A Tribute to my Grandparent's Sunday Dinner Tradition

Sunday Dinner a cherished Family Tradition

As long as I can remember my family celebrated Sundays together feasting on delightful homemade food and baked goods.  My grandparents immigrated to American from Italy leaving their family behind.  No other members of their family left the mountains of Abruzzi to come here to start a new life.  Having just each other as soon as they started to have a family they began their Sunday tradition of bountiful family dinners.  My grandmother started cooking early in the morning before the family left for church.  On their return from Sunday Mass cooking started in earnest.  My Grandmother fried home made pizza dough then dusted each piece with powered sugar, to her grandchildren delight, for our snack until dinner was ready. Big vats of tomato sauce brimming with sausage, meat balls and pork ribs simmered on the stove.  My grandfather’s specialty pans of veal and peppers cooked in the ovens all ready for us as we all descended on my grandparents.  In the summer tables were set up outside where we would spend the whole day together eating and enjoying our family time together.  All the grandchildren love playing on the swings and running under the grape arbor.  As I got older I helped in the kitchen developing my cooking and baking skills.  The highlight of the day was when all the food was cooked and we gather around the tables to savor the amazing feast that was lovely prepared by my grandparents.  As long as I live I will never forget those wonderfully special Sunday dinners with my family. Magical is how I remember dinners at my grandparents.
After my grandparents passed my mother continued the Sunday dinner tradition with our family which grew over the years with many new additions of in-laws and grandchildren.  My mother as talented a cook as her parents set out a lavish feast for all of her family.  The memories of these wonderful family gatherings flow freely as I sit and write now.  I cherish the times that I spend sharing my mothers fabulous food and hospitality. When I married and started having a family I picked up the family tradition of Sunday dinners; never did I think for a second that I would not have large gatherings with succulent dishes for the whole family to share and enjoy.  My cooking differs from my grandparents in that I cook a wide variety of dishes not just Italian to reflect my love of all types of food.  What hasn’t changed is that I still cook from scratch using the freshest food and spices I can find.  Oh, and you never go home hungry or without a plate of left overs. 
Although my family heritage is all about cooking, gardening and entertaining, what is the underlining theme is the importance of family, and gathering all the family to celebrating life together. The food and dinner is just the vehicle to celebrate together as a family. As my family continues this tradition with every new generation I am grateful to my grandparents who gave us the love of food and family bringing us all together to bask in their love.  My grandparents two very simple people who were so wise in what is important in life, love of family and family tradition.  I thank them every day!

One of my Sunday dinner favorites!

A picture is worth a thousand words or so the saying goes.  Looking at the picture of my Tiramisu cake I think that is so true.  A light angel food cake soaked in coffee and liqueur with a mascarpone filling frosted with whipped cream, need I say more!


Tiramisu Cake

1 Angel Food Cake 8-10 inch, homemade or store bought
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese or 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used mascarpone cheese)
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoon coffee liqueur or Godiva chocolate liqueur which I really like
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoon coffee liqueur
3/4 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
chocolate fudge sauce

Chill a medium mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer

For filling, combine mascarpone or cream cheese,  1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoon liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a electric mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth.

Combine whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoon liqueur in the chilled mixing bowl.  Beat till stiff peaks form. Fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.

Using a serrated knife to cut the angel food cake horizontally into three layers.  Poke holes in the top of the three layers with metal or wooden skewers. Combine coffee and liqueur in a small bowl; slowly drizzle over each cake layer allowing the coffee mixture to soak in the cake layers.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread half the mascarpone filling. Add second layer and spread remaining filling. Add the third layer. Frost with remaining whipped cream.

Heat 1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce till warm in a small sauce pan. Stir in enough liqueur(1-2 tablespoon) to make sauce easy to drizzle.  Drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cake.



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