Why the Sunday roast is the most overrated meal in Britain

The Independent's new restaurant critic insists roasts are for the 'sour of palate and dull of mind'

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

You know you don't want the roast. Nobody ever really wants the roast.

The roast, the legitimate face of carvery. The roast, where slivers of bad meat lie in agonised folds over misunderstood vegetables. The roast, drenched in salty brown sauce that skins over as it hits the table. The roast, with its Yorkshire pudding on a pedestal, as if the Yorkshire pudding was a good thing to eat and not a cloying puff of schizophrenic batter, burnt on the top and lard-sodden in the middle: a kind of anti-cooking. The roast, beloved of the boozers and the smokers, sour of palate and dull of mind.

And yet one Sunday morning you wake up. Booze and fags have soured your palate and dulled your mind. You look outside. The leaves are turning. Winter is coming, you think, because you're so boring you can't think of anything else to say about winter other than the most obvious thing to say about winter. God, you are a boring man. Is anyone worse than you? Your friends hate you, they tolerate you but why? Pity. Pity and you get the odd round in. That's all that stands between you and being found days later by a dogwalker. Why is it always a dogwalker? Of course it isn't the dogwalker, you think. It's the dog. It's always a dog. You'll be found by a dog because your friends aren't really your friends.

istock-51607214-medium.jpg
Yorkshire pudding is a "cloying puff of schizophrenic batter", according to Ed Cumming (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

That's when you, you sad man, lying on your side looking out of the window, have the thought. Like a knackered old puffin turning inexplicably towards the rock in the Atlantic where it was born, you think: how about a roast? Nothing like a roast, is there. Roast, like mum made. English roast for English people.

You Google 'nice roast London' but your screen keeps turning to one side because, you, sad man, are too lazy for your phone's labour-saving self-adjustment feature. 'Nice roast near me' you Google next. You summon your Uber. He drops you near the roast place. You sit down. You order the roast. The person opposite you orders the roast, too, because - why? Because they pity you? Because deep in some Brexity recess of their own genes they feel the same Anglo-Saxon tug?

The roasts come. Your beef lies in agonised folds over misunderstood vegetables. They sit deep in turd-brown gravy. It's like drone footage after a hurricane. On top of it all lies the Yorkshire, the grotesque bloated Yorkshire. The person opposite you looms over a sludge of pork and misunderstood vegetables. Again the gravy. "Ooh, I love a roast," she says, in a parody of the worst people you can think of. Yet here you are, the two of you, £40 of roast between you. You'll do better next time, you think.

Comments