Sunday Suppers Stories

Anderson_CassouletSMALLTo get our food blogging friends cooking from my Perfect One-Dish Dinners my publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt gave books to attendees at a recent conference in San Francisco. Somehow talk about doing a virtual Sunday Supper became a reality, and so many who got the book cooked a recipe (or meal) for family and friends and wrote about it.

As I opened food blog after food blog yesterday morning and read everyone’s Sunday Supper experience,  I felt a little like a kid at Christmas. If I had thought about everyone cooking from my book ahead,  I might have worried! What if the recipes didn’t work? What if they didn’t like my food? But all went well, and so I have some people to thank.

I’ve been in the food magazine/book biz since 1987 and have never felt the love and support of as many people as yesterday. Food bloggers: you are just the best. Thank you for so warmly welcoming Three Many Cooks… and me to your world.

And now for those that participated:

Mike you chose well. Tuna Salad with Sushi Flavorings on Rice Crackers (aka Poor Man’s Sushi) is THE Anderson house hors d’oeurvre. Love that you experimented with pouch salmon, kicked it up with extra wasabi (and reminded us to use sustainable canned tuna).

Lori one of the highest compliments a person can pay me is to say their child liked one of my dishes, so thanks for sharing that your son enjoyed Spicy Chicken Salsa Verde. If I ever get a chance to cook for him, I know what I’m making!

Jeanne, if your gluten-free versions of my Giant Linzer Cookie and Nanny’s Victoria Sponge are as good as that banana bread you baked for Maggy and me when we visited you in Seattle, you’re one gifted baker!

Jamie, you made special leaf cookies to go with the Pecan Pie Sundaes! And this time of year I don’t think there’s a better entrée than Pork Stew With Sweet Potatoes and Prunes—excellent choice!

Wendy, your anxiety performance cooking for your Greek in-laws made me smile, and the lamb shank recipe is actually my favorite in the book. By the way, did your mother-in-law approve of the unorthodox baklava method?

Nancy, your dinner story beautifully captured the Sunday Supper spirit—cooking with your neighbor, your husband setting the table, your sons heading out to pick up cream for the pie. Lovely account.

Michelle, I loved your kid’s voices! Ari (age 8 ) says, “It was fun making dinner with my mom. I am a beginner cook but I could still measure the ingredients for the flat bread and roll out the dough. I also smashed the crackers with my fists for the crab cakes.” And Amelia (age 10) says, “I loved the salad on the flat bread, especially how I could eat it like a pizza! I don’t like using a fork, so this was perfect. Wow!”

Maria, you’re the only one who made Cinnamon Blondies, and boy did they look scrumptious. Apparently so scrumptious that one of your readers thought they might make a great main course. Perfect One-Dish Dessert Dinners–now that’s a book that would sell!

Gaby, you’re a fun person, so it’s totally fitting you would end your Carnita party with Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats which you described as “life changing deliciousness.” Great description!

Paula, that is one gorgeous shot of Sausage and White Beans, Cassoulet-Style—one of the simplest, best recipes in the book. And I’m totally with you. I hate dirty dishes, which is why I married a man who’s happy to wash in exchange for good eats!

Debra, you did it up right, girl, with the Blue Cheese-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Sauce, but I’m so glad you tried the Crispy Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives. Who needs to make potato cakes from scratch for this hors d’oeuvre when there’s frozen hash browns patties?!

Shanna, you get the prize for the best photos. Piper and those Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies (one of my instant alternatives with a little help from Pepperidge Farm) make me long for… I guess it’s a grandchild at this life stage!

Shaina, It’s a real tribute to you that all four of your kids like salmon, curry… and broccoli! From the photos, they might even love it raw, but life’s always better with vinaigrette, and Broccoli Vinaigrette has always been one of our family’s favorite salads.

Jennifer, your Sunday Supper memories brought back my own when you said, “The kids sat at the table and ate the same meal as the grown-ups and then gave each other looks wondering when we could be excused and could go run around.” I know you’re committed to setting a table kids can be excused from, and that’s very important.

Erika, thinking of you and Tom eating paella on Sunday night touched me. I know making Sunday Supper was the last thing you felt like doing on this painfully significant weekend. On the other hand, maybe it was all part of the process that keeps you moving forward.

Kristen, I’m so impressed with your shift from fixed plates to family meal and all the good things it’s doing for your mealtime. When Maggy and Sharon were about your kids’ ages, we started serving in courses—salad and then main course—which had a similar affect on our family dinners.

Shauna (and Danny and Lucy) I’ll never forget Maggy’s and my journey to your welcoming home on Vachon. How instant, easy, and natural our connection. You just let me move into your kitchen and make potatoes (because we desperately needed a food photo for our blog post the next day). I slid out and played with Lu and you seamlessly slid in and started making Prosciutto-Basil Muffins, explaining the conversion from wheat to gluten-free. The muffins—a wee epiphany. The day with you three—a pretty big one.

Jenny, you actually found my favorite simplest dessert in the entire book. Pumpkin-Gingersnap Ice Cream. Sounds hard, like you have to make homemade ice cream. Not so, just fold cooked spiced pumpkin puree into premium vanilla ice cream, stir in store-bought gingersnap cookies. I totally get it when you said, “Can you tell I didn’t let it freeze as long as I should?! Had to try it asap, mmmm!”

Shari, what a feast you made—Frogmore Stew and the Rum Raisin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust. So is it finally time for you to share the story of Three Guys and The Missing Pumpkin Seeds? From one southern girl to another, I totally approve of your substituting pecans.

