26 January 2012


So because I didn’t do much of consequence this past week besides getting the flu (damn you English weather!), I thought I’d give you a Beth post. If you’ve been reading for any length of time you know a Beth post is one in which I describe a something that is particularly British. These posts are to make her feel both guilty and grateful that she hasn’t come to visit me yet. They might also be my little way of swinging some knowledge around because heaven knows I have precious little of that to swing. Unless of course you want to know how to knit a scarf using the knit stitch; I’m a goddamn expert on that. I can’t purl stitch and I can’t knit anything but scarves but seriously…I’m really really good at it.

I could make you one of these in my sleep.

So yes! Today’s Beth post is about the very traditional British Sunday Roast Dinner. I’m only remembering to post something about this as I was just at one this past Sunday. Because I don’t have enough knowledge to swing about to tell you about the history of the Sunday Roast Dinner (SRD henceforth), I can only tell you what I know about it now.

As the name suggests, SRD is held on Thursday. Oh, ha ha. Yes, it’s on SUNDAY. From my experience, SRD occur after church, are attended by as many family members that are available, are usually held in a pub, and are reserved for special occasions such as birthdays, Easter, birth of a child, a new hair transplant, or because Jamie is going to Chester for 3 days and we don’t know if we’ll ever see him again. I’m sure that SRD happen weekly in some families and that some families cook their SRD at home. I’ve yet to see this though so I can’t tell you for sure.

SRD...not usually served with entertainment, or with blood in your gravy.

Almost every pub that serves food and is considered a family pub (ie: children are allowed in until 7 PM) will serve SRD on Sunday. The menu rarely varies. You get your choice of chicken, ham or beef served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, peas\broccoli\beans, carrots and cabbage. The whole lot is covered in gravy. It sounds filling (which it is) but it’s amazing how much of it you can put down if you don’t eat the vile cabbage.

Just push the cabbage onto a separate plate.  Might as well do the carrots too.

The first time I was invited out for SRD was about three weeks after we first moved here. It wasn’t described to me as SRD; it was simply, “we’re meeting the family for lunch”. Now, I don’t know how your family goes out to eat in restaurant – especially in regards to lunch. I know my family is pretty impatient and will quickly run out of things to talk about so we tend to be in and out of places within an hour. My first SRD though…shit, it took us an hour to order. It then took at least 40 minutes for the food to arrive, 20 minutes to eat it all and another hour to order dessert and coffee and finally decide to leave. I’ve noticed that SRD on average will run you 3 to 3 ½ hours. What’s funny though, it never SEEMS like it’s that long as the conversation (at least with Andy’s family) flows really well.

What the best thing about a British SRD? Nobody gives you the stink eye when you order dessert. Nobody feels the urge to tell you how many calories you are consuming with that dessert. Best of all, you won’t be the only one ordering dessert and you certainly won’t be the person to suggest having dessert. (For Beth: In the north of England, dessert is called ‘pudding’. It doesn’t matter if you are having pudding or not (pudding as we know it is called custard anyhow) – it could be cake or a lemon tart – it’s all called ‘pudding’. So at the end of the meal someone will say, “Well I’m having a ‘pud’ – anyone else?”). Also, no matter what dessert you order you will always be offered either a scoop of ice cream or custard with it. I highly suggest the custard, unless it’s the chocolate fudge cake, then the ice cream is much preferable. I KNOW WAY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE DESSERTS HERE.

Never underestimate the deliciousness of custard.

For the record, if you are ever at Sunday Roast Dinner, don’t feel obligated to actually have the traditional Sunday Roast. Have the lasagna. Have the All Day Full English Breakfast. Have a sandwich. It doesn’t matter. You just have to eat.


BTW, its two weeks until my anniversary post and I’ve yet to get any suggestions on what you’d like to read. I was thinking about doing a daily sausage taste test but then I made myself sick thinking about eating all those sausages (dirty!). Seriously, if you don’t come up with anything, I’m just going to post a picture of my butt and trust me, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT.


  1. Ooh - SAUSAGES! My BIL (who lives less than 10 miles away from you BTW) decided my hubby needed a lesson in English sausages one time when we visited them. I think he bought one of every kind in the supermarket and cooked them ALL for one meal!! (He had a sneaky plan - he got to eat the leftovers for days afterwards - my sis doesn't usually buy sausages too often!)

  2. Oooo...I LURVE a Sunday roast at the pub! There were some really excellent places in and around Bath. The last time I was in England before we moved to the US I made sure to go for one! However, I have to say I was most disappointed in the Yorkshire puddings. People rave over them, so I think by the time I had one I couldn't see what the fuss was. It's just bread.

  3. Thanks for thinking of me. Good try on making me feel guilty. If I win the lottery, I am totally there. On second thought, wish me luck in Vegas when we go in June. Maybe I can win me some airfare money there. I still have that 5 pound note to spend on a drink with you!

    Sounds like SRD is great time to me. Sundays here in the ol USA always called for something "roasted" in my family. It was just at home/grandma's house and any kind of meat.

    Thanks for the clarification on pudding too. I did think that all you ever ate for dessert was some Jello pudding type stuff. Ah, to learn a new culture.

    This may take some introspection but how have you assimilated into the culture? Do you take anything for granted yet? Do you find yourself with an accent sometimes? Do you still consider yourself hooked on American things? If you could do it again, would you? Hope this helps as I do not want to see a pic of your butt.


  4. AA: I don't think I could afford to buy every single sausage type in Tesco. They have a lot. And while I like sausage, I couldn't eat it every day - usually one a month will do me fine. That's funny about your BIL though!

    Kim: Yeah, I was a bit disappointed about the Yorkshire pudding when I first had it too. I mean, I think it's really good, but it is just bread. Then again, I rave about kosher dill pickles and I bet most foreigners think "they're OK I guess".

    BH: Well, if I win the lottery, I'll send you a ticket. How's that for a deal? BTW, great suggestions. I might have to use one or all of them!

  5. Is that plate of roast,carrots, and cabbage from a kitchen not yet saved by Gordom Ramsay???

  6. Anon: It is. But I suppose I could have done a search for a Ramsay picture to display.

  7. Have you been to football yet?