The origins of the Sunday roast

May 5, 2020 6:11 pm


The Sunday roast started its life during Henry VII’s reign in the late 15th century. British people ate significant amounts of meat. The yeomen bodyguards of the kingdom have been affectionately called “Beefeaters” since this period because of their love for roast beef.

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In 1871, William Kitchiner, an author of a cookbook, recommended consuming 6lbs of meat weekly for a healthy diet, as well as suggesting 4lbs of bread and one pint of beer daily! Today in the UK, a carnivorous diet can include about 3lbs of meat each week-just 7 ounces of that being beef.

The poorer members of society would not have enjoyed access to a luxuriously big fireplace over which to cook a lot of meat. For many, a more modest roast would be left with the baker on the way to church and cooked in a bread oven. Bread wasn’t baked on a Sunday. With access for all to cooked meat, the traditional British Sunday lunch was born and is still enjoyed today. For a perfect Sunday Lunch Cotswolds, visit a site like Cotswold Life, full of information including where to find the best Sunday Lunch Cotswolds.

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The perfect accompaniment to the roast beef dinner was and remains, the Yorkshire pudding. However, it was not served alongside the main meal as it is today, but rather as a starter with lots of gravy. For the poorer in society, it was hoped that  everyone would be too full and eat less meat in the main course as meat remained very expensive for most.