roast(ed)

 I have a note above my desk that says "Next blog post: roast(ed)". It's been there for three years, since Melissa L wrote to say:

Dear Lynne,

I teach English in Germany and enjoy your blog.

I am a native speaker of American English. Most of my teaching material uses British English. I spend a lot of time thinking about and paying attention to the differences between AmE and BrE (though maybe not as much as you).

Anyway, in an exercise about dishes on the holiday table, there was roast turkey and roast potatoes.

I would say roasted potatoes.

 
Roasted is an adjective made out of the participial form of a verb. We make such modifiers all the time—as we say in linguistics, it's a productive morphological process. You could have a written resignation letter, a fried dumpling, a worn path. So, roasted vegetables or roasted turkey don't need much explanation: we're just using the tools that English gives us.

The question more is: what's going on with roast? Is roast beef a compound noun? It's a roast and it's beef. No, that also seems to be a past-participle of the verb, one that goes back to Middle English. These days, it seems only to be used as an adjective. People generally don't things like "I have roast a turkey" or "A turkey has been roast" these days.
 
So, we've ended up with two participial adjectives meaning 'having been cooked by roasting', and we have preferences for which foods we use each with. It's pretty much always roast beef in all Englishes. Roast turkey and roast chicken and roast lamb are preferred over roasted, but not as strongly as for beef. (I've kept the chart to three meats for viewability.) (Note that I've put the in the searches to make sure that the roast is not a verb.)
 

So it looks like roast is generally preferred over roasted with meats, but (except for beef), this looks stronger in BrE than AmE. So while roast is common with turkey and chicken in both, there are more roasteds in AmE than in BrE. (It looks like Canadian English really likes roasted turkey, but all of the examples come from a single source.)
 

 
What else can be "roast"? I asked the GloWBE corpus interface to give me the nouns after roast that differ most between US and UK. Remember: the tables below do not show the most common nouns after roast (that would be beef). They're for showing the ones that differ most. So green in the UK (right) side, means that those expressions are strongly British. The darker the green, the stronger the difference. Pink/red means NOT associated. The white ones in the table are very similar in the two.
 
(GloWBE doesn't seem to tag the adjective roast as an adjective, so I can only ask for the word roast, which means that some of the roasts in these numbers are the verb, as in They roast coffee for a living. Nevertheless, digging into the data shows that these roast+noun combinations mostly have roast as an adjective.)
 
 
 
Roast dinner stands out in the UK data. This is a meal (traditionally a Sunday roast) with some roast(ed) meat or vegetarian alternative, roast(ed) potatoes, lots of different vegetables, gravy and often a Yorkshire pudding. (I'm shocked to see that I didn't mention Yorkshire puddings in my pudding post. So there's a Wikipedia link if you need one.) A big part of the BrE roast dinner is the potatoes, which also show up strongly in the UK side of the table. I won't go further into the institution of roast dinners just because I want to get back to the adjective, but I will note that it's my husband's favo(u)rite meal despite his having been a vegetarian for 35 years. The vegetarian main might be a nut roast, but it also might be some kind of vegetable Wellington or a stuffed squash or (BrE) all sorts. The (orig. AmE) sides are at least as important as the "main" part of the meal, and roast(ed) potatoes are key. The person who takes the last roast potato is a stereotype of bad manners in these parts. People have very strong feelings about roasted potatoes. They are so well loved that they have a nickname: roasties. (Yorkshire puddings sometimes get the same treatment, so if someone says they want a roast dinner with Yorkies, they're probably not talking about eating or dining with terriers. Context matters.)
 
Back to roasted. Here's are the US/UK differences, where we can see the converse of the previous tables—more expressions that are strongly American.

Some of the highlighted expressions here are less about the form of roast(ed) and more about what things tend to be eaten in each place. I think it's fair to say that Americans like roasted garlic more and that Britons come across more roasted chestnuts. 
 
My main conclusions: BrE seems to prefer roast over roasted for any meats and for potatoes. AmE isn't 100% won over by roast for things other than roast beef. The two Englishes come together for vegetables and peanuts, for which roasted does well. 
 
