Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Sunday Dinner

Who are these dorks?  It sure as Hell isn't my family.

But what these folks are doing is exactly the same thing my parental units and I did every Sunday afternoon for years.   Enjoying a Sunday roast dinner.

Now folks in England have been doing this for ages.   Roasting a piece of meat and some vegetables in the oven.   My mom and dad were not as erudite as those in the United Kingdom but this was one tradition that lasted for us all the way from my single-digit childhood to when I was in college.  Indeed, in those latter years, I even came home from Fordham University every Sunday to partake in the one meal a week that the three of us ate together.

That, and, oh yeah, to do my laundry.

It was like clockwork.   Around noon time, my father would start prepping whatever meat it was.   Either an eye round of beef, a roast chicken, or a pork loin.   My mother would be seated at the kitchen table.  Smoking a cigarette and doing the crossword puzzle in that Sunday's edition of the New York Daily News.   

In the pan, the meat would go and then Dad would slice up an onion, some potatoes, and a couple of carrots.  

By 1PM, it was in the oven.  By 2PM, we were eating.   By 230PM, I was back watching a baseball game.   And, in the college years, by 5PM, my father was driving me back to the dorm.

It was all done silently and like robots.  But, ironically, it was the one family tradition we had.  

Indeed, the process would begin the day before.   My parents would have a brief conversation.

"What's on sale this week at the Quick Way?"   This was a meat market at the corner of 241st Street and White Plains Road in the Bronx.

"Pork loin."

And that's how simple and mundane it became.   Meanwhile, everything else in the pan was the same.   Potatoes.  Carrots.  Onions.  

For weeks.   For years.

Now my grandparents were downstairs doing the same thing.   Every Sunday.   A roast dinner.   A little blander because Grandma never met a seasoning that she would use.   But a roast dinner nonetheless.    

Except their meal was earlier.  High noon.  Sharp.

So, the aromas of the two meals permeated the house for a good five to six hours every Sunday.

After my grandfather died, there was a motion in my household to combine the two roast dinners.   Grandma would head upstairs to our area of the house at 2PM.   

That lasted three weeks.   We were eating way too late for her tastes.   She missed 12 Noon.   And she went back to preparing a Sunday roast dinner for herself.   And the plating time got earlier and earlier.   I used to joke that, eventually, my grandmother was eating her Sunday dinner on Saturday night.

Of course, old traditions are hard to kill.   And, to this day, I prepare a big Sunday dinner every week myself.  Sometimes for guests.   Or often time for me, myself, and I.  

Except I eat at 5PM.   Heck, somebody has to break out of a mold eventually.

Stay tuned on a later day where I will share my foolproof recipe for a perfect Sunday roast dinner.

Dinner last night:  Hamburger at the Federal Bar.

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