Roast Dinner Day offers a delightful reminder of how amazing a home-cooked roast with all of the sides really is. While predominantly celebrated in the United Kingdom, of course the invitation is open for anyone in the world to join in on the fun and enjoy a roast dinner on this important day!
History of Roast Dinner Day
The Sunday Roast dinner has a history that can be traced back to the 15th century in the British Isles, during the time of King Henry VII. It is believed that the royal guards had the tradition of consuming roast meats after attending the Sunday church service, eventually providing them with the nickname “beefeaters”.
The tradition of eating a large meal, including a roast, after church on Sunday seems to have roots in the area of Yorkshire, which is clearly where the name “Yorkshire Pudding” came from. While it kind of sounds like it would be a dessert, it’s really more of a savory roll with a light and airy texture.
It’s true that the Sunday Roast probably isn’t the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. Today’s versions might vary quite a bit, consisting of a beef roast or perhaps even lamb, pork or chicken. Then sides of potatoes are an important part, whether in a mashed form or roasted in fat. Add vegetables such as roasted parsnips, steamed broccoli, peas, carrots, green beans and more. Pork crackling and stuffing are some other sides that might be served along with the dinner. Of course, the Yorkshire puddings are a staple, and don’t forget to add in some gravies as well as complementary sauces like mint sauce, apple sauce or red currant sauce.
The Roast Dinner Day celebrated here is a fairly modern event that was started by the charitable organization Food for Life. It is one of the days that goes along with National School Meals Week, which is an event meant to get kids to eat and enjoy more hot and healthy lunches at school. The schools that participate will offer a roast dinner on this day, and the kids can get excited about eating it!
But even for adults who have finished school or those who don’t have kids who are currently in school, celebrating Roast Dinner Day can still be a tasty opportunity to enjoy some time with family and friends with a hearty meal and some good conversation.
How to Celebrate Roast Dinner Day
Feed the tummy and the soul when a delicious roast dinner is placed on the table and enjoy with friends, family members, coworkers or other guests. Have loads of fun celebrating Roast Dinner Day with some of these ideas:
Host a Roast Dinner
Roast Dinner Day seems like the right time to invite some friends over for an enjoyable meal with roasted meat, potatoes, veggies and more. For those who haven’t cooked a roast dinner before, perhaps it would be good to start by doing some online research – or another option would be to make a call to mom or grandma to ask for tips and tricks from an expert.
To get started, consider some of these tips that can be made use of to put on a better Roast Dinner:
- If the roast meat of choice is beef, season it simply with salt and pepper, and perhaps add some sliced onions with it during the cooking process that helps with the flavor of the gravy.
- Most traditional roast dinners aim to serve two vegetables because one isn’t quite enough and three might be too many. Vegetables are a great space to get creative, though, so try unique veg like parsley and spinach or Swiss chard.
- Drop the tradition of peeled potatoes and, instead, use smaller new potatoes that don’t have to be cut or peeled and can be roasted whole.
- The most delicious gravy is made from the juices that come from the roasting pan, along with some beef stock and a small amount of flour for thickening.
Go Out for a Roast Dinner
Different restaurants, especially in the UK, often have various specials on the menu board that may include a roast dinner. Local pubs, carveries, and other types of eateries may even have something unique on offer just in celebration of Roast Dinner Day – so don’t forget to ask the waitress or hostess if there’s an extra discount! Some restaurants allow customers to go through a buffet-style line to choose their own types of roast dinners, which is an excellent way to make sure everyone’s personal preferences are met.
Try a Vegetarian Roast Dinner
As the world moves more toward vegetarian meals, whether motivated by cutting down on the ecological footprint or for saving the animals, it’s good to know that the tradition of a roast dinner doesn’t have to be thrown out completely! Most of the components can be maintained to celebrate a vegetarian Roast Dinner Day, including the potatoes, vegetables, and Yorkshire puds (though everything should be made with non-animal based oils or fats). And in lieu of serving a meat roast, it’s possible to substitute with something like a cheese and potato pie, a nut roast, a lentil and sweet potato pie, or some other creative main dish.
Support Food for Life
As part of Roast Dinner Day, some people might feel compelled to get more involved with celebrating by supporting the foundation behind the day: Food For Life. This charitable organization in the UK is dedicated to finding innovative solutions for making sure everyone has good and healthy food to eat. With various programs, campaigns, advocacy, award schemes and many other activities, Food for Life works to make the world a healthier and happier place as it relates to food.
Check out the Food for Life website to find out more ways to get connected, advocate, raise awareness, get more educated, make a donation or perform various other activities, whether in relation to Roast Dinner Day or any day.