In this harried, 24/7, screen-driven world, you have to make an effort to gather friends and family for some quality face time. Why not dedicate the Sunday meal to sitting together, sans smartphones and catching up? It's a great way to wrap up the weekend and start the next week fresh and feeling connected. Plus, Sunday suppers are conducive to slow cooking and big meals that make your house smell great. Put it on the calendar, send out an email blast, create an event on Facebook—do whatever you need to do to get everyone to the table.
Before you know it, this event will be one of the things you all look forward to all week.
- Plan ahead. On the first Sunday of the month, brainstorm the meals for the next three weeks. Let the kids pick a main dish that the rest have to work around or agree upon a cuisine that you've all wanted to explore.
- Keep it loose. Scheduling conflicts mean that sometimes you might only get half the family to the table. Don't cancel. Sally forth and make enough food for the missing members' lunch the next day.
- Pair with wine. If it's mostly adults at your table, decide on different wine each week and let that help drive your menu.
- Ask for help. Rotate one person every week to be the Sweet Tooth (aka dessert chooser). Make his or her assignment ahead of time in case it requires baking.
- Start the conversation. Have each person share his or her high/low moment of the day or weekend.
All Hands On Deck
Sunday suppers should be a group effort. Even the smallest member of the family can help by snapping beans or cutting mushrooms with a butter knife. Making kids a part of the meal not only teaches them about the food they're eating, but makes cooking and gathering a part of their lives even when they're no longer under your roof. A note about teens: Remember when you were self-conscious about everything, especially talking to your parents? Wouldn't it have been nice to have a task like chopping lettuce or peeling carrots as a "reason" to be hanging out in the kitchen? Yeah.