sunday dinner. The fine establishment of churchgoers whereby someone puts in a roast or something and gets dressed and heads off to church. You come home, family in tow, to a finished dinner. So, the story used to go. When I was a child, and maybe this isn’t normal, church was different. Our (non)denomination was set up so that every Sunday there where two morning services and by this, I don’t mean that there were two services that were the same and the early birds went to one and the rest of the world went to the second one. There was a ‘worship’ or ‘breaking of bread’ service where you would worship and take communion and also take the offering. Kids would sit and read or color if they weren’t inclined to pay attention. I played a lot of games of dots and tic tac toe with my sister and read Little House on the Prairie books. Then there was the fellowship time (or halftime) where cookies, doughnuts and coffee flowed. For quite a lot of years of my childhood my mom and dad set up the halftime events. Sunday mornings we would arrive early to brew giant urns of coffee and put out cookies on plates. The second service was a teaching service and the time when Sunday School happened for kids. Our church was set up so that this was the one you would bring people to because it was a teaching service and nothing was asked of them from the standpoint of money. An interesting setup and not one I have encountered since. After the second service people would convivially decamp to Ivar’s or Skipper’s for fish & chips (Seattle) or to someone’s home to share Sunday dinner. I never could get why dinner was at lunch but it was always called that. There was usually some sort of roast and potatoes and rolls or a 70’s casserole like lasagna. I miss those days and the hospitality that was so freely offered.
Today, church feels different, in ways I can’t put my finger on. But a big one is how we leave and what we do with our Sunday afternoon. We hustle out after the service to run errands, to Target, for a hair cut, to the vegetable stand. Somewhere in the middle today I said, ‘I just want something really good to eat-something that someone took care to make.’ So Z offered up Cask & Larder. I love their food-the Southern-ness of it all, the finely crafted and careful plates of interesting flavors. So many tastes, textures and ideas all rolled up in one bite. I think there is some amount of sadness and joy in South that comes forward in this cooking. I can’t put my finger on it. I had Nashville Hot Chicken-sweet and spicy sitting on top of pureed bread and boiled new potatoes with a heaving egg on some lightly dressed frisee. A tiny dice of dill pickles on the chicken showing an eye for detail. Z had a hushpuppy corn waffle with charred corn relish and melting pork belly. It all speaks of what is here, using what they have, crafting the food into more than the sum of it’s parts. This dinner was delicious but also a little bit sad. I miss those days of visiting and eating with friends and families and joining new people in their homes-seeing their turf and sharing a meal.