Food and Drink

The History of the Sunday Roast

The beauty of the change of season is the changing of the ‘vegetable guard’ – out with tomatoes, cucumbers and corn and in with onions, peas and potatoes. As the weather cools down ovens will start delivering the iconic Sunday Roast. Many of us were guaranteed these growing up and now take pride in our own roasting skills, but where did these originate?

Britain of course! And it appears not much has changed from the origins – meat, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, gravy (made from the juices of the meat of course, none of this prepared rubbish!), stuffing and vegetables. Other trimmings included parsnips, sprouts and cauliflower cheese (cauliflower baked with a cheese sauce until crispy).


Photo: Supplied

Sunday roasts or Sunday dinner had a major impact on food practices within the English speaking world, including New Zealand.

Many of us will remember the Sunday roast. For a number of homes this would be added to the oven prior to morning mass before returning home for an unnecessarily large Sunday meal (if you were lucky!) and an afternoon nap.

In the unlikely case there were leftovers, these would form a meal on Monday. Possibly shepherd’s pie if lamb was on the menu on Sunday. Otherwise bubble and squeak – generally a breakfast with potatoes and left over Sunday roast fried in a pan until crispy. The name was coined due to the noise it made when cooking.

If you’re not a chef, a number of restaurants and pubs offer a Sunday Roast along with bubble and squeak on the breakfast menu.

Today, Sunday roasts are still common in many New Zealand homes. Often the cut of meat is substituted for a nut loaf in vegetarian house-holds, the cuts of meat may change and the trimmings vary from house hold to house hold. Either way, this is a traditional kiwi meal enjoyed in many homes.

Do you have a roast recipe or particular way you enjoy your Sunday roast? Let us know! We’d love to hear about it.


Photo: Supplied

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