Caribbean Sunday Lunch were essentially feasts. It was usually the one day everyone had off and people could actually relax, however there was no time for relaxing. The house must be cleaned and the food must be cooked. Everything usually got finished well after lunch but by that time there would be a feeling of accomplishment, because your belly would be full and things were in order to start the week right.
Everything did not always work out this perfectly and there would be usually some rebelling in the middle where you tried to avoid some chores but for the most part that’s how Caribbean families ran on a Sunday. At the time it seemed like a hassle for no good reason but in hindsight there is so much good there. Everyone is busy during the week and the house does not always get the attention it deserves and we tend to eat less healthy because that often feels like the only option.
Those old Sunday rituals of cleaning house and making tons of food were actually excellent ways to deal with those problems. No matter how many people showed up there always seemed to be left overs for days. When you are younger that may seem like a pain because you don’t want to eat the same thing you had yesterday, however as an adult it is fantastic to just have good food easily available to you in the fridge.
If overcooking on a Sunday was such a great idea why don’t we do it anymore? The simple answer is probably because you are the one who has to do all the work now. Mom’s could whip out a feast in three hours that could feed the whole neighbourhood for two days, while you have a hard time boiling rice just right. Home cooked food is the best food but we don’t always appreciate it until we have left home for good. Also, it isn’t trendy to spend all day cooking on a Sunday. Since it is the one day we get to relax, we tend to do other things like brunch. There’s nothing wrong with that, however there is more wisdom to our mother’s madness than we realise.
Cooking that much food at once is basically meal prep. No matter how late mom had to work on Monday, if she cooked up a storm on Sunday you know there is macaroni pie and beef stew in the fridge, so nobody is allowed to complain that they are hungry. It is cooking large batches of food which can be eaten later. This helps to avoid stopping to buy food because you know you have food in the fridge which can save a lot of money.
Since we now live in a more health conscious world we know to make more nutritious food that can better fuel our busy lifestyles. Cooking your own food ensures that the food you eat is actually good for you. Furthermore, you can make it to your taste. Making a huge Sunday lunch gives you that control to fix your diet instead of being tempted by salty fries instead of going for that side salad.
Although, the initial investment of a couple hours may seem like a long time to waste on cooking, it may actually be a time saver in the end. Spending three hours in the kitchen cooking food means there is food in the fridge for the week. That food can be heated up within seconds with a microwave. Three hours over six days is about thirty minutes per day. Thirty minutes for a good healthy meal is a steal considering it is common to spend at least fifteen minutes to drive to a fast food place then another fifteen back, not even considering the wait time.
Sunday lunch may not be in vogue right now but if it saves you time, money and health, it really should be. There is a lot of wisdom behind the way things were done in Barbados. Also, the more you practice the better you will get at executing these Sunday feasts. Moms didn’t get that good overnight. It comes from consistently cooking like that over decades. Try starting with a big batch of rice, steam vegetable, and baked chicken. That’s a relatively simple meal that you can easily portion out for every day. Plus, if you really miss brunch, invite your friends over to eat with you. Just make sure to portion out your meals for the week before anyone gets seconds.
This article was originally published in Fine Cuisine Magazine. Pick up your copy today. Also for more articles like this one check out www.nationnews.com.