We’ve got plans to cook a Tri-Tip Roast for Sunday Dinner. I cook the roast; Annette will make the gravy. Hmmm…how to proceed?

We have recipes in our heads for both, but we’re always searching for something new, something better. The gravy is especially nagging on her mind. How to make it different? Unusual? Memorable? I’ve got similar thoughts about the roast.

It only takes a moment of searching the web to realize how linked we all are by food. The myriad recipes I stumble on call up memories of past meals, especially the traditional family meal, the Sunday Dinner. Slow-Cooked Pot Roast. Pepper-Crusted Sirloin. Prime Rib Au Jus. Leg of Lamb.

Of course, being British, I want to add Yorkshire Pudding to all the dishes, drenched in Nanny’s signature gravy, which connected all the elements of the meal together forming a quintessential mouthful on the fork —  carrot, green bean, potato, meat, and pudding. Perfection!

But after a minute of Google searches, it becomes clear to me that what I’m really looking for in these recipes is some way to resurrect the time and the feeling of my family around a table in comfort, finding again the emotional connection that is burning bright somewhere in my head.

It’s not the food.

It’s sitting with my kids at the table or perched with them on the bed watching a family movie together in the fog of time gone by. It’s the briefest moments of recollected tranquility and pleasure with my mother and father and brothers and sister at our midday Sunday tradition.

Truth is, part of these memories in my head are not even mine at all. Or at least not mine alone. They come from books I’ve read of dinners eaten by families I’ve never known around a table I’ve never seen. Or from movies I’ve watched, It’s A Wonderful Life, perhaps, or You Can’t Take It With You. 

The glow of connective images projected through the decades and into my heart has knitted with my own experiences to become a montage of images and feelings I now embrace as my own. They’ve become the pleasant and delightful memories of warmth and companionship, of love and good times.

My recipe requirements for this Tri-Tip meal necessitate a change in search terms. Entering pot roast or prime rib or tasty gravy or even Yorkshire Pudding will never do.

My fingers hover above the keyboard…I better start with something like Treasured Sunday Memories and hope for the best.





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