Why are certain things roast rather than roasted in BrE? I wonder if it does have something to do with the roast dinner. Here's my thinking:
  • If we think of roast in Sunday roast as the roasted meat (after all, we do call roasted meat "a roast"), then 
  • The roast in roast dinner probably is too. A dinner that features a roast. (Both expressions go back to early 19th century, with Sunday roast first.)
  • But then people start thinking of roast there as an adjective, rather than a noun modifying a noun: a dinner with the quality 'roast' rather than a dinner of a roast.
  • The components of the roast dinner get the modifier roast rather than roasted, because roast now indicates that kind of dinner. 
  • Hence: roast potatoes.

To test this, I looked at carrots and parsnips, two typical roast dinner vegetables that are roasted. (Not all roast dinner (BrE) veg is roasted. For instance, there's often cabbage.) The parsnips seem to support my hypothesis. The carrots, not so much. (I did check these for stray verb-rather-than-adjective roast(ed)s. There were none.)



The moral of the story: send me an email request for a blog post, and I may eventually get to it! 

Some related links/points:
  • On the AmE sense of roast for a ceremonial (orig. AmE) ribbing
  • On skim(med) milk (which trends the opposite way)
  • Note that BrE calls mashed potato(es) mash, but BrE speakers generally don't use mash as an adjective mash potato(es), and it's not common for AmE speakers either (in the GloWBE data). There's a different morphological difference, as indicated by my parentheses here—so click through for that link.
  • You find the occasional corn beef in AmE, but that's faaaaar outweighed by the corned beefs. But remember that this refers to different things in AmE & BrE!
  • I had intended to write about ice(d) tea in this post too, but it turned out that the numbers didn't support the idea that AmE and BrE treat this differently. Iced tea is pretty standard in both, with some products marketed as ice tea.


 
 
 

64 comments

  1. I was surprised by the Canadian results; this Canadian happened to have a dinner of "roast turkey", "roasted potatoes", and parsnips a few days ago.

    I think I'd use "roasted" for carrots, though I usually just say "cooked carrots" (regardless of cooking method) or something specific ("maple-glazed carrots") to differentiate them from raw carrot sticks. I don't know if I've ever bothered to use the word with parsnips since they default assumption is that they're cooked.

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    1. Don't pay the Canadian results too much attention. As I said at one point in the post, there's a lot of bias in those.

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    2. (And a lot less data than for the US and UK.)

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  2. When I saw the heading I wondered if it was going to be about the meaning I've seen where a person is roasted, meaning some sort of celebration of their life in a humorous manner. I've sometimes seen in television schedules "The Fred Smith Roast" where Smith is a celebrity. Chambers gives one meaning of roast as "banter". It doesn't mark it as American English, but I think I've only heard it in an American context.

    Whereas, in UK English, to give someone a roasting is to give them a right bollocking, not very pleasant, it seems to me.

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    1. There's another blog post about that sense of 'roast'. I'll add it to the end of the post.

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    2. Ah, long before I discovered this blog. (And who has time to go back and read the whole thing?)

      Certainly confused me the first time I heard it. I think it was at an SF convention in the US where some famous author was about to be roasted. "What had he done wrong?" I thought.

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  3. Wow, all these years of saying “roast beef” and I'd never noticed the oddity!

    Your ‘Sunday roast’ explanation makes sense, but might this also be connected to more widespread un-‘ed’-ing in foody adjectives-in-compound-nouns — “ice(d) tea”, “skim(med) milk”, “pop(ped )corn”, “cream(ed) corn”, “corn(ed) beef”, “scramble(d) egg”, and the like?

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    1. I looked into that (I'll put a PS in the post) because I thought maybe BrE did "ice tea" more than AmE did, but it turned out not to be terribly different. Skim(med) milk goes the other way (there's a blog post about that...I'll add some links at the bottom of this post).

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  4. No one says mash potatoes? I say and hear that all the time. Also corn beef and ice tea. I would probably write mashed potatoes and corned beef almost always, but ice tea preferred over iced tea.

