Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Meals for Family Gatherings
Time Inc. Books, 2017
sup·per ˈsəpər/ noun: an evening meal, typically a light or informal one.
Whether you call you evening meal supper or dinner, if you are from a place or family inclined to a large midday meal on a Sunday, then a light supper is probably right up your alley. You need to eat something, but not too much, and who wants to cook a massive spread after everything you ate earlier? In the southern USA, where they do Sunday lunch in a big way, they’ve also got the Sunday supper figured out.
In Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Meals for Family Gatherings, food writer Cynthia Graubart presents the perfect book of seasonal 2-course menus, usually a protein-based main, plus a side and a dessert, meant to be eaten by family as the final gathering of the weekend before the busy workweek begins again.
These are not necessarily light dishes (chicken casserole, rack of lamb, pulled pork, and baked ham all make an appearance), but are generally recipes that don’t require huge amounts of hands-on time or complicated preparations. The author does offer a section of actual lighter fare with mains made up of soup, sandwiches, and light pasta dishes but there are few vegetarian options other than the sides dishes. Recipes are also large-quantity with most serving at least 6 and up to 12 people, so smaller families may have to do some scaling down of ingredients if they don’t have a freezer or aren’t into leftovers.
Sweet dishes are pulled from a range of desserts, from simple oatmeal cookies to Caramel-Mocha-Sea Salt Cupcakes, Berry Cobbler, and Banana Pudding Cheesecake.
Graubert includes some vignette pages with other food folks (such as chef Nathalie Dupree) called Sundays Past and Present in which they discuss their own food memories, current Sunday supper habits, as well as favourite dishes. There’s also a section called Sunday Upside Down which features brunch offerings such as Sausage Biscuit Gravy Bake, Spring Vegetable Frittata and Praline-Pecan French Toast.
There are some lovely recipes here, that most readers will find appealing and enjoyable to prepare, whether you follow Graubert’s menu suggestions or mix and match to your own tastes. And while in an era of pre-packaged food and ready meals, some of these dishes might still be considered a lot of work for many home cooks, depending on how leisurely your Sunday (or whatever day you’re cooking) might be, the recipes are mostly straight-forward and classic.
Usability (based on hardcover edition): Good. Recipes pages are printed on a background that looks like a linen pattern, and could make use difficult in certain lighting. Fonts are small but not horribly so. Steps in directions are numbers and separated with a line break, and only the recipes for the main dishes include headnotes (which cover all the dishes in that particular menu). No metric measurements included.