What was your favorite Sunday dinner as a child...and traditions?

As I was fixing dinner this Sunday my mind returned to “the good old days”. It seems that today everyone is busy and family dinners are a thing of the past. If you could would you enjoy it and if you do tell us about it.

What was you favorite? Mine was roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, corn, apple pie!!!
We talked and shared good conversation…unfortunately that is where I cut my teeth on politics and religious topics. My family continues but everyone is busy and many Sundays its just my husband and myself…

Let’s share…:smiley:

our special occasion meal was roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, but never on Sunday. My mom’s rule was not to cook a big dinner on Sunday. She would could breakfast, the only day of the week we had bacon, eggs etc., but not dinner. Except in the worst weather we usually went for some kind of drive or outing, usually just walking in a local or state park, with a stop at the cider mill or someplace similar, and a sandwich lunch.

I kept up the no Sunday cooking rule, but we usually had a Sunday night supper of something like Welsh rarebit, French toast, or something else easy, which the kids fixed.

Our family weren’t big dinner eaters, so we always had weekend lunches. Dad does a mean barbecue, so that was often on the menu. Funnily enough, we’d often have our priest over, so we too would cut our teeth on religious topics :smiley:

When that wasn’t the case, Dad would tell us incredible folk stories from his part of the world.

I think this is a fascinating question. I think that the medical community ought to ask it more and more. A generation ago, there were very few “fat” kids in the U.S… Now around a third of children are overweight or obese. I think that doctors and scientists ought to study the way we ate back then, and see if perhaps a return to those eating patterns would keep our children thinner and healthier. I know that’s simplistic, but it’s worth a look-see.

I really don’t recall big Sunday dinners except on special occasions, and they were usually held at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Our family didn’t do family dinners, even during the week. My dad worked a third shift for 17 years, and a second shift for the next 17 years, so he was often sleeping during the day or evening. My brother and I would eat at the kitchen table (we didn’t have dining room), or sometimes we would eat in the living room on the floor in front of the TV, but with newspapers spread out under our plates. Funny, my mother didn’t eat with us. She would pick at food, but I don’t remember her eating with us very often. I wonder if she ate with my father later, after we were in bed.

Like many moms in the 1960s, my mom followed a “schedule” of meals and made the same things every week. This was done for a lot of logical reasons. One of the reasons was cost–she could pretty much count on groceries costing the same amount every week. And shopping was very quick–even though my brother and I tagged along with her, she would be in and out of the store in just a short time, so we wouldn’t have time to get naughty.

Sunday was almost always roast beef. The leftovers were ground up in a meat grinder (hand cranked), mixed with salad dressing and pickle relish, and used for my dad’s lunch sandwiches for the first few days of the week.

I can’t remember the specific days of the week, but we always had fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, pork chops, chicken fried steak, hamburgers, and hot dogs. When I was a little older (about 13), my mom learned to make tacos, which the whole family loved.

Usually meat loaf day was Wednesday, because by then the roast beef had run out and my dad could take meat loaf sandwiches for lunch for the rest of the week.

There were certainly variations–occasionally my dad brought home catfish, which I refused to eat after I got sick on it once. I still won’t eat it. Sometimes we would have a smoked sausage.

We never had pizza, which my parents considered “snack food.”

We never, ever had spaghetti or any other kind of Italian food. My parents both loathed garlic and they had a prejudice against Italians and their food. So we never had it. When I got old enough to figure things out, I would learn when other kids at school were having spaghetti, and then get myself invited over to their house for supper on those nights. I hated pork chops, and I was always happy to skip that meal at my house and eat spaghetti at someone else’s house! (I still hate pork chops.)

My mother made mashed potatoes for almost every meal. Taters were cheap and it was an easy dish. I hate “real” mashed potatoes today–I prefer the boxed variety. On Sundays, she would bake the potatoes.

Occasionally she would substitute buttered noodles for the starch.

We almost always had canned green beans, corn, or peas for a vegetable. Every few weeks, my mother would bring home either fresh cauliflower or fresh brussels sprouts, and my brother and I would pig out on these! We loved them.

In the summer, my mother always had a garden, and we would eat green beans every single day. We loved them.

