Recently it was suggested that the slow-roast shoulder of lamb I had lovingly prepared for the family to enjoy one lazy Sunday afternoon was NOT a real roast. I don’t know if it was the way I cooked it or the fact that I didn’t carve but shredded it in a messy, street food, Jamie Oliver bish bash bosh way, but it struck me how protective people are about this brilliant traditional meal.
To be fair, I would never order a roast in a pub, despite it being my 1stchoice of main course if I had to choose a last supper……crispy peking duck with pancakes to start, apple crumble with custard AND ice cream for pudding (go easy on the apple, go big on the crumble). I just love a home cooked roast and don’t want to take the risk of being disappointed by someone else’s interpretation of this special meal.
To accompany the lamb (which was absolutely delicious by the way and from the shop obviously) I served it with roast potatoes, parsnips, green veg, gravy AND, cue further disapproval, Yorkshire puddings – as far as I am concerned they are for life and not just for beef! The fact that another guest chose to smother the lamb with horseradish (and I must admit to adding a little bit of mango chutney to my plate) pretty much pushed our disgruntled diner over the edge. We’re just not big fans of mint sauce but I would absolutely draw the line if one of the children asked for tomato ketchup – what a hypocrite! If you haven’t tried the Cherry Tree horseradish from the shop yet you should give it a go, it has quite a kick!
The fact is that the younger avocado generations are shunning the Sunday lunch for a far more trendy brunch. In 2016 Wetherspoons got rid of their Sunday roast menu due to low demand. The even younger generations are either at sports clubs or birthday parties on Sunday so finding a time to all sit down together to enjoy a roast is often quite difficult.
For me, part of the reason why I love a home-cooked Sunday roast is that it brings back so many happy memories of indulging in this huge meal at the end of the week with my family then all sitting on the sofa to watch a grand prix or the rugby followed by Howards Way. It would be a shame to lose this magic and, while there should always be a place for the classic version, perhaps we need to breathe a bit of fresh air into the roast and bring it up to date just to keep the tradition alive.
Fortunately we are now more open to new tastes, subtle spices, fresh herbs and novel food combinations that would astonish our grandparents – mine only tried the very “exotic” spag bol for the first time recently at the ripe old age of 96……mind blown! I can’t imagine she would ever try rubbing some jerk seasoning onto a joint of beef for a Caribbean twist or using Moroccan inspired flavours such as cumin, lemon and oregano but it’s good to know that the great British roast is versatile and there is endless possibility for variation. If that is a step too far though, you could just follow my example by shredding not carving and adding a dollop of mango chutney!