Finish This Sentence…

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Finish This Sentence…

By Elizabeth Taliaferro

The meal served midday on Sunday is called _________.  This simple little sentence recently stirred up quite a debate among the editorial team here at Cooking with Paula Deen.  It all started with Paula asking me to develop a story to pay homage to the traditional Sunday Meals of yesteryear.  Remember those?

I sure do. At my house, we’d gather ’round the table, say the blessing, and share a big home-cooked meal. Meatloaf, fried catfish, and Chicken Spaghetti were the kinds of main dishes we looked forward to.  The meal pretty much always had a side or two from Dad’s garden whether freshly picked or proudly canned by my mom during the crop’s peak. And this Sunday meal was the only one during the week where we had dessert.  I’ll never forget the hand-cranked ice cream, peach cobbler, or German Chocolate Cake. We could count on this big meal lasting long enough for us to talk politics and religion smattered with a little town gossip.

My colleagues had similar memories of Sunday conviviality and feasting but the list of favorite foods they recall went on so long it’d be impossible to squeeze them into one magazine story.  So we decided to develop the idea into a feature we’d visit each issue. 


Starting in the March-April, we’ll have “Sunday Dinner” Paula-style.  The first installment includes Paula and her family on a breezy March Savannah Sunday afternoon.  The hearty menu had the whole family lingering around the table leaving us plenty of time to snap photographs to share with you.  The menu is Orange Buttermilk Cake is to die for!

Now back to the controversial question.  What do you call a traditional Sunday midday feast? And wouldn’t you love to see its revival?

Until next time,
Elizabeth Taliaferro

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Reader Comments:


I love your new idea!..I Rremember so well even the smells of sunday dinner. Here in the back woods mountains of Tennessee at my grandmothers house we would have fried chicken;(kids had the leg or wing ). Maybe a big cured country ham ,fried potatoes,killed lettuce and onions at garden time. We would have greens ,white rice,big cathead biscuits fresh churned butter & apple butter .Homemade pickles, kraut or cooked cabbage and soup beans .We also had green beans and most of the time it was leather briches; (dryed strung geenbeans).All things fried in hog lard and when seasoning was called for cooked in bacon grease .And all cooked on wood cook stove. Our drinks were ice cold spring water , fresh buttermilk or sweet cows milk. All took place as soon as church was let out. The deacons would come home with us and sometimes the preacher and his family .Adults were always served first and took the main seats at the table.The kids found their own seats sometimes in front room or in the summer on the front porch in ladder back chairs .We loved it.We would slip the chickens bread and the dogs chicken Paula, we love you so much,I hope you never change your way of thinking. You are what the world needs ...A treasure of memories. THANKS FOR LETTING ME SHARE MINE......

By Rita Davis on March 07, 2012


Paula, I am going to try these cake recipes. They look soooo good! You have so many wonderful recipes that I don't know which ones to do next, thre are so many! Just wanted to encourage you and let you know that you should not pay very much attention to anyone who did not come to you with constructive criticism and criticized you so harshly through the medias. These people are jealous of your sweetness, your brilliance, talents and your enormous success. If they had any kind feelings for you, they would have confronted you kindly face to face. You know, the Bible says that we are to say the truth in love. So, remember no matter how wonderful you are a d sweet and kind you matter how you share your talents, Only one life so soon it will pass, only what's done for Christ will last. Make sure your sweetness and talents and influence don't just last for years....make them last for eternity. If God is with you, who can be against you? If you ever open up a restraunt in Las Vegas, NV, please contact me. I want to work for your organization....I'll even do dishes and wash the floor! Love, Diane

By Diane Adelstone on March 02, 2012


Paula, don't let anyone take your joy. your the real deal, thank you for being you.

By Katharine Brown on February 25, 2012


We always call it Supper cause it was usually later than lunch and lasted longer too. It would be the big meal for the day and fix a snack from leftovers later. I remember Southern Fried Chicken, smashed taters and green beans with bacon. I miss those meals since the boys are grown and married. Blessings to you and your family. Nancy

By nancy rhoads on February 23, 2012


Here in Tennessee we called it Sunday dinner. Mother would put a roast in the oven before we went to church and it would be ready when we got home. What I don't get in all the drama over PD's diabetes is that the media keeps saying the doughnut hamburger is her "signature dish." That's not true at all; it was a one-time feature on one of her episodes. We all know what PD's signature dishes are; fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, gooey butter cakes... these are her signature dishes . All of it is just a dig at PD and lots of bad press. It's her business how long she waited to tell everyone. We all love Paula and this will eventually blow over to her advantage. I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and yes it's scary and leaves you with uncertainties. I now have to really think and plan what I eat. It's not the end of the world.

By Mary on February 04, 2012


Paula, We called it dinner and the last meal of the day supper. Just the way it is in the South. Ever said that to someone that is not a Southner? It gets a really funny look. No, we don't call it lunch very often. Paula, good luck with your diabetes. Hang in there girl. Show everyone you can eat well and still be healthy. Splenda is the best thing that happened to us diabetics!!! Virginia Good

By Virginia Good on February 01, 2012


The meal served midday on Sunday or any other day is: DINNER.....the meal served in the evening is : SUPPER. Still a fan of yours....don't let the d--- a--es in the media get you down....

