Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Sunday Dinner with a Cultural Twist

As a stay-at-home-mom I’m always looking for ways to make home life enjoyable and  memorable. Some of my ideas fail hysterically, others are not so bad.

When I read an article about Bill Gates in which he discussed the importance of family traditions, I scolded myself for not having thought of that before. I resolved that we would have at least one.

Then I drew blanks for what it would be.

One of Gates’ was to wear matching pajamas on Christmas. Since I couldn’t think of anything better, I tried that the first year. Christmas pajamas are expensive. And with every kid under ten in this house–with markers, food spills, spit ups, and growth spurts–the odds that they’ll all put on and keep on the same pajamas in a twenty-four hour period, let alone from year to year, are unlikely.

Operation Matching Pajamas was scrapped.

I then thought back to my upbringing. For Thanksgiving my parents made the staple foods like turkey, ham, and potatoes. My sisters and I were each responsible for creating a new dish from a cookbook recipe no one in the family had tried before, and my brother would use a new cookbook recipe to make a dessert. What resulted was a modern, eclectic Thanksgiving meal with the traditional bones as the framework.

My family drew from that idea and came up with something suited for us.

We decided our tradition should involve things we enjoy that resonate with who we are. We are a family who loves Jesus, a troupe who likes to travel, and each of us is a tried and true member of the “I love to grub” club.

So we came up with Psalm Sunday Dinners. Based on Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth,” we use the nations God created to inspire the foods we eat on different Sundays of the month, and we of course take a moment to be still and give Him thanks for it all.

Here’s how it works:

Each family member writes on a piece of paper what food they’d like to try for a Sunday dinner (for little ones just ask what they’d like and write it for them (be ready for pizza)). It can be general (e.g., French food) or something specific (e.g. Arroz con pollo).

Put the folded sheets of paper in a container and have one family member draw one. That will be what’s on the menu for the coming Sunday. During the week google recipes (or use a cookbook) and buy any necessary ingredients.

Have everyone in the family participate in some way: Eliana is my little sous chef. Mathias ducks in and out for the jobs he likes (cracking an egg, playing with sticky dough). Iselle gets to pour in ingredients that have already been measured out. Jon typically taste tests, responds to on-call tasks, or takes Iselle from the kitchen when she gets ambitious and decides she wants more important jobs.

When the meal is done we pray together, eat together, then discuss fun facts about the country or culture our meal was inspired by. At the end of dinner, we pull out the container and someone else draws next Sunday’s meal. Refill the container every 1st Sunday.

This can be done once a month, every other Sunday, or every Sunday. However you do it, if you decide to try, it’s a blast. The kids love it, and as far as memories of family traditions go, I think it’ll accomplish what we’re aiming for.

This Sunday’s theme was Hawaiian (courtesy of Eliana).

We had Kahlua pork and Hawaiian egg bread (recipes courtesy of allrecipes.com) with rice.

Cracking the coconuts with Daddy!

She had high expectations for the coconut milk: creamy, sweet, candy-ish…

She was highly disappointed. He, however, enjoyed it.

So did he.

The dough was so sticky we were happy to get it on the pan in any shape. It was hard to stop eating though….sooooooo good!

Fun facts: The name Jon in Hawaii is Keoni. The state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Next Sunday is Chinese orange fish (courtesy of Mathias).

If you try this out please let me know what you make, how it goes, and post pictures!

6 responses to “Sunday Dinner with a Cultural Twist”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: