On Sunday, my friend, Becky, who just happens to be married to my cousin, Gary, made the comment on Facebook that they were having popcorn for supper. She and Gary both grew up having popcorn for Sunday supper, sometimes accompanied by cheese and veggies.
That comment set off a slew of responses from other friends who also grew up having popcorn for Sunday night supper. Most of us still do. Coincidentally, all of those responded are (a) Mennonite, (b) grew up in the Midwest, (c) have farming roots, and (d) grew up having huge Sunday dinners.
Looking back, maybe the popcorn tradition grew out of sheer exhaustion on our mothers’ parts. They’d cooked for the family all week and by Sunday night, were ready for a night off.
So we discussed this a little bit more, and discovered that several of our families also deemed Sunday supper the one meal where we could eat wherever we wanted. Becky’s family often watched tv on their little black and white that probably got all of three stations. My family — the last in town to get a tv because my dad insisted on waiting until his boss — the college president — got one, played games or read.
Becky says she asked Gary where he thought this originated. He had two explanations: 1) that we were all members of the same cult, and 2) that “it started with the farmers, on the Sundays when the horses weren’t working they gave them a high fiber diet of bran. They figured if it was good enough for the horses it was good enough for the family, and so they used popcorn as the high fiber diet!”
Here’s the thing. There’s a slight hole in that theory. Gary and I share the same grandparents. Our moms are sisters. They come from a long line of “teasers” and I know for a fact that Gary has inherited that tendency. But hey, the horse idea is a good one.
When my husband and I married, I suggested we continue the popcorn routine. I suspect he never was crazy about it, because often he would bake cornbread. But our girls loved the idea, especially the option of eating wherever they wanted to.
And so…we carry on…popcorn, cheese, veggies, fruit and a good book. And for Fred, some cornbread with maple syrup. What better way to end the weekend?