Sunday Supper revisited.

Dear friends,


Back when I blogged under the name of Mayberry Magpie, I created a series of Monday posts called “Sunday Supper” about the family dinner I had created the evening before. I typically created elaborate place settings and menus, and then shared many photos of the table and all the recipes from the meal. On a handful of really complicated meals with multiple dishes, I even created step-by-step timelines to help the novice cook time her supper so that all dishes were ready to serve at the same time.

It was quite an undertaking. I often planned my meals a couple of weeks in advance, and I spent the entire day prepping, cooking, photographing and writing. I had a small but faithful readership and I did it because 1) planning and serving lovely meals is the thing I most love to do, an expression of art and love so inextricably linked to who I am that I very nearly consider it a calling; and 2) as silly as it sounds, I felt like I had found a creative niche. There are thousands of food blogs, but none other (that I knew of) that combined both cooking and table arranging into a single beautiful package. And I was always proud of the fact that I had no training and no hired help or stylists and I could say “Yes, that’s really what our table looked like for dinner and that’s really the menu I prepared.”

I suspect some thought my posts were for show. But the truth is I’ve not been blogging about Sunday Suppers for more than two years, but my family will attest that we still eat lovely meals I’ve prepared on tables set with china and linens most Sunday nights. I have an insatiable appetite for collecting dishes and linens and I figure my weekend enterprise puts my obsession to good use. Not to mention that the meals are usually pretty darn tasty.

And back to that calling thing — I feel so strongly about the value of family meals that I wrote this on my former blog:

     Family meal time is sacred. A home-cooked meal served on a lovely table in the company of loved ones will cure nearly all ills — nutritional, social, and spiritual.  Join me each week for a Sunday Supper that combines delicious food with inspiring tablescapes — the perfect combination for mealtime communions that create lasting memories.

I still feel that way, though I haven’t gone to such great lengths to share the results. But this week, I decided to wade back in to my old blogging waters . . . at least up to my ankles.

Last night we enjoyed one of the tastiest but simple meals I’ve prepared in a long time. I made this grilled tri-tip roast and served it thinly sliced with black bean and corn salad. That’s it, other than a few accompaniments like homemade salsa and corn tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and warm flour tortillas. I wrapped my beef in a warm tortilla with sour cream and cheese. Kate ate her beef with bean and corn salad over tortilla chips, nacho style. Parker and Mr. Mom simply consumed huge amounts of both beef and bean and corn salad. It was a style-your-own supper that worked for everybody.

And as usual, the table was colorful and pretty with black toile dishes, rattan chargers, a striped runner, red linen napkins, and a centerpiece of roses and hydrangeas.


Oh, and dessert was probably the best part! I warmed banana nut/chocolate chip muffins in the microwave and served each with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream and a drizzle of caramel/date topping. It was easy-peasy with a huge taste payoff, thanks to homemade muffins and the best date sauce you’ll ever eat. (For those interested in giving this a try, note that I followed the muffin recipe to the “T” except I added a half cup of chocolate chips.)


It was my friend and longtime reader Deb who commented on yesterday’s post and encouraged me to tell you about this Sunday’s Supper. And after being a lazy blogger for so very long, I decided to take her up on it, albeit with a slightly different format. Thanks, Deb, for reminding me how satisfying it is to share our family meals with a wider audience.

With gratitude {for faithful readers far and wide and and eager diners ’round my table},

Joan, who never knew how much she liked dates until she discovered the Date Lady (an Ozarks gem!) in a Springfield grocery store and is delighted to support a Missouri entrepreneur

Debt of Gratitude Corn and Bean Salad

(Also known as Joan’s Favorite Summertime Dip)

1 can of corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained
5 green onions, chopped, including green parts
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 TBLS olive oil
4 TBLS lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine first 8 ingredients and set aside.  Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over other ingredients and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Serves 8.



  1. Juanita says:

    You are creating great memories for your family. I envy your energy level.

  2. Beautiful! As always, your posts make me smile. 🙂

  3. Bruce Jordan says:

    The tri-tip looks perfect! You just inspired me to dig one out of the freezer. It’ll be hard to wait until it thaws.

  4. Yay! Thanks for sharing yet another of your gorgeous tablescapes. For so many of us who forgo the “bother” of setting a table for family meals (truth be told we eat most of our dinners in front of the television due to the late hour) it is an oasis of peace and shared family time in absentia to see what you’ve been up to. I am consistently inspired to try again (and again – I am stubborn if not successful) to get my rowdy group to turn away from the screen and back towards each other. Thank you Joan Marie!

  5. beingbelly says:

    Oh what a lovely idea! Although tablecloths are a bit troublesome at the moment (our one-year-old loves to pull-pull-pull them to see the crash-crash-crash of the dishes on the floor…) a table runner would be just out of his reach … and would hopefully provide me with the motivation i need to keep the dining room table from reverting to a laundry sorter. 😉 Thanks for the idea and the yummy recipe.

  6. I wish I was your neighbor. I’d drop by all the time hoping I’d be offered some of your delicious food!

  7. Those plates are awesome. Have you seen any of the Spode Archive Collection “Greek” plates in your flea market travels? I have a black one that reminds me of your plates above, only with Zeus and a lightening bolt adding a touch of antiquity kitsch!

  8. M’del I have not seen those! Text me or email me a photo and I’ll keep my eye out for them as I hunt for treasure!

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