Today’s food post deserves an entry all by itself because it’s a whole cultural experience.
And because of the cute dogs.
I still feel like I’m living in the movies or something whenever I join Piers’ family for a meal. (Three times, so far.) The way they do things here is so different from how we do things in Singapore, but yet so familiar because I’ve seen it all in movies or read it in books.
To experience it is so surreal.
Peter and Piper (Piers’ parents) served Sunday Roast yesterday. Sunday Roast is a traditional thing English people do for lunch on Sundays. They either cook it or eat it in a pub or restaurant.
It looks really grand to me. Takes a lot of time and hard work to prepare, I’m sure. But Piers says it’s pretty common and they used to do it almost every Sunday when he was a kid. I think they only do it now when either or both his sisters are in town.
The table was already all set by the time I arrived. Most of the food was still in the oven or stove, being cooked, almost done. Wine is served as that’s being waited out.
That’s something I find very delightfully foreign. In Singapore, we don’t drink wine at lunch. Most of the time, we don’t even drink it at dinner.
I probably drink wine, like, once a year or once every two years in Singapore. Here, I’m drinking it almost every day cos it goes well with food and cos it’s so cheap. I think I’ll miss this when I’m home.
Piers busy watching soccer at this moment.
While lunch was being prepared in the kitchen, we played with the dogs in the sitting room. Piers’ sister and her boyfriend, Charlotte and Humfrey, have brought their cute Ringo.
Ringo is the cutest, sweetest, loveliest dachshund (aka sausage dog) I’ve seen. He’s so tiny and playful and has the shiniest coat of black. The last time he came, Basil kept wanting to eat him, so they weren’t allowed in the same room all day.
But, yesterday, Basil suddenly became the sweetest host, ever, wanting to play and not showing any sign of aggression. But Ringo would occasionally snarl at him, so they were allowed to be together but under very close supervision.
Lunch time, next!
Our lunch was roast pork with apple sauce and stuffing, which I discover from Wikipedia is the traditional way roast pork is eaten here.
The apple sauce we had was made from apples grown in the family’s very own garden. How cool is that?
Here’s the apple tree. (Well, it’s winter, so doesn’t look much of anything now.)
It’s apparently a cooking apple tree, not an eating apple tree. I learnt for the first time yesterday that there are distinctions. This tree only produces apples that are meant for cooking. I suppose you could eat them if you were in danger of starvation but they’d be hard and sour.
Anyway, the roast with the apple sauce was great! Peter makes a really awesome gravy which goes well with everything, the roast and potatoes and vegetables.
Everyone gets some roast on their plates and helps themselves to the vegetables on the table. Then gravy and salt and pepper are thrown on.
This was one of those surreal moments for me.
You know in American or British movies when you see a family eating a meal and people are always going, “Pass the salt” or “Pass the potatoes, please”?
That’s always been fiction to me.
I suppose English people reading this are going to think I’m nuts because this is probably an everyday thing for them. But, in Singapore, we never have to pass anything. Everything is already where it should be. If it’s a big feast on a big table, there’d be a Lazy Susan so you can just get your own thing.
Even if any food needs passing because it’s too far away, we usually don’t ask. We just wait for someone to randomly pass a plate around. Or you might just try to reach across the table, then someone would take pity on you and get it for you.
Okay, I know it’s a small, stupid difference. But hearing people say “pass the gravy” in real life makes me think of the movies, which makes it all weird.
Anyway, after much passing around, about five minutes or so, we each have a plateful of everything we want. There would be second or third servings for the hungrier, but that would be later.
Sunday Roast is a lovely experience.
The conversation at the table is relaxed and humorous. Anecdotes are shared and banter exchanged. Some old music is playing in the background, something from the 1930s, maybe. Wine is free-flowing and the conversation never stops.
Then, after everyone’s had enough to eat, the leftovers are cleared and the dessert brought out.
Piper had made a very yummy apple tart. Yes, made from the apples from the cooking apple tree. I love eating dessert in England because just about everything is eaten with cream and I so love cream.
After lunch, we played with the dogs again and took them out for a walk around the neighbourhood. It was so cold yesterday (around 4°C) but very sunny and not too windy.
Ringo is so cute when he toddles along on those short little legs!
I had a really great time yesterday, although Piers still would not stop worrying about me feeling shy about spending a day with his family.
But I suspect he’s really more worried about the fact that, at each gathering, someone would end up telling me something about his childhood, like of him doing something naughty or other, and you’d see him trying very hard not to cringe and die.
It’s so funny.
I do look forward to the next time.