I come from a family where "family night" was pretty much every night.
There was no missing dinner, drive-thru feast, or pizza Fridays. Funkes ate together and all went to bed at a reasonable hour - thanks to Mama Funke's ability to make a home cooked meal and raise four kids all before 7pm when Dad rolled in from a busy day in the city.
Sunday dinner was the penultimate meal of the week. In fact, Sunday was pretty much all about God and food.
We'd wake up and get into our Sunday best. Church was at 10:30 in the morning and lasted until 11:40 - unless we "received and leaved". The "receive and leave" was when you ate the body of Christ, bowed most reverently toward the big JC with a giant smile, and then went straight to the door and frolicked down the grassy path to the car - skipping out on boring announcements and final prayers. You were home about 10-20 minutes earlier, but it made a difference.
Because you were getting a nice sandwich.
It was the kind of sandwich that dreams are made of. Best bread, handmade condiments from the finest ingredients, leafy greens grown organically, and giant beef steak tomatoes that rested on thoughtfully selected deli meats.
We'd then break for the Sunday mystery movie.
Around 4pm we'd have cocktail hour in the living room. Everyone had fancy drinks. Minor's got Shirley Temples (who am I kidding, I was the minor). Adults got Pimm's cups or Mom's famously strong Manhattan's. There were cheeses, smoked meats, liverwurst, crackers, sometimes even mini pizzas with pastrami and provalone - creative recipes from my father's mad-cook mind.
My father only cooked on the weekends. When he did he might as well have been a top chef. Food was prepared delicately, perfectly, and deliciously. Of course, tears might be shed and words might lead to blows but dinner was consistently pretty damn good. Served in the dinning room, on the good table cloth. At least three courses. Sometimes, we'd go all the way through cordials and get to cheese plates and fruit.
It was a day of rest, and good conversation. Most Sunday nights I remember laying in my bed with a full belly and a giant smile as my head hit the pillow and I passed out.
So, when new roommate Emily moved in and made chicken pot pie last weekend for Sunday dinner I was fondly reminded of a past time long dropped but never forgotten. We all agreed we enjoyed the week starting out with a home cooked meal.
This Sunday was my turn. I made stew. Sure, I didn't make tons of courses, there was no happy hour because we're tired from the week's drinking, and we just don't have the patte and brie kinda money - dinner alone was nearly charged. But, the warmth of the home cooking, and the fun of having a sit-down meal together made it feel like Sunday at home.