    Sixty plus years in CA but originally from Arkansas.

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    1. My data are all internet writing, so I'll rephrase what I said there—to say 'no one says' is the kind of careless writing I should avoid better! The data I used was internet writing, so less formal than published writing often, but not as informal as speech.

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    2. "Ice tea" presumably attracted by the common "ice cream".

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  5. If Christmas dinner (eaten either in the early afternoon or in the evening here in UK) is the apogee of the roast dinner, then the roast potatoes are almost the centrepiece - at least in my family, where soggy roasties are unforgivable, and much advice is given by grown-up children on the day.
    Incidentally, a ‘toastie’ is the BrE term for a toasted sandwich - where the slices of bread and the filling are pressed together and toasted. The filling might be cheddar and tomato, Brie and cranberry, ham and avocado ...
    But what would we call a sandwich with uncooked filling between two slices of toast? A toast sandwich?

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    1. Let's have that conversation at the 'toastie' post: https://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/2008/04/toasty-and-toastie.html

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  6. Also, "Roast Beef" is so much a part of British/English culture that it became the French nickname for us - "Les Rosbifs". Wikipedia references a 1731 ballad "The Roast Beef of Old England".

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  7. My 2p is that "roast potatoes" (sometimes roasties) is a (compound) noun describing a specific thing. Roasted potatoes is a vegetable preceded by an adjective. a bit like Mashed potatoes and mash. (Someone above used mash potatoes - you just can't say that!)
    As your research shows? roast carrots doesn't work as a concept. (Parsnips are only ever a part of a roast dinner.)
    I really like an earlier commenters reference to pop corn, as against popped corn, they're processed by different parts of my brain.

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  8. Definitely a roast dinner, no matter what the type of meat - but, oddly, I would talk of baked ham rather than roast, and I have absolutely no idea why!

    Plus, it always strikes me as strange that Americans eat mashed potato with their Thanksgiving turkey - for me, mashed potato is a midweek form of the vegetable, and special occasions definitely demand roasties! Not that I am very good at cooking them, but a well-cooked roast potato is a very fine thing indeed.

    Thirdly, there are so many different ways of cooking vegetables - I very seldom roast carrots, for instance, but have just discovered the deliciousness that is roasted cabbage.... so I, for one, tend not to be prescriptive about them (although I do wish restaurants would actually cook their beans, rather than just show them the steam from a kettle!).

    Finally, do Americans refer to the main component of the meal as "The roast", as we tend to? I grew up calling it "the joint" (assuming it was not poultry, and we didn't do vegetarian mains when I was growing up), but that can be ambiguous nowadays as, indeed, I discovered to my cost when referring to a "pot plant". Americans, I believe, avoid such ambiguity by calling them "potted plants"!

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    1. American, age 50+
      It's not very common in my world to have mashed potatoes mid-week....who has the time to make them after coming home from the office? There is rarely any extra space in the oven when the turkey is roasting so preparing mashed potatoes on the stove top makes perfect sense. We also need mashed potatoes to hold a puddle of delicious gravy.

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    2. See my question below about exactly what "roast potatoes" are for you in the UK vs. us in the US, but for us, mashed potatoes are significantly more work and more cleanup than what we call roast potatoes, which are very little work or cleanup.

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    3. There's always instant mashed potato, which was quite a thing in the seventies and eighties. Don't know if you can still get it - google says you can. There was a popular TV advert involving two robotic aliens saying how primitive the earth people were, peeling and boiling potatoes and then mashing them.

      Culinary disaster a friend told me about. He found a recipe for a cake that involved using instant mashed potato instead of flour. What he didn't realise was that some brands of instant mash are pre-salted.

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    4. A friend tells me that one particular brand of instant mash is edible, but most of them aren't (I used to quite like it when I lived in France, but that was in the 1970s and we are in a different world now).

