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The table and who’s around it

Even though you’re too busy to spend hours in the kitchen, you can still have a great Sunday meal

The concept of the Sunday Supper is an old one. The traditional day of church and of rest (although not always so much for women and farmers with livestock), Sundays were a day when cooks would take a little extra time to prepare a meal.

And while today most days are go-go-go, especially on the farm, hopefully there are times when you can slow the pace of life enough to savour a meal and enjoy the company of friends and family.

That’s the idea behind the Best of Bridge Sunday Suppers Cookbook. The original Best of Bridge Cookbook was self-published in the 1970s by seven Calgary friends. These women were home cooks, not celebrity chefs, and their recipes were simple and used familiar ingredients.

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Those cookbooks went on to sell an astounding four million copies.

Now the torch has been passed to the next generation. Calgary food writer Julie Van Rosendaal went to school with some of the daughters of the original Best of Bridge ladies and grew up eating their food.

For the new Sunday Suppers cookbook, Van Rosendaal along with her two colleagues, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Sue Duncan, solicited their friends and family for their favourite recipes, with an eye for ones that were simple, tasty and used familiar ingredients.

The result, says Van Rosendaal, is a collection of recipes that celebrates what’s on the table — and who’s around it.

This cookbook goes well beyond the traditional Sunday dinner roast to include a range of main dishes as well as salads, soups and desserts.

Remember too that by making a big batch of soup, stew or chili, or by cooking a large cut of meat, you’ll have enough left over to serve another night.

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Apple and Sage

Roasting the vegetables brings out the flavour but if you’re in hurry you can skip that step and just add them directly to the pot, says Van Rosendaal. You can also use winter squash in place of, or in addition to, the sweet potato. Van Rosendaal likes to add a handful of red lentils to the cooking pot for added protein and fibre. And, she says, puréed soups like this one travel well in an insulated mug so she often takes it with her to sip on for a healthy lunch or snack.

The sweetness of carrots, sweet potato and apple make this a deliciously simple fall soup. It also freezes well —
a great way to preserve the best of the season.


  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (15 ml)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp dried sage (5 ml)
  • 4 cups ready-to-use chicken broth (1 litre)
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider (250 ml)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (10%) or heavy or whipping (35%) cream (125 ml) (optional)


Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Place carrots and sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with oil, toss to coat well, then spread out in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, until starting to turn golden on the edges.

In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil along with the butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft. Add roasted carrots and sweet potato, scraping any flavourful browned bits from the pan. Add apple, sage, stock and apple juice; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until everything is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender right in the pot until smooth (or let cool slightly and purée soup in batches in a blender, then return to the pot and reheat until steaming). Stir in cream, if you’re using it. Serve hot. Serves 6.

x photo: Matt Johannsson, Reflector Inc.

Buttermilk Cornbread

It’s nice to have a starch to go with a soup, stew or chili, and this cornbread is a snap to make. “This cornbread is quick to stir together and once you’ve made it once you’ll be making it all the time,” promises Van Rosendaal. You can dress it up with a handful of grated cheese, some finely chopped rosemary (or both), roasted garlic or chili powder. “Never underestimate the power of smell, of having something in the oven as people walk in the door,” she says.

Cornbread is so easy to make. Serve it with stews, Mexican fare or a hearty soup.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (250 ml)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (250 ml)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (60 ml)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (10 ml)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (5 ml)
  • 1 tsp salt (5 ml)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk (250 ml)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (60 ml)
  • Liquid honey


Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Scrape batter into a greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish or a 9-inch (23 cm) deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares or wedges. Serve drizzled with honey, if you like. Serves 8 to 10.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth is a blogger and food writer with over 15 years of professional writing under her belt. Sue Duncan grew up cooking and eating at every opportunity with her best friend, Julie.

Julie Van Rosendaal is a regular CBC radio food columnist, food writer and editor.

Recipes courtesy of Best of Bridge Sunday Suppers by Best of Bridge © 2017. Available where books are sold. 

About the author


Helen Lammers-Helps

Freelance Writer

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