There is nothing quite as British as a good old Sunday roast
Whether it’s a family affair – partners, siblings, aunties, sitting awkwardly around an over-filled table, forcing smiles at recycled jokes, hiding their tot of whisky, their hangover, and the Yorkshire pud that fell on the floor – or a chance to meet with friends, there’s no more satisfyingly patriotic way to spend an afternoon.
If cooking is just not on the agenda, there’s always the pub. Dodging the prams and pregnant women to find a corner where you can sit, giddy, exhausted, still slightly drunk from the night before, to await your majestic feast.
The food arrives glistening: meat dripping with roasted nectar, crisp potatoes, crunchy broccoli. And for the vegetarian? Chips and mayonnaise. Great.
You know who you are – The Park Tavern in Southfields, London
There are nearly four million vegetarians in the UK, the third highest amount in the EU, and we are one of the few countries where there are laws in place about the clear labeling of suitably dead-animal-free food.
There are a further number, an estimated 23% of the population, who are meat reducers, the ‘non-veggie vegetarians’, who prefer to eat less meat for health and environmental reasons.
With twice as many women as men avoiding meat, and Sunday pub lunch becoming a firm favourite of families and girly ‘we’ve got babies’ groups since the smoking ban, wouldn’t it make sense to acknowledge these glaringly obvious facts if you are trying to sell them food?
For some reason the thought of vegetarian food, aside from the obligatory goat’s cheese tart and mushroom slop, seems to baffle kitchens. A few local eateries offer a dry nut roast. Many seem to have always sold out “just before you walked in the door”, and others will make a special dispensation to remove the meat and gravy, but still charge the full price for a plate of dry veg.
The lack of imagination is almost awe inspiring, where is the Elizabeth David spirit of adventure?