By Redneck_mama on February 01, 2012


Paula, I so admire your ability to turn lemons into lemonade. As you found a way to survive with your two young boys on your own I have no doubt that you will have the media eating dirt as you embark on this new chapter of your life. Show them what southern girls are made of and publish a diabetic healthy recipe cookbook! I for one would be thrilled to buy it and would love to see you have a show dedicated that in addition to the ones you do now. You Go Girl!

By Ann Stamper on January 29, 2012


Hi Paula, Growing up on the west coast we called it Sunday Dinner with all the family around. It got lost for many years and now my daughter and I have revived the tradition and we call it Family Dinner. We cook together at our house or hers and plan the meals during the week. We include many of your recipes depending on our "theme". The best part is spending time together with kids and grandkids and sometimes extended family!! The talking heads of the media just need to be quiet. Unfortunately, that probably won't happen until another "big story" comes up. Your fans are still here and look forward to seeing you on your show.....and on Bobby's!!! Love both. Thank you for being such a gracious lady in the face of all this media frenzy!!! We love ya gal!!!!!

By Linda G. on January 28, 2012


Hi Paula. Im sorry to hear about the media. But please take it with a stick of butter! They thrive on drama. You are a good woman and when, where, why and how you tell the public about YOUR PERSONAL health is completely up to you!!! You are a person first and a wonderful cook second. You privacy is respected by your true fans. We love you and we stand by you 100%!

By Carri on January 26, 2012


Could we have the recipe for the beautiful cake at the beginning of this blog?! BTW... we always called it Dinner.

By Louise on January 25, 2012


I originated in Pennsylvania. We always called it Sunday Dinner. Weeknights it was Supper but Sunday it was Dinner. Mom would put dinner in the oven before we left for church so it would be ready when we got home. Chicken, Meatloaf,lots of good stuff. My parents has a big garden and we always had either fresh from the garden or something my Mother canned. We would have our Sunday dinner feast. My Dad would take a nap, and Mom would keep her self busy doing something, she never napped. When Dad got up from his nap we would go for a ride. We lived out in the country so we would take a country road somewhere different every Sunday. Or, we would visit family or friends. Then we would come home and have, usually, sandwiches made from what ever we had for Sunday dinner. Sunday was a day of rest, no work on Sunday. It was a very quiet, restful day. We didn't even know what the work stress meant. It was a good life.

By Annie Parham on January 25, 2012


we lived in the north and our sunday meal was called dinner.

By penny on January 24, 2012


We love you Paula and I think those people who do not have anything else to do will slam on you until its old news, so hang in there. Besides it is still Pauls Deen's Southern Cooking show that we all love. I've watched Bobby's show and it is very good too and I will continue to watch it as well. I have diabetes too and good grief those people need to give it a rest. Just keep on doing what your doing, besides it wasn't the butter or mayo that gave us diabetes. Your fans will stand by you and you can count on that.

By Deborah on January 24, 2012


We called the Sunday meal Dinner. Mom would fix some things before church. Good endings... coconut cake, a good pie or strawberry short cake with biscuit cakes! As for Paula not saying about her diab. I would rather see her quit smoking right now, than anything else. Smoking is much worse for diabetics than even those in good health.

By bonnie on January 24, 2012


ty for the recipes my daughtes love to watch you when your boys were on one would say there on lol other would race in room we love your show gloria

By gloria lause on January 24, 2012


Paula, I watch u on Foodnetwork have for a long time, i watch Bobby;s new cooking show when i can. I guess we called it Sunday Dinner, My Mom made fried chicken, better than Col. Sanders. I wish I could return to those days, she never taught me to make it. I have had Type 2 since 1997. I am now 68. I have mine under control, but need to exercise more. I rec. your newsletter. I love watching u, u are one chef that brings family and life to this so hetic fast moving world. I asmire u for where u came from and where u are. My 2nd hubby Roy and I were married about the same time as u and that is when I started watching u on foodnetwork. I so wish u all the best. Keep coming into oour homes and making us laugh and feel good about ourselves. Love u Sweet Southern Lady. I grew up in the Ozarks of Ark. and while I now reside in Ct. my heart and soul are forever in the South. Rosie in Ct.

By Rosie Herdman on January 24, 2012


It was always called Sunday dinner in my house too. And more importantly, I agree with all the other comments about your health. I love your show and love to watch you enjoy cooking and eating! I definitely believe in eating what my family and I want to eat. No, it's not always healthy, but I enjoy living and eating and I'm in relatively good health for my age. My weight isn't an issue and I'm happy! In my opinion, that's all that matters. My daughter-in-law has diabetes and she wears an insulin pump but pretty much eats what she wants in moderation. Please continue to eat and cook what you want to and enjoy life! Don't worry about the people criticizing you, they're just letting somebody else rest! One more thing....I love butter too!!

By Carlene Stratton on January 24, 2012


I have hosted my parents & sister for Sunday Night Dinner for the past several years. It's a great way to see each other on a regular basis and for my daughter to have her extended family around her. We eat a dinner time, so no fancy name - just a note that we participate in this activity. I love that you are going to be posting menu's - I'm always looking for inspiration!

By Jennifer on January 24, 2012


We always called it Sunday dinner. I would so look forward to our Sunday dinner after church. Mama would fix a pot roast, potatoes and carrots with the gravy. In the summer we would have a bounty of sides from my dad's garden and in winter we would also have what mama canned and froze to keep our Sunday dinners going. We would have fried chicken or Chicken and dumplings. Sometimes steak with mama's special gravy. I wish I could go back for one of my Mama's or Grandmama's on either side of the family for one more Sunday dinner.

By Sue Brown on January 24, 2012

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