I can’t promise you that there will be good manners, nor can I promise you that there will be no discussions about bums and boogers, but I can promise that Sunday family meals will provide entertainment for future girlfriends and memories to last a lifetime.
Brought to you by Coles
Sunday dinner was always a big deal in our house when I was growing up. It was the one night of the week that we were allowed to have Coca Cola and the house smelt of rosemary from the roast that was often sizzling away in the oven or the crackling of the pork in the webber.
We always sat at the big table in my parent’s dining room where we each had our own unofficially assigned seats, and the memories of those meals go beyond a childhood and well into our teenage years.
Our friends were always welcome to join us at the table and OMG the nerves I felt whenever I brought home a new or potential boyfriend.
I can still remember the Sunday night when my hubby Carl met my parents for the very first time and joined us for dinner.
I wanted them so badly to like him because I REALLY liked him, and given my parents and my family were so important to me and I couldn’t bear thinking about what would have happened if they didn’t get on??
Quite possibly it could have been a deal breaker.
Fortunately, Carl fitted in like it was always meant to be.
He easily navigated the awkward inquisitions, the grilling from my brother and it wasn’t long before he became and remained a regular at the table.
Even after I moved out of home, Carl and I would go back to my family home for Sunday night dinner. The wine would flow, the conversations were loud and my Grandmother would sit at her place at the table and blush from the tips or her ears right down to her toes with some of the things we would talk about.
After my brother moved overseas and Carl and I married and created our own little family, the logistics of kid’s bedtimes and activities etc made it more difficult to continue with the Sunday night tradition at my parent’s place.
Back when my children lived only in my imagination, I always dreamt of a big table packed full of kids and noise and food and endless happy chatter.
I imagined my children growing up and bringing home friends and partners to join us at the table for Sunday night dinner, and even back then, before my children were born - I planned on letting their future partners know that I had already baggsed Sunday nights and Christmas dinner.
Now that those imaginary kids are actual flesh and blood, I still feel the same way about family dinners and the full table.
I love nothing more than the fact that the kids look forward to Sunday night dinner together and that despite everyone’s busy schedules with sports and friends etc, that our Sunday night meal is a priority.
Hey, their manners aren’t always that impressive, and as I once did to my parents, my boys take great delight in making me squirm with their choice of conversation topics, but I love that they too feel totally comfortable with inviting friends to join us.
They know I have baggsed Sunday dinner and Christmas for like forever and they too are all for it… for now… just as long as the Paddle Pops are always freely flowing.
With just one loud whistle from Dad, they race home from wherever they are – in the park or up the street on their bikes and skateboards and then as soon as they walk through the door they get busy with putting the music on and lighting up the lanterns and fairy lights or the backyard fire.
They are always as keen as mustard for a post dinner game of soccer or a swim in the pool and as they have gotten older, at least two of them like to be involved in the planning and preparation of the meal.
This makes my heart sing.
These dinners are what I always dreamed about and I hope that my children will one day also dream about recreating these Sunday night meals with their future families and that they will cherish these memories and tradition as much as I do.
I was dead set serious when I said that we let everyone have a say in what was on the menu.
I know, I need my head read right?!
I’m the first to admit that it often makes for a mishmash of food on the table, but to their credit - everyone tries everything and for the most part everything is enjoyed… even the food that Carl and I suggest that they initially stick their noses up at.
On this particular Sunday night dinner, everything was devoured… although there are no prizes for guessing what the kids chose versus what we grown-ups chose for the menu.
Pumpkin & Beetroot Salad (see recipe below),Mixed Potato Wedges (see recipe below),Garlic Bread, PeriPeri Chicken, BBQ Chicken Kebabs and chocolate Paddle Pops.
SHOPPING LIST: You will need a couple of beetroot heads, butternut pumpkin, a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, mixed lettuce leaves, 1 lemon, feta cheese, ½ cup cous cous, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, caster sugar.
Coles of course always has an abundance of fresh produce on offer, so coming up with a menu that everyone will enjoy won’t be too hard. Of course if you are stuck for ideas you can always try out one of the delicious recipes from the latest Coles magazine which is free in store or you can download the current and the past issues here.
If you are dedicated to a more tradition Sunday dinner and by that I mean having a roast baking in the oven, Coles has you covered with their selections of Roast cuts including Pork, Beef, Lamb and Chicken.
All of the fresh beef, pork, lamb and chicken in the Cole’s meat department is Australian grown including the mince, burgers and snags too so you can rest easy your family meals are helping to support our Aussie farmers too.
And of course it would not be a Sunday night tradition if there wasn’t some kind of ice-cream or Paddle Pops on offer for dessert, or on this particular night two Paddles Pops because these boys of mine totally scammed me.
Do you have memories of Sunday night family dinners from when you were growing up?
Is this a tradition you have or would consider introducing for your own family?