Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday Lunch

Traditionally in Provence, lunch, is the main meal of the day. Monday through Saturday, this doesn't bother me, because during the work week, I can send The Boyfriend off to work with his little packed lunch (lately more pastas and salads because he's been complaining about all the sandwiches, too American apparently. It's not like I'm sending him off with PB & J with the crusts cut off or anything, and beggars shouldn't be choosers).

And Saturdays are not a problem because we are usually running around and end up at Quick. I love Quick, don't ask me how, but it somehow seems a little healthier than McDonald's, even though I usually get a Giant burger and a hot dog. (Oh my, I think my butt got bigger just thinking about it).

But on Sundays, the day of rest, Provencal tradition requires that I cook a large meal to be on the table at 12:30. And I know what you may be thinking. Why doesn't The Boyfriend take turns cooking his share of Sunday lunches? Trust me, nobody wants that to happen. I'd end up eating partially cooked potatoes and a can of cold ravioli.

On Sundays the question is inevitable, "what do you cook for midday?" (excuse the strange structure of the sentence, but it's an exact quote of The Boyfriend's wobbly English).

Now this gets on my wick and is usually met with a loud sigh and eye roll.

Sundays for me were always my relaxing day, which is no little feat, relaxation is not a natural state for me. But on a Sunday, it's all about the newspaper, TV, and my feet up (when I lived stateside it meant a Lifetime movie marathon too, oh how I miss those. Meredith Baxter Bernie, Morgan Fairchild, Lindsay Wagner, always in distress before finding their inner female warrior, Oscar calibre stuff).

I have absolutely no problem cooking a large meal for Sunday evening, I love doing that, slowly cooking around 6pm with a glass of wine in my hand, moving at a nice pace, setting the table. After a lovely long day of Sunday relaxation of course.

But midday lunch? That breaks up the whole day, no relaxation at all.

It's like wake up, have a little coffee, and then BAM, it's cooking time. Where's the relaxation in that? Especially when it's inevitable that Honey Jr shows up to play chess with The Boyfriend around noon which means he ends up needing to be fed too. And then The Boyfriend can't help with the dishes if he's still on his little play date with Honey Jr.

Sunday lunch in Provence isn't a fast affair. It's a set table, an aperitif, a first course, a main course, dessert if you've got it, a cheese plate, lots of wine, and a digestif. And nobody even dreams of leaving the table for at least two hours.

Does this sound relaxing?

Yes, if we're at Papa's house and Papa's Wife is cooking. But when it's my turn, no no no.

I'm thinking of going on strike.

Now that would be very French of me.


P.S. Dreamfarm Girl sent a message asking if Le Petit Village was OK after the horrible storms battered France. Fortunately Le Petit Village was not effected at all. Thanks for thinking of us Dreamfarm Girl =)


  1. I hope that The Boyfriend thanked you properly. That is one beautiful feast. I wanted to step right through that photograph, grab a class of wine and enjoy.

  2. Sara, would you believe that I have to cook Sunday-like every frikkin day of the week? Italians are like the French, apparently. Husband and two kids home for lunch everyday. I know what you mean about midday cooking screwing up your entire day...from 11:30 until 2:30ish I'm cooking, serving, eating and washing up. Kind of makes a person want to quit eating altogether. lol I grew up on sandwiches for lunch, did I die? no. As a consequence, Sundays are my off days. And any complaints get the evil eye.

  3. I believe it Tammy!! In all honesty I love the tradition, but find it a huge pain in the heiny doing it all the time.
    A salad and a sandwich every once in awhile isn't going to kill them!

  4. Sara - Yes, the feast in that photo does look wonderful; but I cannot claim it. It's from a site that does house rentals in Provence:

  5. Sounds like a worldwide tradition. A few of my older relatives used to talk of Sunday lunches, following church services, that would include no less than 6-8 dishes. Luckily, I'm part of the newer, lazier generation and Halbastram doesn't expect these large meals. I pop in a pizza, hand him a cherry cola and we're set until nightfall.

  6. I too love the idea but loathe the work. The hubby and I have found a middle ground on the Sundays I'm off, long booze filled afternoon at our favorite sports bar. Guess that's one of the good things about living stateside.

  7. I think it's the fact that it HAS to be on the table by 12:30 that would get to me. I've got no problem cooking a big sunday brunch'esque meal, but don't expect it before 1:30 or 2.

  8. To be the guest would be lovely...but to be the one to have to do it each week! Yikes! I have to admit as the parents have aged there have been a few Sundays that I am cooking from morning till night (they won't come at the same time...yes...annoying) and I would dearly love to just relax. This is your life though...tradition that perhaps you will be able to slightly change it up...someday?

    Then when Tammy said she has to do it everyday!!! Oh the kitchen big enough for everyone to help at?

  9. I agree- cooking a big Sunday dinner is one thing, a nice thing, but lunch is a no no. In Michigan we used to get invited to lunch after church all the time. I'd see the spread and think, "what time did you get up??" The answer was usually "around 5 o'clock." Um, no thank you.

  10. I guess it's a french tradition : a Lunch with special meal is an habit : here in my house as well ... Execption when we go out for a promenade like this last week-end , we come at home and brunch ! But if we stay home in the morning i cook or Alex do it ... Sunday evening are relax time , no way for a big diner ! How fun is the cultural difference ... You will get this habit soon ! courage LOL

  11. As an Italian, early Sunday dinners were the norm and to this day, bring back many happy memories.

  12. Ahhhhh doesn't that picture look relaxing and pituresque? Sadly it sounds like getting it to the table is nothing close to relaxing huh?

    You should go on strike, it'd be fun to see the reactions. But, I'm a bit devilish that way.


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