It's 6:03 and I've entered the quiet kitchen to begin the morning. It's Sunday, the earliest morning for me all week.
I have vague memories of mom cooking hot Sunday dinners when I was very young. After my parents divorced it didn't continue. The big hams slathered with yellow mustard and lumpy mashed potatoes drowning in butter became a thing of the past.
Then I met my mother-in-law and began to be invited to her Sunday table. She fed me nightly during my engagement to her youngest son and we had full time jobs and four night classes. We studied all day Saturday and slept Sunday afternoon to make it through those weeks. If she didn't cook and Mike didn't drive, I'm not sure I would have survived those semesters.
Her arroz con pollo was one of my favorites, and she could cook it blindfolded while reciting the beatitudes. But she couldn't teach me how to make it. The woman didn't own a single recipe. One time I watched her make it. I tasted when she tasted, stirred when she stirred, and wrote it all down.
I still don't make her arroz con pollo, and I've since learned it's partly because I don't have one of those classic pots that I have found is in every Cuban cook's kitchen. But it's partly me too.
Noemi revived Sunday dinner for me. As newlyweds, we would return to our hometown for weekend visits. When I spent the night at her house, I was privy to her hustle and bustle around the kitchen in the early hours to have lunch ready.
I gladly took up the Sunday lunch mantle, her chicken and rice notwithstanding.
My kids have a lifetime of Sunday lunch memories around our kitchen table. They will treasure them one day, at least that's what I tell myself.
They're not so fond of them now, because, in the last ten years, our extended family has gone out to eat Sundays after church. Noemi's days in the kitchen are long since over. And so, while the cousins and aunts and uncles and Aya went to Cici's for bad pizza, we went home to homemade spaghetti sauce bubbling in the crock pot.
Today, while I get the brown rice to a boil and slide the roast into the oven just before 7AM, I'm thankful for a godly woman, her legacy of Sunday lunch, and the way that she fed me when she fed me.
Sharing with Michelle's Sunday/Monday community, because sometimes what you learn on Sunday you didn't hear in the sermon. And with Laura's Play Dates with God.