Q: Eating as a family and cooking as a family can really be its own tradition. How have the traditions of your upbringing influenced your craft?
Lauren Lawless: As a little girl I always enjoyed being in the kitchen especially on the holidays eating all the different delicious foods my family would make. I saw how much food brought everyone together, and to this day I use food as a way to bring my friends and family closer; this is when I realize my passion for food. These traditions have been an enormous influence for me and are a big part of my career choice.
Q: Sunday dinner can be defined by the marrying of food and the marrying of family. What dishes tie things together for you? What are the staples that bring everyone to your table?
LL: Every family has their traditions and staple dishes. In my family, we come from a German background, and some of our staple meals include Spaetzle, potato pancakes with applesauce, red cabbage, sauerbraten, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and rouladen. These are some very traditional German dishes that I’ll take with me and pass down generation to generation.
Q: Twenty years ago, the Food Network looked very different. Do you think that the rise in food-culture and food-social media brought more families to the table on Sunday or apart?
LL: I think Sunday dinners have always been a tradition and will continue to be for years and years to come.
Q: How do your choices for Sunday dinner differ from the dishes on special occasions and holidays?
LL: Holidays in my family are consistent – we typically always eat the same dishes. Sundays usually include a roast of some sort. These days I like to try be more out of the box and try out different recipes that aren’t so traditional. It’s fun to get everyone to try new foods and get their feedback as well.
Q: How does Sunday dinner differ from season to season? And what are your favorite seasons when it comes to the produce available?
LL: Sunday dinner always changes depending on the time of year and what’s in season. In wintertime, we typically eat much more comforting feel-good dishes such as stews, roasts, pasta and more. Some of my favorite produce include squash, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and pomegranates. Whereas summertime, which happens to be my favorite season, you’ll find us eating fresh foods such as tomatoes, avocados, corn, asparagus, fish and a variety of fruits.
Q: If you had a time machine and got to witness how family and friends made Sunday dinner 50 years ago, what do you think we’d see? How has it changed?
LL: I think if we went back in time 50 years ago you would probably witness what you’re seeing today when it comes to Sunday dinner. One thing that has changed in that time (I think) is that we have been more open-minded in trying new traditions, techniques, and cuisines. Even with that being said, I still think we hold our traditions near and dear to our heart and will continue making those dishes for our children’s children.