Since my grandparents lived on a farm, we were kept supplied with sweet corn all summer, and ate it almost every day. My granddad gave away sweet corn by the bushel to everyone, including all our neighbors, the pastors, my dad’s work buddies, my music teacher–everyone.

I never had salad until I was in Junior High–I didn’t know what it was, and I had never seen salad dressing. We occasionally had leaf lettuce with a little vinegar and sugar, but the leaves were on the side of our plates, not in a wooden bowl. Sometimes we would have radishes, too.

And tomatoes–fresh out of the garden. My mother would slice them up and we would eat them with sugar.

My mother made a cake or a pie once a week, usually on Saturdays so we would have something to offer if anyone dropped by on Sunday. She also made a batch of plain piecrust cookies. These sweets were expected to last the entire week. By Friday, everything was gone.

For snacks, my brother and I had apples, raisins, grapes (in season), applesauce, a small cup of marshmallows, a few graham crackers, or a piece of bread. Sometimes my mom would give us raw oatmeal in a cup with a little brown sugar. My brother still eats this as a snack. And sometimes we would get a little cup of coconut. Yummy.

Once a week, we had a candy bar, after church. Candy bars were five for a quarter back then, and my dad would take the extra one to work on Monday night.

Once a week, usually on Saturdays when he was home, my dad would bring home a half gallon of ice cream, and this, too, would last the entire week.

Almost every morning, my dad would bring home donuts and sweet rolls from the bakery near his factory. They would open early to sell the “day olds” left over from the day before, and my dad would buy them cheap.

My dad had (and still has) a sweet tooth, and when I look back, I can see that he was the one who would bring home the sweets. He’s really curtailed it in the last decade, but I think he wishes he could eat donuts all the time!

We always drank milk with meals. We didn’t have soda in the house until I was in Junior high. Even then, we were only allowed to drink small cups of soda.

I only remember a few times from my childhood eating out, and those were when relatives took us out. People didn’t take kids to restaurants back then. People seldom went to restaurants. My dad would occasionally bring home burgers from a place called “Geri’s,” kind of like McDonalds, only local. Some neighbors of ours owned it. My brother and I would split a small hamburger, and the whole family would split the little bag of French fries. My parents always said that the food tasted like cardboard, but my dad continued to buy it every few weeks out of kindness to the neighbors.

My brother and I were never fat growing up. I remember enjoying food, but not craving it like kids seem to do today. I just ate what I was given (except cat fish and pork chops!) I think back then, we ate to live rather than lived to eat.

This is such a fun, nostalgic topic!

We always had Sunday dinner as a family, and every night during the week. (I was born in 1952, south of Boston.) Dad managed a Ford dealership and worked long hours - 8-6:30 some days, and on Monday and Wednesdays he came home a little earlier but went back to work until 9 pm.

Sunday dinner was usually roast beef, mashed potatoes, green peas, corn or carrots, and rolls. (To this day, my husband doesn’t like it, as he often came to dinner during college and had his fill!) During the week, we had fairly plain, filling food; baked chicken, pork chops, occasionally lamb chops, hamburger, spaghetti and meatballs, “goulash” (not really - macaroni with ground beef and tomatoes, but called goulash for some reason.) Sunday evening was usually pizza from one of those wonderful, hole-in-the wall places that served terrific New York style pizza (making me hungry even now!) We never had anything exotic or ethnic; I didn’t have Mexican or Chinese food until my twenties!

Friday evening was always seafood for my dad, who loved it, and spaghetti with tomato sauce, or grilled cheese, for the rest of us. Poor Mother was made physically ill by seafood of any type, so she would buy a quart of “steamers” for Dad, throw the clams into the pot and leave the room!

Mother made some great desserts, including wonderful brownies, apple pies, chocolate chip bars, lemon bars. Somehow, I managed to stay skinny (until my forties, at least!) as I tended to be a picky eater.

Eating out was a rare treat; I would be beside myself with excitement if we stopped at a Howard Johnson’s. Occasionally, we would go to Maria’s, a great little Italian restaurant, which Mother loved. Holidays were wonderful family events with my cousins who lived on the other side of Boston, and LOTS of great food.

