Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When is Dinner "Lunch" and Supper "Dinner"?

 Have you ever debated this question? I remember that, as a child, only the meal we ate at school was called "lunch." As in, "Are you eating lunch in the cafeteria today?" So I was confused when I heard people refer to dinner as lunch or supper as dinner. My mother finally explained that some people called it that way but she couldn't say why. It never sounded quite right to me and I guess it didn't to her either.
When I was young, my mother's father owned a small grocery store. Gramps did not leave the store at noon to come home and eat "lunch." Rather, he came in to enjoy the largest meal of the day prepared by my grandmother, Nannie. He sat down to a meat and 3 vegetables, bread, and sometimes, dessert. After resting for a bit, Gramps returned to the store, fortified for the rest of the work day. The evening meal, or supper, was a lighter repast of leftover vegetables from lunch, a sandwich, or crumbled cornbread in a glass of buttermilk.

 In our home today the midday meal is called "lunch" and the evening one"supper."  There is one exception....Sunday dinner, the meal served after church. It is, hands down, my favorite meal of the week. I love all that the words imply...good food, time with family, lively conversation.

 Until a few years ago, my mother-in-law was the cook for Sunday dinner with my occasional contribution of a dish or two. Now the pleasure is mine. On most Sundays, you will find the Gunn family gathered around our table, laughing, talking, and catching up with what has happened to one another since the last Sunday.  It is a special time made even more so when Marie and "B' join us.
Of course, Sunday dinner is more about being together than it is the food served. Nevertheless, I really enjoy preparing dishes that are Gunn family favorites, such as, a recent meal of stuffed green peppers. This is a dish my mother-in-law often made when she was able to cook and I attribute this particular recipe to her.
It really doesn't matter what you call the meal or the day of the week it is served. Even the simplest food can become special and memorable when family gathers around the table. And a compliment such as,"this tastes just like Mama used to make," is worth more than a mink coat and feels just as good!

Sallie's Stuffed Green Peppers
4 medium green peppers
1 lb. ground beef
1 small oinion, chopped
1 cup cooked white rice
2  8oz cans tomato sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
shredded sharp cheese

Cut off tops of peppers and remove ribs and seeds. Drop in boiling water to cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes until slightly tender. Drain well. Brown ground beef and onions together. Drain off fat. Mix in 1 can tomato sauce, rice, and seasonings. Pour other can of tomato sauce evenly over bottom of baking dish. For four peppers an 8 in square pan should do. Place peppers on top of sauce and stuff with meat mixture. Top with cheese and bake at 375 until cheese melts and peppers are done, about 15-20 minutes. Spoon sauce from pan over peppers when serving.

**Nan's notes: I usually have some meat mixture left over which I put in an ovenproof dish, top with cheese and bake along with the peppers. Son John thinks I do this just for him!
Also, the peppers used in the photograph above were especially large so I cut them lengthwise and stuffed with the meat mixture. It worked very well.

Happy cooking!

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