The Sunday Roast is a Great British tradition dating all the way back to the reign of Henry VII when the King’s royal guard ate roast beef every Sunday after church. So emblematic is the roast of the British character that the French refer to Brits as ‘les rosbifs’. However, it may have been more accurate to name us after our favourite sauce – gravy!
As part of British Roast Dinner Week (24th September – 1st October 2017), we surveyed 2000 British diners about their Sunday roast habits. The results revealed that 49% would refuse a roast that was served without gravy and 78% described it as an essential element. We’ve all got strong thoughts on the perfect roast potato and meat to veg ratio, but who knew we so serious about gravy?
While Brits can agree on its importance, the perfect amount of gravy means different things to different people with 4 in 5 insisting on pouring their gravy themselves to ensure they get the right amount. We also researched the amount of gravy diners pour on to their roast per region. Contrary to popular stereotypes, the study found that the West Midlands is home to the nation’s biggest consumers of gravy, taking the gravy-loving crown from the North of England.
Pouring an average of 128ml (a quarter pint) of gravy on their roast, Coventry dwellers were found to be the nation’s biggest gravy lovers, with the population consuming the equivalent of 464,257 gallons of gravy a year. The city was closely followed by diners in Wolverhampton who consume 127ml of gravy with their meal. On average, an inhabitant of the West Midlands consumes 6 and a half tablespoons per roast, with 1 in 10 consuming more than 13 tablespoons!
Unsurprisingly, Northerners didn’t come too far behind in the gravy stakes with Leeds (120ml), Newcastle (116ml), York (114ml) and Liverpool (112ml) all making it into the top ten cities for gravy lovers.
In contrast, diners in Aberystwyth prefer to enhance their roast dinner with other condiments. While diners would only pour 2 and a half tablespoons of gravy on to their roast, 75% would consider apple sauce an essential part of the meal. The Scots are also less inclined to favour gravy than their English counterparts with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen all falling into the list of cities which use the least gravy.
No matter how much gravy they use, Brits will always say no to a dry roast dinner, with 2 in 5 diners saying mint sauce was an essential part of the meal, 1 in 4 saying the same of English mustard and horseradish, and 27% naming apple sauce as an essential element.
The message is clear – moisture maketh the roast! How do you like your Sunday roast – drenched in gravy? With a little mustard on the side? Perhaps even with… ketchup?! Let us know in the comments.