French families traditionally spend long Sunday lunches together, with lots of verve and scrumptious food.
Sundays can get a bit gloomy in France: shops are shut so people tend to head to the movies. For large families, it is the weekly occasion to get together with a guest of two (usually elderly relatives) over a lovely homemade meal to be shared after coming back from church.
Here’s an example of what my mum used to serve us straight from the kitchen:
STARTER: a platter of ham, asparagus, tomatoes, boiled eggs, seasoned with vinaigrette and parsley
MAIN COURSE: rôti de boeuf (roast beef ) or oiseaux sans tête (not real birds! they were little meat parcels with a filling) served with charlotte potatoes and boiled green beans, sprinkled with parsley. We also used to have a fresh lettuce from the farmers’ market with vinaigrette.
CHEESE: a platter of 5 or 6 different cheese served with sliced baguette, no butter.
DESSERT: vacherin à la framboise (raspberry meringue and cream cake, delicious !).
The meal would be doused in white and red wine, always filled half-way (more than that would be considered a sacrilège).
Sunday lunch is entertaining and fills a good part of the day until mid-afternoon. The aim is to communicate around the table without being rushed and it quickly becomes really noisy, animated with laughter, drama, passionate exchanges and memories from the elders.
Text & photos credit and copyright C.A. 2012