Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Sunday Dinner’ evokes sweet memories and tradition

"Sunday Dinner,” a “Savor the South” cookbook written by Bridgette A. Lacy, was recently published by The University of North Carolina Press. (Lisa Tutman-Oglesby)

Bridgette A. Lacy remembers the fine Sunday dinners cooked by her grandfather at his home in Lynchburg, Va., where he grew cantaloupes so sweet, she said, “they tasted like he had poured sugar in the ground.”

She called him “Papa,” and he was the best cook she had ever known.

He called her “his sugar girl.”

To have a seat at his Sunday dinner table was an experience to behold.

Each Sunday, when Lacy was growing up, her family − including her cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles and parents − would gather at her grandparents’ table, where they were served meals cooked by her grandparents. Those dinners included fried chicken, potato salad, yeast rolls, freshly snapped string beans, delicate coconut pies and a dessert her grandfather called “Nilla Wafer Brown Pound Cake.”

Lacy, a food writer based in North Carolina, has just published “Sunday Dinner,” a beautiful collection of essays and Southern recipes that will make your mouth water with each turn of the page. Lacy captures the essence of what those Sunday dinners meant for generations of people in the South.

“Sunday dinner,” Lacy writes, “was not just a meal on the plate; it was a palette of rich colors and textures. In my family, Sunday dinner meant that the table was set with ironed linen. The good china and the silver sat alongside the gold- and silver-aluminum tumblers that kept the sweet tea nice and cold. The fried chicken and butter beans were seasoned to perfection.”

Careful attention was paid to each detail in her grandparents’ kitchen, where food was cooked from scratch, spices were savored, freshly picked greens were simmered, canned goods were clearly labeled, utensils organized at the ready, blackberries turned into sweet cobblers, children were raised to behave, and dinners were mixed with soul.

“Sunday dinner was the artistic expression of my grandfather’s love for his family,” she writes, “and it was a masterpiece.”

Lacy’s description of her “Papa’s” meal preparation evokes the best kind of food writing and reminds this reader of the kitchen magic evoked in the novel “Like Water for Chocolate.”

Read more here: Click link.