Whatever you think of British cuisine, one thing that you cannot underestimate is the importance of the traditional Sunday Roast Dinner to people of the UK! While traditions are being thrown out of the window left, right, and centre these days, it is perhaps surprising that the Sunday Roast remains so important to us. It is one of my favourite meals of the week, and I always enjoy cooking it myself when I have the chance at home (although obviously it tastes better when I eat my mum’s recipe!).
Usually, the Sunday Roast is eaten at lunchtime on a Sunday (yep, who’d have thought that?!) and then a lighter meal is eaten in the evening. This is the opposite of Monday-Saturday, when it’s usual to have sandwiches for a lunch and a heavier meal in the evenings. I guess this is based on the fact that Sundays used to be a day of rest, or even a religious day for some people. So eating habits were always different on the Sunday. As centuries have passed, the tradition is still going strong.
So what’s for dinner today?
Typical contents found in a Sunday Roast include:
- Meat – this can be beef, lamb, or pork, but increasingly chicken is used, as it is much cheaper to buy
- Roast Potatoes
- Yorkshire Pudding(s)
- Vegetables – this can include, but limited to, carrots, peas, broccoli, runner beans, or parsnips
- And a good amount of hot gravy to top things off!
You will find in some British Sunday Roasts that cauliflower cheese is also served up, and this adds a somewhat different kind of taste to the usual ingredients you would find on your plate. Very occasionally, sausages are included in the meal (either on their own, or as part of Toad in the Hole). On special occasions, such as Easter and Christmas, red cabbage or Brussel sprouts appear out of nowhere for your enjoyment – or not, as there is a famous saying in Britain that “nobody likes sprouts” and that we just eat them at Christmas for the sake of being merry! Personally, I love them (although parsnips are better). The delightfully crunchy-on-the-outside-yet-soft-in-the-middle Yorkshire Puddings are also a tasty treat when covered in piping hot gravy!
It is a very fulsome meal and afterwards, it is usual to be very tired and sleepy, with many members of the family lounging around and having a sleep (in the UK we call it “Forty Winks” – but I’ve no idea why. Anyone?). If you fancied a drink during the Sunday Roast, then wine is the norm (if you can afford it), whereas after the meal the men of the family can often be found drinking some British ale in front of the TV before they fall asleep!
The worst part of the traditional British Sunday Roast Dinner is washing up everything afterwards!