Childhood Sundays (IRB) PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iceland Review   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 11:18

ingibjorg2 The other day, a friend of mine said that as sort of a New Year’s resolution, she and her husband had decided to try and make Sunday dinners a little special for their three kids. That is, put a little effort into having a nice family dinner on Sunday afternoons.

Not that they had been neglecting their children and needed to add quality time with them into their busy schedules. But they had come to realize that their kids weren’t experiencing the same household routine as they, and most of my generation, had.

My friend said she wanted to create memories for them, similar to those we have of our childhood Sundays. Something that would make them connect a special smell or a certain atmosphere to Sundays.

I knew exactly what she was talking about. When I hear “Sunday dinner” I am instantly taken back to my family’s dining table, my eyes just above the edge of the table, waiting for my mum to put the roast to the table.

Often, the table would have a white laced table cloth on it, with pale blue embroidered flowers. My dad would be standing by the end of the table, arranging bowls with potatoes, canned peas, pickled red cabbage or beet roots, homemade rhubarb jam and a jug with gravy, sometimes urging my siblings to come and sit by the table.

I remember the aroma in the air, coming from the oven, the light cast from the window on the white table cloth, the outlines of my dad in the light as he stood there above me, the church service on the radio in the background.

When my mum brought out the Sunday roast, usually a leg of lamb or lamb saddle, my dad would quickly peel potatoes for us kids and divide them between our plates before cutting the meat.

We didn’t need to dress up, though, and during my older brother and sisters’ teens, they’d sometimes come to the table in their pajamas, straight from bed, if they’d been somewhere partying the night before.

They were allowed to have a lie-in but at least had to come and sit by the table for the Sunday meal.

Sometimes, but very rarely, we’d have canned fruits and cream for dessert. Or a cake in the afternoon.

I guess Sundays were this way because my parents were used to it in their upbringing. Sundays being the day off, a holy day in Christian homes, and a little special family day.

I wonder why it changed. If my generation grew up with the same sort of quality time and good food on Sundays, why aren’t we carrying it on to the next generation?

Since I don’t have a family of my own, I didn’t quite realize the change until a few years ago when a colleague of mine, a woman some years older than me, told me that she and her husband couldn’t be bothered cooking on Sundays.

They had the “big family dinner” on Saturdays rather than Sundays. And then it was often something a little fancy, often a BBQ, just because Saturday was the only day of the week they had enough time, had just done the groceries and could be bothered.

On Sundays, if at home, they preferred lounging around and being lazy, thus not cooking either. So pizza or some other type of fast food had become the ordinary Sunday meal.

I was a little perplexed. In my singlehood life, pizza and other fast food was a Saturday meal, usually eaten in front of the TV.

I still had this built-in feeling that Sundays should be a little more special than that. But then again, I don’t have a family and my cooking skills are almost non-existent so it’s not like I invite friends and family over for big Sunday dinners.

However, I sometimes make Icelandic pancakes, with cream and blueberries, on Sundays and holler my mum and siblings for a little family gathering on a Sunday afternoon.

If I ever have kids, though, I think I’d want them to have similar memories of Sundays as I do. Or perhaps it doesn’t matter if it’s Saturdays or Sundays, but still, some sort of a regular family dinner in the midst of our hectic everyday life can only do us good, I think.

Ingibjörg Rósa Björnsdóttir – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2012 21:30

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