Pimm's No. 1 Cup

guess what:  i have nothing bad to say today.

most of you will probably be pleased to find that today's entry has to do with something i think is great about England -- surprise surprise -- and that thing is the national practice of "Sunday Lunch."

for those of you who don't know, Sunday Lunch is exactly what the name says.  every Sunday in Great Britain various pubs, restaurants and families everywhere prepare a huge meal (generally eaten at lunchtime) consisting of roast beef with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, gravy, mushy peas, mashed swede (or turnip), carrots and roasted potatoes.  it's gloriously delicious -- and when you have it in a pub, it's also amazingly affordable.

anyway, the roots of the Sunday Lunch have been traced back to the Yorkshire area of England, which may be why the Yorkshire pudding is such a necessary element of the lunch.  originally it probably came about because families could put the roasting food in the oven to cook while the family went off to church, thereby having their afternoon meal almost ready when they got home.  nowadays it's just a lovely tradition.

i had the pleasure of enjoying a Sunday Lunch at The Red Lion pub in Barnes yesterday and found two more things about British food and drink to love:

the first was a drink called "Pimm's No. 1 Cup."  the history of the drink dates back to the 1840s.  it's perfect for a summer day and i hear the British drink it by the gallon when it's warm outside.  just so you know (since i didn't know), Pimm's is a liquor that comes in gin- and vodka-based variants.  a Pimm's No. 1 uses the gin-based version.  it's made by mixing one part Pimm's with 2-3 parts lemonade and a mixture of mint leaves, chopped lemons, oranges, cucumbers and sometimes strawberries (a British sangria, if you will).  i had the pleasure of sharing a pitcher of it over Sunday Lunch yesterday and i found it the closest thing to summer in a glass i've ever tasted...

the other delicious new thing came during the dessert portion of Sunday Lunch.  it was "Sticky Toffee Pudding" and it's the sweetest, goopiest treat i've tasted in a long time.  it's a dense, single-portion cake completely covered in a warm, sticky toffee sauce that soaks into the spongey cake and pools around the bottom.  you get it with a small cup of vanilla ice cream and it's pretty much perfect for any person with a sweet tooth (like me).

i think the practice of Sunday Lunch, whether you do it at home or in a pub, is perfectly charming.  i think it would be nice if there was something like that in America.  you know, sort-of like having Christmas dinner every Sunday of the year. 

anyway, i thought the Sunday offerings were so pleasant i had to write about them.  and i think i'll be having another Pimm's No. 1 as soon as i possibly can. 

i suggest you try the same.