Amy, that is one gorgeous flan shot, and I like that you pointed out my recipes “enable you to get a scrumptious meal for a group going, and still have time to primp, wash the dog, or hide all the unfolded clothes.” How did you know my laundry trick?

Amanda, now how did I know you’d go straight for the baked camembert food porn shot? I’m also glad you made Festive Roast Chicken and Dressing because being on book tour these next six weeks, you’re not going to get many home-cooked meals. Three Many Cooks is looking forward to seeing you on our coast. And yes, hurry up and get back to your “normal off-colored quirky self.”

Jane, I like that you choose the decidedly French meal in the book. Tell Cate I’m glad she enjoyed her chocolate mousse… and Anna’s too. I like her spirit! I’m sorry the extra caffeine and chocolate kept her awake, but at her age there’s so much to daydream about waiting for sleep to come!

Tracy, Maggy gets full credit for introducing me to Nanny’s Victoria Sponge, her husband’s grandmother’s recipe. In cake world, it’s utter perfection. I like that you spread on seasonal apple butter rather than the suggested raspberry jam.

Katie, and little did I know eight years ago I’d be meeting you at a blogger’s conference. (I confess I was asking your same question–what the heck is a blog anyway—but much more recently than you!) If you need any turkey advice—even on Thanksgiving Day—feel free to call.

Jaden, what a twist in the story–that I was your kitchen mentor and now you’re mine. As it should be! And by the way, I’d be happy to give new books to those future grandchildren of yours, but from experience I know how special it is to get the tattered gravy-stained one from Grandma.

Heather, finally someone made the lasagna! I’m wondering if you made the chicken, spinach-mushroom, or seafood version. You’re right that it’s a perfect dish for young families—prep it during naptime and you’re done. You weren’t bragging when you said you made the accompanying salad from arugula from your garden. That’s so cool!

Gudrun, thanks for making not one, but two! main courses from the book. I love that you were inspired to cook those Sierra Farms lamb shanks sitting in your freezer. Yum.

Jen, what a gorgeous photo of the Mini Parmesan Muffins with Prosciutto and Basil. I’m even more impressed that you manage to pull off a full-time job and blog so beautifully too.

Amber, thank you for your loving support—for Sunday Suppers… and in some way nearly every day. (Confession: Maggy was in Malawi last fall, and one of us Three Many Cooks needed to start tweeting. Over a tasty Thai lunch, Amber set me up on twitter and helped me with my very  first tweet!)

Carrie, I’ve read the following lines in your story several times now, and I get a lump in my throat and a threatening tear every time. “Both of you scraping the bottom of your goblets trying to mop up the last little bits of your Gingersnap-Caramel Pear Parfaits. Your daughter looks up from her goblet and says to you, “Thank you for letting me go……and thank you for wanting to keep me safe.” And you look right at her and say, “Thank you for letting me do my job to keep you safe. You are so precious to me. I love you, sweetie.” And she says, “I love you, too.” And with that, you put the empty goblets in the dishwasher and set your mind on the week ahead.”

And that, my friends, is the whole point of Sunday Suppers. Let’s keep this going!

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  1. says

    We had a fantastic time making your food, and thank you so much for sharing your talents. I’m still making my way through all the posts, and they are all delightful to read. It was an honor to be a part of it. Love you all!

  2. says

    Boy did I enjoy reading all of your beautiful comments to everyone! It was such a pleasure as well as an honor to participate in this fabulous project! I truly enjoyed every moment from beginning to end! To answer your question about the unorthodox baklava method and I quote…(spoken with mouth still full of baklava) “Wendy, honey! Just you HAVE to teach me how to do this! THIS is incredible! …Need I say more?! :)

  3. says

    Kind Pam, So loved being a part of this round-up of Sunday Suppers. Loved reading your comments as well as each of the heartfelt posts. Thank you for all that you and your daughters bring to this food family of sorts. Cheers, Carrie

  4. says

    It was an honor to be included in the Sunday Suppers project! And we still have a big list of recipes that we want to try from your amazing book :-)
    I can only hope that my friends will be as supportive when my new book, The Whole Family Cookbook, comes out this April! xoxo

  5. says

    I just loved reading each of your comments to everyone – what a thoughtful post! Thanks for being such a warm and wonderful part of the food blogging community – you’re amazing!

  6. says

    Pam – I hope to meet you on day soon and share the ‘Cook without a Book’ story I told Maggy. Keep up the great work and come do a signing here in RI or I would love to see you all in CT. Thank You and the girls for including me in the Sunday Suppers group

  7. says

    What a wonderful idea to get a group of people together! I’ve already read a few recaps, but look forward to finishing off the rest of the list. Bravo!! [K]

  8. says

    We are so fortunate to call you, Maggy & Sharon friends (all your menfolk are included!) and it was such a privilege to participate with all the other fabulous bloggers! But the truth of the matter is that the book is fantastic from cover to cover so was quite easy to cook from, and then write about, our experience. The added benefit was remembering our individual family meals – something not enough people do anymore and that’s a shame. You three women are a breath of fresh air – warm, genuine and just so approachable – hugs to all!

  9. says

    Honestly it was entirely my pleasure! Your cookbook is simply wonderful and I’m abashed to admit that it was the first of yours that I have ever read. None of the women around me growing up collected cookbooks.They all cooked from the hip and passed down the line so to speak. I happen to be the oddball and the late bloomer in that area. It really has been a life saver for us this past month with my new schedule. your talent and what you have shared with your lovely girls truly inspires me. Thank you so much for allowing me to be among the talented men and women who participated in your FIRST of many to come virtual dinners. {{{LOTS OF LOVE}}} PS: Yep, shared their shenanigans finally 😉

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