YEARS! It was so much fun talking and laughing with the family. And like all of us “oldies”, I miss them so much.

  12. As a kid, Sunday dinners were at my grandparents. It was a big Italian meal filled with northern Italian cuisine. The family got together and as Italians are wont to do, the conversation was loud and I wonder if anyone listened to anything that was said. Everyone had a good time and it all started when the table was full and my grandfather yelled “Mangia”. As a adult, I lived away from my family so those dinners became a thing of the past. i envy anyone who could enjoy them as an adult.

    1. Your dinners sounds wonderful Andy! I wish we all still had them. I think it makes such a difference in a kids life…

I Love Hearing From You...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.