We kept up the evening meal tradition as best we could (DH has always worked until 10 or 11, as he does TV news) so it was often just the girls and I. Sunday dinners were just the four of us, as we’ve always lived far from the rest of the family.

Lovely memories!!! Fun hearing about others’ traditions.

When I was growing up, my dad was out of town sometimes for work.

So… when dad was gone my mom would say 'stupid stuff tonight?"

which meant… whatever us kids were craving she would make… it made no sense all together as a dinner… it was fun.

Spaghetti, potatoes and green beans…that kind of make no sense dinner.

Oh and we got to eat in front of the t.v on those nights.

of course, when dad came home… normal dinner was on the table and it was all nutritional sound.

What a charming question.

Always a roast (pork was my favorite), fresh fish, or crabs, depending on the season, and everything you can imagine from my grandpop’s garden. Dessert was canned fruit salad (yuck–loved it then).

The very best though, was the aunts and uncles (my mom was one of eight kids) and all the cousins. There was always a crowd. Of course back then the women did the cooking and cleaning up. When I was older (12 or so) it was fun to help in the kitchen, so much laughing and chatting. The men always went to the Republican Club, even though they weren’t republicans, but it was the only place that allowed beer to be served on Sundays. They played darts. I don’t think women were allowed. At least that’s what the men said.

We kids played outside in the yard unless it was unbearably cold or wet. We must have been exceptionally well behaved because there were a bunch of us and I don’t remember getting in any trouble. Those were blessed times with wonderful family members, most of them gone many years now. One day we will meet again. Thank you for making me smile.

Sunday dinners were roast chicken with stuffing and gravy, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, stuffed rolled pork or lamb with mint sauce. Usually everything was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables such as carrots, peas, runner beans from the garden. We grew our own potatoes too. We often had soup as a starter and apple pie, cheesecake or summer pudding for dessert - all were home-made. My favourite Sunday dinner was roast chicken but I also loved rolled pork.

My mother followed a schedule during the week: Monday was leftovers. Tuesday, usually lamb chops or home-made hamburgers, Wednesday was “dinner at lunch time day” often spaghetti or lasagne, Thursdays we often had some sort of meat pie and Friday was fish, cod, trout, salmon. plaice, etc. Saturday we usually didn’t have a big meal - baked potatoes with various toppings or fresh salad with all the ingredients from the garden.
I never had McDonald’s till I was 19 when the first branch opened in Cork. We ate out about once a month, often India or Chinese.

Annie… WOW! Same with our family! :smiley: But when we had it… it was always on Sunday… and it was my Dad who did the cooking! This meal was his specialty. Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes with gravy and green beans! When it was Mom’s turn, she did the BEST meat loaf and boiled potatoes (with red gravy… aka tomato gravy) that you ever had! We always had corn on the cob, with that one!

My beloved, late Dad… was really “The Cook” in our family (a fact that my sweet Mom humbly admits to!). He was awesome! As he progressed with his knowledge, Sunday nights would include such yummy dishes as: Pepper Steak over rice; Sweet and Sour Chicken; Fried chicken with homemade, melt in your mouth BAKING POWDER BISCUITS! Oh my, how I miss his cooking! I didn’t inherit his culinary skills :blush:

My mother also made a “melt in your mouth” GOOD carrot cake… with cream cheese frosting! She used to get us kids to grate the carrots! (That was in the days… before you could get them already grated). If we wanted Mama’s carrot cake, then we had to grate the carrots… and we did so, willingly!

What a fun topic, Theresa! Thanks for posting it! God bless. :slight_smile:

On the way home from Mass, my family would listen to Dick Clarks “Rock, Roll and Remember”-a program having 50’s and 60’s music. I loved it. Then, we would stop and get donuts and my father would get the paper.

Not a Sunday dinner family…but we did have traditions!

Thanks for the posts. They all had one thing in common…family.

As a nation should we begin to appreciate the hings that made the country great. Family, tradition, ethnic pride. We have come so far so fast and yet are we better equipped as family?

Another remeberance…
I lived in an extremely small town growing up. looking back it was the best. We had one really Italian family in the town…oh the smells that came out of that kitchen, especially on Sunday. The family had six kids and the door was always open for one more. We all hoped to be asked and always asked for permission in advance just in case we were “the chosen”! My mother, God rest her soul always said the same thing, “We do not eat spaghetti on Sunday. That is a Monday night dinner.” I was scarred for life!

