Gathering family around the kitchen table is symbolic of gathering around a sacred altar in our homes!
Family mealtime has always played an important role in my life. I grew up in a home of 7 children and my dear mother had a warm meal every night for us to gather for. Our kitchen was not grand and my mom was not a master chef, in fact cooking was not her main event, but my parents understood how important it was to have that time together each day as a family. Beside our kitchen table sat two five-gallon buckets filled with wheat, and when neighbors or unexpected guests stopped by our house around dinner time, my parents always invited the guests to "pull up a bucket" and join us for dinner. The buckets were lovingly used as extra seating around the already full table but somehow there seemed to be enough room and enough food for one more person. Everyone was welcome and few declined the offers.
Sunday Dinners were extra special at my home. Coming home from church to experience the aroma of Roast Beef cooking is a memory not to be soon forgotten. Adding to the sense of smell, the table in the Dining Room was always a beautiful sight. The old table was dressed each week with its lace tablecloth, silverware from the velvet lined box, and long stemmed drinking goblets reserved for that special weekly occasion. I have come to learn that this way of dining came from my mother's Welsh upbringing and I'm grateful that she recognized the value of this and passed it on to me. These memories have become sacred for me. It was a ritual that kept our family grounded, bonded, and connected, and was always full of laughter and delight.
When my husband and I were married we agreed to having dinner together each night from 6:00-7:00 and we honored that. That time together was not a huge chunk out of our day but it became "our time" to connect, share, communicate, eat often times mediocre food, and just be together. Lucky for me, my husband was raised in a home with the same value on family mealtime. I could write a book on how his dear mother has healed hearts with her cooking and love for serving others!!! When our children entered the picture, we continued to honor that designated dinner time slot and have for 27 years now!! It seems a miracle to me that we were able to do this through the many years of extracurricular activities but I firmly believe that making this a priority as a family aided in our success.
I suppose what I didn't realize what my parents were teaching me in my youth that I now more fully understand is that family time is sacred time, and sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to feed not only hungry bodies, but hungry souls. Souls that need love, reassurance, communication, laughter, teaching, and human touch. This is what family mealtime is about!
Sunday dinner is still a special occasion in our home. The Dinners are a little more "extra" than weekday meals and it has become a time that is sacred to our children as well. When they started leaving home we instituted 3rd Sunday Dinner. We knew that it would be difficult to join together frequently but hoped that by claiming one day a month, everyone would make an effort to be there. And it worked. Dinner on the 3rd Sunday of each month is well anticipated by our family members and it has come to include many family friends. Living in a college town has given us the opportunity to be a home away from home. Our children have brought friends and roommates to dinner and last night our family size more than doubled for dinner. My heart felt so full as our home "alter" became a source of love, compassion, laughter, friendship, and worship. Being intentional about family mealtime has been a constant source of strength for me and my family.
Keeping meals interesting and trying to tap into all of the senses can be a fun challenge because, like my mother, cooking is not my main talent. I enjoy good food but the "foodie" talent went to my sisters. I am good at creating experiences, however, and I can cook a few things really well!! Last night we had a family favorite which we recently served at our son's wedding and again at an over- night retreat for 60 people. (I say WE here, meaning, my husband is a hard working provider, and is so willing to help organize, set up, and clean up, and whatever else needs to be done. I do the planning, shopping, preparing and cooking. My kids are great about helping wherever they can as well and are first class entertainers!)
Sweet Pork Burritos are the family favorite recipe I am referring to. This recipe is a crowd pleaser, can be made ahead of time, left overs (if you have any) can be frozen, and it is incredibly EASY to prepare!!!!
Sweet Pork Burrito Meat
Ingredients: (These are the amounts I used for a 7 lb. roast, but I think up to 10 lbs would be fine)
Pork Roast (Butt is my favorite) *Bone-in is fine
3 8oz. cans tomato sauce
2 8oz cans El Pato (hot tomato sauce)
1.5 C Brown Sugar
2 C. water (or apple juice for a little variety in the flavor
That's it!! Those are your ingredients!
Place the pork roast in a crock pot.
Dump all of the other ingredients on top.
Cover and cook on High heat for 8 hrs. Remove the bone and shred the meat with forks while it's still in the crock pot. This will be super tender and will shred with ease.
These are the options that I will usually have to accompany the meat:
Tortilla shells of your choice
Black OR Pinto Beans
Green Chili Sauce
*Cilantro if you'd like. I hear some people love it!!
To make it really fun, we ordered these tin bowls from Amazon for our son's wedding and we had just enough left over to feed our crowd the other night.
They're not exactly on the same playing field as silverware from the velvet lined box, or long stemmed goblets, but they somehow make the food taste better. Aaaaaand...fewer dishes to clean!! (These can also be recycled to be a little more earth friendly).
*We ordered the ones with the straight sides (not pie pans) and no lids. For the reception we also used the disposable baking pans for all of the "toppings" so that our kitchen crew weren't washing dishes all night!* You're Welcome!
Enjoy this recipe my friends and remember that your family will remember experiences more than anything you can give them! Eating these burritos, it's an experience!!
Create a Beautiful Life!