It’s one of those key questions you get from time to time; no, not your favourite record (that’s impossible to answer, although it is of course a Beatles song); not your favourite colour (easy; navy blue); but what is your favourite meal? That is the easiest of the lot. No debate. No equivocation. No doubts. Sunday Roast.
I write this having just been to our wonderful butcher, Brough’s in Birkdale, for some meat for the weekend and some craic with Steve and the lads. This evening’s dinner sorted – steaks in case you were wondering – my attention turned to tomorrow. We always have this slightly disloyal relationship to Sunday lunch during the summer – often preferring to go for something lighter – it’s too warm – than a full roast. There are two schools of thought in the Team Jones house and I have to admit that I acquiesce during these months and turn my back on the lamb, beef and chicken with all the trimming (BTW, it’s never pork).
Once the football starts – that is the unofficial kick off for me of the end of the summer – my loyalty returns and my Sunday focus turns to roast dinners. Tomorrow it will be topside of beef. Apart from being delicious, there is something deeply emotional about Sunday roast – it is something I was brought up with – the non-negotiable meal of the week regardless of age or other activities. It was of course always timed around LFC games but it was a staple of the weekly family calendar.
It brings back wonderful memories of my Mum and Nan – both world experts in producing brilliant Sunday roasts, and yet both very different. The key – as anyone, especially from Ireland will tell you, is the potatoes. Combo of mash and roasties is ideal. Sheila and Mary came at roasties from different perspectives – crispy or soft (the latter, partly driven by dentures needs!) but both brilliant. In Liverpool, it appears it is compulsory to prefer one’s Nan’s purdies than one’s Mums but I was blessed with brilliant roasties at both houses.
As I prep the veg now for tomorrow – something of the routine I inherited from these two Sunday roast aficionados – my mind goes back to those Sunday dinners (we from the north so this means lunch for those of you reading this from the home counties!). It wasn’t just the great food (and wine as we got older) but the love with which they were prepared. The dedication to the family meal of the week; the commitment to our time together; the aim to make Sunday the perfect way to end or begin the week. As I cook our roast tomorrow for my very special women I will think about those two other special women who have filled my life with so much love; not just on Sunday, but everyday.