Any mother stories to go along with this thread? :stuck_out_tongue:

Sunday always started with Mass. Then we all went to breakfast: me, my sister, my mom, sometimes dad, my grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and whoever happened to be in Church (other relatives, our priest if he was free, etc.). Every Sunday: same diner, same items, same faces. Many of the other parishoners ate there as well, and we all got up and down to say hi, visit older people, see the babies, etc. It lasted far more than 30 minutes! By the time we’d gotten out of there, it was often 1 pm.

Then maybe shopping - usually for groceries, usually for dinner. Dinner was always at 5 pm at my grandparents’ house. And yes, we often had roast beef! (Or roast beast, as my dad called it :)). If we were really, really lucky, and it was winter, we’d have potato pancakes.

In the summers, Sunday meant going to my “uncle-who’s-really-just-a-family-friend”'s house. EVERYONE was there. I mean, both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles from both sides, family friends, lots of kids … the adults would play volleyball or horseshoes and the kids would swim in the pool. Dinner was corn-on-the-cob, grilled hotdogs, etc. It involved about 20 people. Usually, some kid was banging on the player piano; adults would end up singing along.

Wow, this sounds like the 1950s when I read it over. But I’m only 28!! I feel really lucky to have grown up this way, even if I live really far away now.

For us, Sunday dinners always varied, but they were usually of the meat & potatoes variety. Saturdays were always the day for big parties and cookouts, but we would sometimes have small get togethers on Sunday.

My favorite Sunday tradition was the year or two after my brother quit going to mass. My sister would go to the 11:00 mass with my mom, then out for shopping. My dad still felt obliged to go to Church at this time (he grew away from it over the years and neither me or my mom have been able to coax him into going back regularly). He & I would go to the 8:00 AM Sunday mass, then out for breakfast and usually a hike or something like that. To this day I prefer the early mass because it gives me the rest of the day for family time and reminds me of that time with my dad.

My mother cycled through all the different roasts for Sunday dinner - roast chicken or capon, baked ham, roast beef, roast pork, roast lamb, roast veal - always with wonderful pan gravy, some kind of potato, some kind of vegetable and often homemade apple sauce or a relish tray with celery, olives, pickles & onions or some other cold delicacy. Mother prided herself on the beautiful thin slices of meat she carved, and we ate piles of thinly sliced leftover roast on homemade bread for lunch all week. If the roast was large, she would serve it cold with homemade chili sauce or some other relish for a supper, either late Sunday evening or during the week. Sometimes it reappeared as hash, cut into cubes and warmed with leftover potatoes and gravy in the big iron frying pan.

She baked the bread on Saturday. This started when we moved to the country and my Dad and I would go to auctions and bring all kinds of things home. Once it was a breadmaker, which was a large bucket-type contraption with a dough hook on a crank handle that fit through the lid. The recipe was embossed on the bucket. She made two or three loaves, a pan of cloverleaf dinner rolls and either fried bread or “oven bread.” These were made with the dough after the first rising, rolled out and either fried in butter or baked. They were rather flat, but very tasty. We had them for Saturday breakfast.

One of the special treat dinners was pot pie. Mother made a two crust pie filled with cooked beef, pork, onions and potatoes - all dry. She saved the cooking liquid from the meat, onions & potatoes and made a thin, light colored gravy that was passed around and poured over the pie at the table. It was served with lima beans and homemade cole slaw.

The other special dinner was spaghetti and meatballs. Our family is zero percent Italian, but Mother was given her sauce recipe by a chef in an Italian restaurant, and it was very, very good.

We often had my parents’ grown up friends to dinner on Sunday. They would drive an hour from the city to visit our country place. As an only child, I enjoyed this very much. Much less did I enjoy the Sundays when my mother’s brother and wife and six children came to visit. It felt like an invasion, and I counted the minutes until they left. Today, I cherish any time I get to visit with those cousins - isn’t it always the way!

We ate most of these dinners at the dining room table on the good china (with hand painted lavender chrysanthemums on it). It was there that good table manners were taught, along with proper table setting techniques.

