Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sabbath Rest

I do not work on Sundays; I take a Sabbath the way I think God wants people to. So I do pleasant things that refresh me: go to church, nap, read, hike, and visit with family and friends. I do not shop, dine out or do housework (except for Sunday dinner - more on that in a bit).

There was a time, as a teacher, that I felt compelled by my work load to get a lot of schoolwork done on Sundays. I hated Sundays more than any day of the week because I resented never getting a break. Now I love Sundays. And even though my housework is not onerous or overwhelming, I need that break and am usually happy to dive back into it on Monday mornings; and by Saturday, all I want is a long afternoon with a book. It's balanced, see?

In the spirit of celebration with family, we eat a big meal after church. OK, ok, it's also a deep bow to tradition. I make an effort to plate the food nicely in the kitchen or use nice serving dishes on the table; I want my family to know they are important enough to warrant the extra dishes and fuss that is associated with company. Occasionally we light candles or have flowers too.

Even though we have a big meal after church, I actually don't do a lot of cooking on Sundays. Because my children are totally out of patience when church is over, I plan dinner so it's basically ready to go when we walk in the door.

I'd like to explain to you how I do this in a little series called "Sunday Dinner" because it's a different kind of meal planning and preparation. Every Monday (not Sunday!!) I will post on our Sunday dinner. Due to the exigencies of this meal, the photos will probably be less attractive: half-empty serving dishes and partially filled plates. If you are not a Sabbath rester, you could still employ these techniques and recipes for days when you have no time to prepare dinner or want to use the time for something else (I occasionally run errands between 4 and 6pm - the children are rested from their naps and then I give them a big snack to keep them going).

Here is last Sunday's dinner when it was over, as children were being whisked off to naps:

This meal started on Wednesday when I put a chuck roast in the fridge to thaw. On Saturday night, I browned it and put it in my slow cooker crock. I piled it with the rest of the stuff from the recipes (I cobbled together about 3 recipes). Whole baby bella mushrooms, carrot chunks, and sliced onions; red wine, beef stock, some canned tomatoes, dried thyme, pepper and salt. Put the lid on the whole business and put the crock in the fridge.

On Sunday morning, as soon as I got up, I put the crock in the slow cooker and turned it on high. When we left for church, I turned it to low. I followed one of the recipes for thickening it when we got home, to my regret. It called for a beurre manie, which is butter and flour rubbed together; it was too much fat. I should have followed my instinct and whisked flour into cold wine or water and then into the hot stew. When I thickened the stew, I also hacked the roast into smaller pieces, added some chopped garlic, more pepper and thyme, and a slug of Worcestershire sauce (to up the salt and flavor at the same time).

Sunday dinner menu:
Beef Bourguignon
egg noodles (cooked when we got home)
peas (freezer; cooked when we got home)
pepper cabbage (got out of freezer on Saturday)

I actually did more cooking when we got home from church than I usually do. But that will be evident as this series progresses. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear the whats and whys of your Sundays. . .


Anonymous said...

Fantastic series idea! Can't wait to follow along. One of my O.O. Mennonite friend's Saturday chores (in addition to washing her hair) was to make a fancy dessert to serve her boyfriend when he came visiting Sunday evening. This was, apparently, the place to pull out all the stops. She made the first cake roll I ever saw. I think I'd like to add dessert to my Saturday cooking list.


Christian - Modobject@Home said...

I am really looking forward to this series chronicling how you do it... Sunday dinner. This is an area where I have failed since becoming a mother 7.5 years ago. I would love to resurrect this tradition in our home, but honestly I don't know where to begin... I guess long before Sunday morning! Looking forward to your ideas and words of wisdom.

Abbi said...

My mom does a wonderful job of always having a nice Sunday dinner ready and waiting when they arrive home from church. Growing up it was usually a roast and I loved that. In my own home I am working to get better at doing that, but sometimes I am still putting stuff together when I arrive home.

I try to do less work on Sunday as well. It was fun to hear about your routine.

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