Why we Love Sunday Lunch So Much
It is widely believed that the people’s love of beef began during the reign of King Henry the VII in 1485. His Yeomen Warders – the royal guard – would dine on fresh roasted beef every Sunday after church, and this became such a ritual that the guards were affectionately referred to as “beefeaters”.
Throughout the Industrial Age, almost every household would pop a roast on before heading to church on a Sunday. It had become an all-inclusive act with a kind of religious and social importance to it. As playwright Henry Fielding exclaimed, “it ennobled our brains and enriched our blood”.
The nobility would hang an entire animal on a spit in front of a huge fireplace and slowly roast it, while those who could not afford the larger cuts of meat, let alone a fireplace, would drop off a more modest cut to their local baker en route to church.
The baker would use their empty bread ovens to cook the meat and hand it back to the villagers in time for lunch. No doubt in those times this was the best meal anybody had all week and why the Sunday roast became such an important tradition.
Funnily enough, orange carrots didn’t exist until the 17th century when dutch farmers extracted strains of carrots to change their colour from purple to orange – this was all done for the leader of the Dutch independence, William of Orange.
As for stuffing, this term was originally used in the 16th century but the upper classes in England were too insulted by the term so renamed the food to ‘dressing’. Someone somewhere down the line must have decided the term wasn’t too vulgar and changed it back to its original.
Potatoes were considered an unpopular vegetable and were only introduced into the English diet after food shortages. This means that the first Sunday roasts were cooked without potatoes – mashed or roasted!
Sunday roasts have remained a much loved tradition to this very day, and although we no longer cook meat in front of a fire, we still use the term ‘roast’. Nowadays, pubs, restaurants, and homes are all filled with families eating roasts on Sundays and often weekdays too!
And who would we be to deny our guests such a fulfilling tradition? We serve Sunday Lunch in three of our hotels every week from 12noon – 2.30pm.
You can view our sample menu and book below…