Sunday Lunch—Poised for a U.S. Revival?

Sunday Lunch

The Sunday Lunch Tradition Is Strong in the UK and Ireland

Sunday lunch remains a tradition around the UK and in Ireland. In homes, restaurants and pubs, it means one thing: roasted meat and roasted potatoes. Vegetarians replace the roasted meat with vegetables baked or roasted, but they hold to the essential tradition. A pub lunch on Sunday means a roast beef or pork dinner with all the fixings. We enjoyed such a meal outside of Oxford, England, sitting riverside on a glorious day to enjoy it.

My grandparents arrived here from Northern Ireland with Sunday lunch well engrained. My mother did not keep the tradition, finding a heavy and lengthy meal after a morning in church deadening when a girl. However her mother loved the freedom it gave her on Sunday afternoons. She could sit down and relax for the rest of the day after the meal. Sandwiches of the roasted meat were served in the evening, but that was that. My grandmother never changed the schedule, and I enjoyed her Sunday lunches as a child visiting my grandparents and uncles.

The Yorky Pud Wrap

The York Roast Co. ( in York, England began making a sort of roll-up of a Sunday lunch. It’s a Yorkshire pudding wrap with roasted meat and veg, smothered in gravy. A “Yorky Pud Wrap.” They can’t keep up with the demand of the lines—queues— of customers. University students can tell their mothers they’ve had Sunday lunch when queried. Everyone can satisfy their Sunday lunch craving without actually cooking anything, or footing the expense of a pub or restaurant. Jumping the English generation gaps, the Sunday lunch tradition remains strong.

How many have held onto the tradition here in the U.S.? The tradition will be revived in our home in order to see friends over a nice meal when we’re not exhausted from a busy day, which even Sunday can be.

Now that October is quickly melting into November thanks to a rainy spell, it seems just right, especially since our friends won’t have to drive home along wet (and soon, icy) and pitch dark country roads after the meal. It just may be the best way to gather before the work and school week schedules resume.

Sunday Lunch Redux

We’ll revive the old tradition this Sunday, the last one in October, with two dear friends as the first guests. It’s apple pie season, and that very American dessert will cap the roasted meat, veg and potato main course. We’ll have to save some room, but if it’s a nice day, we can take a walk with the dog—after all, the afternoon will be before us.

3 thoughts on “Sunday Lunch—Poised for a U.S. Revival?

  1. As enticing and marvelous as the Sunday roast sounds, and as civilized as it must make the day, the lure of a nap afterward is the fundamental argument for our house’s adopting your plan.

  2. What a great post. When I was a girl we always had Sunday dinner after church, and then we were on our own for supper. My mother demanded the night off. Nowadays, I like Sunday lunch, and festive social lunches in general. No more driving at night – but still lots of riotous society.

  3. Your delightful Sunday lunch post reminds me of my long stay in Italy. In the early 1960s Italians still had their main meal in the middle of the day most of the time. After a nap they continued their day and had something much lighter to eat around 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening. For at least one day a week a big lunch in the middle of the day sounds just right.

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