Good times. Thanks for this great thread!


My parents never had specific “special” dinners for Sundays, because we weren’t religious growing up (I’m the only Catholic in the family), and often on Sundays we were all separate. But, during the week we always had dinner together, unless there was a school activity. I remember specific things going together, and how that is a family thing to me…and different for every family it seems. We always had pork chops with rice, brown gravy, and any canned veggie (other people have fried potatoes, which is weird to me!). With steak my mom always made these yummy “ranch potatoes” w/ butter, garlic, and herbs in aluminum foil on the grill. We didn’t eat a lot of chicken when we were growing up…except for when mom fried the chicken and made mashed potatoes and cream gravy and corn. Yummy!

This does give me happy thoughts of my family growing up! :thumbsup:

I am surprised at the number answers where people were having a roast for Sunday dinner. :eek: Growing up in New York, everyone we knew was eating only one thing for dinner—Spaghetti , lasagna, or some other form of pasta!

After mass on Sundays, my dad always made our family breakfast. But when that was all cleaned up and the dishes put away, it was time for my mom to start cooking for dinner.

Like most Italian-American families on Long Island, Sunday dinner meant only one thing- macaroni and gravy. There is some debate over whether it was called sauce or gravy or pasta, but whatever it was called, that is what we had.

The Italian music was playing on the radio in the kitchen and my mom was frying up the meatballs. They went into the sauce that would simmer for hours . It was a long time to wait for dinner, so at some point I always would sneak a piece of Italian bread and dunk it in the sauce. Mmmmm, heaven. My mom’s meatballs and sauce were the best. Really. Just like everyone else knew their mom’s was the best! :thumbsup:

Dinner was almost always at three on Sunday. It is a tradition that continues to this day with my own family. And yes, most of the time we are eating pasta. Now it is my own family sneaking into the kitchen for a bit of bread in the sauce pot. Only now it is my sauce that is the best. :smiley:

Growing up, my Dad always made sunday breakfast which typically was pancakes or waffles (we had a huge waffle iron) with Karo Syrup, fried eggs & bacon or sausage. My Father was from upstate N.Y.(Mom from Brooklyn) and one of the attractions he had for Florida was the beach. He loved it. After church (I didn’t grow up Catholic) and during the summer, our family piled into the station wagon and drove to St. Augustine Beach & had a picnic at Anastasia Park. After spending the day there, we would head back home and either stop at the German Bakery in St. Augustine for doughnuts or the Tastee-Freeze for a soft-serve vanilla cone. We usually didn’t have dinner, at least anything big on those days. When we were not going to the beach for a picnic, we usually had Spaghetti or Roast. My Mom was part Italian and she made wonderful sauce that if there were no meatballs in it, she would put some other type of meat like pork chops, chicken or short ribs. My Father died when I was 12, but those memories are so special & vivid in my mind. I love this thread! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share these important parts of our lives!:slight_smile:

Mmmmm, roast beef, potatoes, carrots and onions.

Make it up on Saturday night and turn on the crock pot Sunday morning to avoid too much ‘working’ on Sunday.

When I was a kid we usually ate out on Sunday during the Winter, Spring and Summer but during the fall we would have sandwiches while football was on and then breakfast for dinner!

Yummmm. Breakfast for dinner.

Nothing tops my mother’s roast beef with homemade gravy and whipped potatoes.

On Sundays she usually made some sort of roast (anything but pork roast, which my dad hated) by putting it in before Mass, then setting the oven timer so that it would be done just a couple of minutes after we got back. Occasionally we had lasagna. We lived very close to chuch and always walked to and from the 10:00. After dinner we normally went on some sort of excursion, like to a college campus or park or minor historic site, and then usually had an inexpensive supper out, which was our only meal out most of the time.

We also had somewhat of a meal schedule. Wednesday was Italian night, with pasta, salad, and Italian sausage. Friday was always fish, even if it was fish sticks and french fries (when Dad was at work). Saturday was hot dogs and beans, without fail. My mother even made homemade beans. Sunday was the aforementioned midday Sunday dinner with supper out.

I have been enjoying reading all the posts…

They are all making me very hungry…

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