Sunday, January 29, 2012

keeping sabbath

when i was a child growing up in a mesa, arizona orange grove that was, lot by lot, being bulldozed and replaced with 70's ranch-style ramblers with desert landscaping in front and a few citrus trees remaining in back, around kidney shaped pools, the sabbath day was both arduous and wonderful.  sometimes boring, sometimes peaceful,

& almost always brimming with delicious and only-on-sunday foods. *

we had three separate church meetings on sunday, and i remember my mother in a slip, nude hose with a reinforced toe & bone-colored high-heeled sandals, browning a spattering roast with a big fork while the exhaust fan hummed away and handel's water music (we listened to this every sunday without fail) accompanied her on my dad's reel-to-reel.  or perhaps she was putting her famous tender rolls--both crescent and clover-shaped--into the oven.  this was either before sunday school or in between sunday school and sacrament meeting.  my dad had already attended early morning preisthood, leaving my mother alone, as mothers usually were back then, to dress, feed, groom and transport seven children to church in our station wagon.

in actuality, the grooming started the day before.  all kids who grow up mormon know the drill from this primary song:

saturday is a special day/it's the day we get ready for sunday./ we clean the house and we shop at the store/ so we won't have to work until monday.

we brush our clothes and we shine our shoes/ and we call it our get the work done day./ then we trim our nails and shampoo our hair/ so we can be ready for sunday.

at our house, with five girls, this involved saturday night shampoos and a lot of pink sponge rollers.  my sisters and i all have fine straight hair, and my mother was a little impatient, so our curls were often bedraggled by the time sunday school was over, and there was always a stray piece of straight hair that had escaped the the curlers.  not like sister nancy m's girls (she had fourteen children) who wore impeccably hand-made matching dresses and pinafores and had ringlets that reached at least to the mid-back.

in fairness to my mother's hair skills, sister nancy m's girls had thick curly hair, so she could make ringlets with only a spray bottle and a finger, and they would last all day.

(let me also mention here sister delores w., the chorister, who had countless hair pieces and false lashes, who wore as much make-up as dolly parton and put just as much effort into her styling, who had a similar platinum-blonde shade of hair as dolly, who never wore the same maxi-dress twice, and whose style i vowed to emulate when i grew up.  she had ten children and drove a custom painted yellow van with checkers on the side and a sign reading: "the w. family taxi service".)

(btw, in our densely mormon neighborhood, i felt that seven children was a very average, perhaps even small & kind of wimpy, number of children for a good lds family to have.)

the sabbath ended, back in the day, with toasted cheese sandwiches (open face with tomato, mayo, s & p) campbell's tomato soup, and hot chocolate while watching wild kingdom and wonderful world of disney.  in slips or pajamas.

a little boring and a little fun, and eminently soothing.

this all came to mind today as i've been preparing sunday dinner.  normally we are lucky enough to go to bam's house for dinner, at least in the winter (she summers in canada), but today i wanted to give her a day off and cook dinner for grandma beth and grandpa woody, who we normally don't see on sundays.

(btw, grandpa woody paid me high compliment last week at the golden corral when he said, "why, their food is almost as good as your cooking.)

i went with an old school menu:  turkey with stuffing*mashed potatoes and gravy* garlic seared green beans* waldorf salad* dinner rolls with rosemary and kosher salt*cranberry orange relish.  

i cooked in heels and these rad zig-zaggy lacy tights (charcoal and bone) that c. picked up at the ann arbor urban outfitters in december of '10.

& i thought about our slightly different way of keeping sabbath now.

& i wondered about how & when  & if you do it.

here's ours:

*bach cantatas--we own all of them.  all.  guess how many he wrote.  that's right.  more than 300.  and they all sound the same. &we've been listening to a new one every week.  though of course i can't tell that it's a new one, because it sounds as same as the old one.
*grilled cheese sandwiches after church
*ny times:  i read modern love, all the food stuff, street style, what i wore, diagnosis, and i hope and pray that bill cunningham has a new slideshow up (he does today, and his narration is particularly rad, especially his comments about women choosing their looks)
*sunday dinner at bam's
*playing cards or the favorites game (this is a rad game.  i'll explain some other time).

inspiration: sunday rituals & tradition old and new & the mozart missa solemnis

looking forward: to making this french onion soup and this giardiniera

legwear:  urban outfitters charcoal and bone lace tights

*don't forget to read this article on mormon cookery.


  1. We did have one similar parallel Sunday evening ritual, but cold cereal for dinner accompanied our wild kingdom viewings. I also remember the super long church days. Sometimes, I'd get lucky and get invited to someone else's house to dinner between meetings.

    1. our parents must have been so wiped out by night time. we never had cold cereal until the 80's. in the 70's we ate a lot of food storage--meaning cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat homemade bread, and fresh squeezed oj from the trees, orange flavored honey from our beehives, and goat's milk from our goat. we also milked a cow that we shared with our cousins. i thought all that was gross back then, but now it seems very impressive and resourceful

  2. Your family sounded nice. I was always embarrassed that we were only a family with a measly four kids. I wondered if it kept my dad from more glamorous church callings.

  3. I forgot about Wild Kingdom and Wonderful World of Disney until right now. Same era, we are.

    Sunday dinners at our house with both grandmas and random roommates/friends. This tradition just seemed to evolve over the last few years. I didn't see it coming, but love it just the same--especially when everyone contributes to the meal.

    1. how lovely to have the college kids on sunday, julie. i bet you have some great food, too.