Family Sunday 2.0
Sam Wilson tries to revive the traditional Sunday lunch. With a few twists.
(Tammy Gardner)
Now that the boys are getting bigger, we’re trying to build more ritual into their lives. I’ve already told you about Wednesday Pizza Party night, and Monday Night Kick-a-ball… but the one we are working on at the moment is the big one. The one mythologised by generations before us, stamped on all manner of morally-fibered merchandise and Betty Crockered way into the heart of modern mommy guilt.

The Sunday Family Lunch

It’s no mean feat resurrecting the Sunday lunch, as it comes with all sorts of unexpected expectations. For example, you need to both own a white table cloth and be confident in your ability to get red wine stains out of it. You need a hot tray. You need a slotted spoon, serving dishes, a dining room table, a whole bunch of relatives… it’s all a little traumatic.

Or you can just say… sod it; we’ll figure out our own Sunday ritual. And so far I feel we’re on the right track.

First off, as neither of our parents or any of our siblings live near us, we labelled our best friends Bryan and Terry as family and got them to commit to coming over for the day at least every second Sunday. (It wasn’t very hard. It seems everyone’s starved for a little family ritual these days.)

Next, we all piled into the kitchen to figure out how to make a roast. Those of you who have already mastered this art – I salute you. For the rest, I need to let you know that, sadly, it’s harder than Mom made it look. Bunging the meat in the oven is the easy bit; all the white-sauced cauliflower and crispy roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings – that’s the bitch.

And while we’ve all got good at our own bit of the traditional Sunday roast – Bryan’s Yorkshire puds are gloriously puffy, Terry’s apple pie is cinnamon-tastic and we all bow down to Jamie Oliver’s gravy prowess – we found, as the world’s first ‘dial-a-meal-any-meal’ generation, we’re not that geared to eating the same thing over and over.

So we’ve settled instead on Spectacular Sundays, where the rule is we can make whatever we want for lunch as long as a) it’s hot; b) there’s far too much of it and c) It had to take hours of communal cooking. (Because that’s the fun bit. Everyone in aprons flicking flour at each other.)

We seem to tend towards international cooking… we’ve had Mexican Sunday, with nachos, burritos, tacos and lashings of guacamole. We’ve had Chinese Sunday, with cashew nut chicken and sizzling beef and vegetable chow mein and shrimp crackers and sticky pork ribs. (Actually, that turned into more of a Chinese WEEK.) We’ve gone Indian, Italian and I think we’re almost ready for another good old British roast with all the trimmings.

But while we are all very proud of ourselves, and this cooking together lark, there is one element of our own family Sundays we’ve been unable to re-create. It’s all too shaming, but the truth is… the Google Generation SUCKS at trivial pursuit.

As Bryan put it so succinctly just last Sunday, after a humiliating 2-hour Trivial Pursuit bout with nary a pie slice in sight:
“Loved ones, while we may have reclaimed our right to the slotted spoon, I am afraid we have – collectively it appears – outsourced our general knowledge to Wikipedia. Please, please can we stop this and have a Wii Tennis Challenge instead?”

Love my family, with both its traditional and not so traditional bits.

What are your Sunday traditions? Do you go by the book or have you tailor made them?

Read more by Sam Wilson

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