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Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner

Ten years ago, I released my first cookbook “Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?” with Sterling Epicure. I can’t believe it’s been that long!

The backstory to Whatever (as I usually call it when speaking with the readers who love it and have multiple copies in their families!) is rooted in my memories of cooking with my grandmother, and a very big birthday I had ten years ago (no, I will not be sharing the number- as my mother used to say, “A woman who will share her age will share anything!”). As a second-generation Italian-American, I grew up with the tradition of Sunday dinner. Some of my happiest memories are of sitting around my Nana Franco’s big dining room table with my immediate family, my cousins, aunts, uncles, family friends, and whoever else happened to be visiting. For me, the experience of Sunday dinner began much earlier in the day, as I was my grandmother’s “official helper” in the kitchen. My Nana and I would spend countless hours together in the kitchen during the day, practicing treasured family recipes and talking. We’d talk about everything from school to my favorites hobbies (ballet!) to her memories of growing up in Sicily.

As I grew up, creating my own network of treasured friends and having my own children, I knew I wanted to create the same feelings of love, safety, and support in my own kitchen that I felt at my Nana’s. Sundays, and Sunday dinners, soon became sacred to my family. The world moves so quickly, and there are so many demands on our time. As my children grew up, I wanted to be sure that the kitchen and our dinner table were places where they could slow down, talk about important questions, and reflect, setting a strong foundation for their future as adults. Sundays became a day to plan together, cook together, and dream together. Still today, as my adult children and I chop, stir, set places at the table, sit, drink, and eat, we talk about the week that has passed and the week that is to come. Sunday dinners are irreplaceable, the meeting place of memories that will last a lifetime.

I wrote my book ten years ago to make it easier for you to gather your family and friends around the Sunday Dinner table and make your own incredible memories. So many of my friends and my children’s friends’ parents would say to me over the years, “Sunday Dinner is fine for you, Lisa. But Sunday Dinner isn’t a tradition for my family. There’s no way I can get everyone to the table for a relaxed meal every Sunday.” My answer? Read my cookbook! I designed 52 Sunday Dinner menus, one for each Sunday of the year, with five courses, from antipasto to dolce. Rustic Italian and Italian-American recipes gathered from my years living in Italy and spending time with my Nana in the kitchen, the recipes are simple and approachable and, perhaps most importantly, fun!

Since I published my cookbook ten years ago, I’ve realized that there are more ways to help my Sunday Dinner fanbase. And this is why I’ve created Lisa’s Italian Kitchen, the website you are visiting now. Too busy to make my Grandma Caponigri’s meat sauce? Buy my Three Meat Neapolitan Sauce! It also makes a great lasagna filler (as my daughter, who finds making lasagna from scratch quite challenging, can well attest!).

Over the past ten years I’ve met so many people who have embraced Whatever, buying it for bridal showers, Christmas gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, birthdays and just for themselves, for their own kitchens. I’ve met people at book signings, farmers markets, Italian festivals, and through my appearances on cooking shows, and QVC and HSN. I’m so grateful for all of my Sunday Dinner fans and Whatever devotees.

As you discover or re-discover Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? (available here for purchase), I hope you find joy in making Sunday a priority, planning ahead, and choosing your simple and delicious menu. Most importantly, I hope you have fun! After all, it’s meant to be the highlight of your week, your time to talk, laugh, and revel in the love of your family and friends.

Buon Appetito e Tante Belle Cose!



  • Lisa Caponigri

    Lisa Caponigri is the author of This is Sunday Dinner and Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, published by Sterling Epicure. Both of Lisa's cookbooks brim with her memories of living in Italy, both as a child and as an adult raising her own family, anecdotes about her family, regional and seasonal Italian specialties, and all the advice needed to get a spectacular Sunday Dinner on the table, every Sunday of the year. She has developed a line of prepared foods and sauces called Lisa’s Italian Kitchen. Lisa debuted on HSN and has appeared on QVC. She has also appeared on a variety of television programs, including Seattle's New Day Northwest, Good Morning Toronto, Chicago's WGNLunchbreak, and New England Cooks, to name a few. Lisa is frequently consulted as an expert in Italian lifestyle and food. Lisa Caponigri lives in South Bend, IN and travels frequently to Italy to research the latest in "la dolce vita". Visit to learn more about Lisa!

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