Traveling for work, I was out of town on Mothers’ Day this year. I arrived in London at about noon, very tired, as I can NEVER sleep on the plane.
I believe in soldiering on when traveling to Europe, rejecting all impulses to nap and staying up until bedtime in the local time zone to get acclimated, but I was so. very. tired. So I decided to eat lunch somewhere close to the hotel and maybe take a teensy snooze afterward.
A “genuine British pub” was close by. There were signs about the “Sunday Roast Special”, which was supposed to be especially special on what they call “Mothering Sunday”. The proprietor recommended the Sunday Roast Special, especially.
“When in Rome”, right!? So of course I ordered it. And of course it was a monstrosity.
Mushy, overcooked vegetables sat alongside dry, shoe-leather meat smothered in tasteless gravy served with tough, dry Yorkshire puddings. Wow.
At the next table, only about 18 inches from me, two ladies ordered the same meal. One was obviously visiting, hailing from another city or even a foreign land (from her accent and looks). The “local” was a woman in middle age, talking about her grown sons and where they lived and worked. When their meal was served, she became rhapsodic about it. Her voice lowered, and almost in a singsong she murmured:
It’s just like my Mum served. Oh, you would have loved it so. The whole family at table, the Yorkshire puddings all puffed up and proud, everyone fighting over the extra gravy. A Sunday Roast Dinner is the best. This takes me back home to Shropshire in my youth.
And so. While I disdained the meal from my own perspective, I reveled in eavesdropping on the taste memories emanating from the next table.
We all have our beloved family comfort foods, and the memories they conjure more than make up for the lack of taste, sophistication or spice. It was a special time for me to reflect on that while eavesdropping on the British lady at the next table on Mothering Sunday in London.
I succumbed to the urge for a nap after that. Don’t judge – you would have, too.
© 2018 Glover Gardens