Get Your Sunday Dinner On

When I was a kid, adhering to my family’s Sunday routine was non-negotiable – Mass in the morning, dinner with the extended family in the evening.

As much as I hated having to drag myself out of bed in the morning, then suffer through pinched cheeks and a seat at the “kiddie” table with my younger cousins, I’d give my left arm to be able to relive just one of those Sundays.

Crowded into my Nana’s cozy rosemary-scented house, my grandpa, dad and uncles would sit around the kitchen table, talking and smoking, while the women of the family would help her get dinner ready. We kids would be shoo’d outside or relegated to their rumpus room where we’d play with ancient sets of Lincoln Logs or Pick-Up-Sticks.

I can actually feel my hair graying as I wax nostalgic.

My mouth still waters at the memory of a plated filled with my grandmother’s roasted pork tenderloin, fluffy mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. But food wasn’t the only thing I looked forward to.

As the youngest child of a dual-income family, I witnessed my maritally-challenged parents battle it out on a regular basis. But during Sunday dinners, fighting was verboten. Between anybody. Even us kids. Believe me when I tell you the last thing we wanted was our Nana to suddenly appear in our midst, apron tied around her waist with a smudge of flour on her horn-rimmed glasses, waving a spatula and scolding, “You kids keep it down. I’m cooking.”

Seeing as I can’t turn back the clock to relive this fond and somewhat dysfunctional family memory, I can replicate the food. Almost. 

This dish (from comes mighty close and is super easy. Plus, it has the added bonus of filling my house with the same rosemary-laced aroma. Now, if only I had an apron…

Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Oven Roasted Potatoes

1/3 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crushed
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 whole pork tenderloins (3/4 to 1 lb. each)
2 1/2 lbs. new potatoes, quartered
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir oil, garlic and seasonings; coat meat with 3 tablespoons of seasoning mixture. Place in large roasting pan. Toss potatoes with remaining seasoning mixture; arrange around meat in pan.
Roast 35 to 40 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 155°F and juices run clear, stirring potatoes after 20 minutes. Broil on top rack of oven 5 minutes to brown. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serves 8. 


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