Sunday Dinner 1926 — Good But Easy

A witty subscriber from California writes The Farmer’s Wife to share her go-to family meal for the Sabbath – the classic pot roast dinner. She states that with some advanced preparation, she can have a meal on the table twenty minutes after getting home from church, a feat of which her Scottish ancestors would be proud. She also expresses her thankfulness for the wholesome, plentiful and affordable produce available in this country. Her family’s favorite winter dessert is home-canned fruit and a simple cake. In the summer they enjoy fresh fruit and/or jello. This century-old menu reminds me very much of the Sunday dinners that my mother would prepare when I was growing up. I appreciate the sentiments of this God-fearing, hardworking woman. Happy Sunday!   


To The Farmer’s Wife:

As a descendant of Scotch Covenanters – the people who “keep the Sabbath – and everything else they lay their hands on,” I do almost no cooking on the Day of Rest. Yet we consume more then because the family is together and at leisure. The choice of foods and a bit of preparation accomplishes it. Here is a sample meal:

A pot roast with gravy, bread and butter; coffee in winter, iced tea in summer; a vegetable salad, a glass of marmalade, olives or celery, perhaps sliced tomatoes or potato chips and always dessert. In winter the latter is usually a dish of home-canned fruit and a simple cake; in summer, fresh fruit or melon or jello enriched by fruit juices. Our favorite dessert is chilled cantaloupe with a portion of lemon jello in each half, delicious on a hot day.

The pot roast has been cooked Saturday afternoon and the cake prepared or bought. The other dishes are quickly done early Sunday morning, placed in the cooler and ready for placing on the table. The table is set before leaving for church. The roast, left in its kettle, (and large enough to provide cold slices for supper) is reheated while I remove my church-going attire; the gravy is thickened in a jiffy, and we are ready to eat in twenty minutes after we reach home.

This menu omits vegetables. They require last-minute cooking and much preparation; besides, we use them liberally through the week. As fruits are plentiful, cheap and wholesome in this country, we make the most of them, canning a variety in summer for the sake of these Sunday dinners and unexpected company. It pays.

This meal is simple yet meets the family taste; no dishes are there merely for looks, and each dish is as good as we can make it. Not how much but how good is the rule of my people. Never would I make a pie on Sunday! My Scotch fore-mothers would disown me at the pearly gates! Besides, pies, elaborate foods and steaming hot dishes are not necessary to family happiness or health. – L. McC., California

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife — A Magazine for Farm Women, October 1926, Page 481 Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul Minnesota