Saturday’s Sunday Roast

by Sukruti Anah

Traditionally, sunday dinner meant a lovely deep roasted whole chicken, with golden potato halves, parsnips and buttered carrots. However, it would remain incomplete without Red Current Jelly and the potful of simmering gravy. Adaptations and exceptions are allowed in every family’s meal plans so, here where I am staying at the moment, we do a Sunday’s Roast on a Saturday.

There is a suggestion that assumes the Sunday Roast dates back to the medieval times when the squire was served by agricultural labourers – serfs, in the village for six days a week. And on the Sunday, they would gather around, after the church service and practice their battlefield techniques. They would then be rewarded with a massive feast of ‘oxen roasted on a spit’.

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman’s food,
It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! the Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!
“The Roast Beef of Old England” an English patriotic ballad
written by Henry Fielding for his play The Grub-Street Opera,
first performed in 1731.
They do have various varieties with pork, beef, chicken and lamb for the Sunday roast, and wide assortment of vegetables. Parsnips that are brilliantly roasted add the right amount of sweetness to the warmth of the overflowing gravy that moistens every bite. The stuffing however sharpens the taste with its beautiful flavours borrowed from the thyme, sage, parsley and tarragon – all herbs that know each other intimately. The chopped celery in olive oil with onion and freshly ground pepper rest beneath the baked layer of breadcrumbs. The stuffing -meaning stuffed into something (slightly obvious) is sometimes prepared as a separate dish purely for convenience. On the whole, the Sunday Roast does justice to the end of the week palette and remains to be a wholesome meal for the entire family.
I suggest you skip breakfast, just on this day – to build the required appetite.
You may not have practiced your battle techniques but you deserve this at the end of your six-day week!
Cooked by: Sylvia Scott, London