      Roast potatoes take a lot longer to cook than mash - you have to parboil (or better, par-steam) the potatoes for at least 5 minutes, then drain, shake them up in the closed pan, meanwhile remember to heat some fat in a roasting tray (goose or duck fat make the nicest ones, but cooking oil will do if you are feeding a vegetarian), toss the potatoes in that, and then cook in the oven for a further half hour, whereas mash just requires, once you have peeled the potatoes, cooking for 10-15 minutes (again, ideally steaming), then mashing with butter, milk, salt and pepper - takes half the time of roast! I agree that pasta and rice make quicker mid-week carbohydrates, and bread and butter quicker still, but....

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    5. Incidentally, another culinary disaster. When I first bought a food processor, back in the eighties, I thought it might make mashing potatoes quicker. so I boiled the potatoes, put them in the processor and it mashed them so well the result had the consistency of wallpaper paste. Tasted like it, too.

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    6. Re the gravy-soaking dilemma, that's easily solved: we have both mashed and roast potatoes of a Sunday in this house!
      And, Mrs R, do please spill the beans... which is the edible brand of instant mash?

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    7. Christmas dinner in my family, it's usually boiled potatoes and roast.

      Back when my mother was still alive and she was preparing Christmas dinner, she was very parsimonious with the gravy and you got about a teaspoon each and she couldn't understand why we complained the meal was too dry. (Maybe something to do with growing up in wartime rationing.)

      I don't want the gravy to be all soaked up. I want to be able coat the meat and vegetables in a puddle of it as I take each mouthful.

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    8. I can't answer that, because I don't buy instant mash and am only going by what a friend told me!

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    9. When I was still working I occasionally used 'Mr. Mash', which comes as flakes rather than powder. I'm not sure if it's still on the market. I didn't like the powdered kind.

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  9. Can a British person explain how roast potatoes are prepared and cooked and what they look like? American roast potatoes are quartered or eighthed (based on the potato size). Comments like "takes the last roast potato" or "a well-cooked roast potato" imply to my American ears that you're talking about whole, intact potatoes. Is that true? Or can a quarter or eight of a potato be called "the last potato"?

    Also, "nut roast"?

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    1. Never really thought about it, but yes, a "roast potato" might well be a segment of a whole potato. But we still call it a roast potato. A roast piece of potato would be a bit of a mouthful. To say, not to eat.

      Peel and chunk the potatoes, parboil for about ten minutes, if time chill in the fridge. Put the potatoes in the roasting tin with the joint, if there's room.

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    2. Don't forget to shake the potatoes in the closed pan after draining, and they get crisper if you cook them in a separate roasting dish, not with the joint (but cooking them with the joint can add more flavour).

      As for nut roast, I'm sure you have them in America - you can buy them in the supermarkets, often frozen, but there are plenty of recipes for them, too, like this collection, from the BBC.

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    3. P.S. I think potatoes would be mostly halved or quartered to make roast potatoes, rather than eighths (which might well be used to cook them more quickly for mash); this may or may not be a function of the relative size of potatoes in our two countries.

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    4. Don't think I've heard the shaking thing. I have heard of scraping the prongs of a fork over the surfaces of the potatoes before roasting.

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    5. That is a picture of roast potatoes in the post

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    6. And, following what I said earlier about chunking potatoes before roasting, the ones I bought this week for roasting are all about 3vm in diameter, about the right size for roasting as they are, which they will be doing shortly.

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  10. BrE, Scot, 60+. Just to add to the discussion. Frozen, pre-roasted potatoes just go in the oven, and take about half an hour. I find that they are nicer than reported, if not quite the real thing. Delia Smith famously praised frozen mashed potato pieces for one or two people. These zap in the microwave in a few minutes, and with just two of us, we rarely use anything else. Easily seasoned to your own tasre, including adding extra butter.

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  11. You write: "People generally don't things like 'I have roast a turkey' or 'A turkey has been roast' these days." I wonder, though, whether we'll be hearing those forms before long. I'm not alone in noticing a trend toward dropping -ed from the past tense of verbs that end in /t/ or /d/, e.g., "I text him yesterday." And there's an unforgettable line spoken by Juliette Lewis's character in the 2010 film "Conviction": "I was railroad!"

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  12. Wow, I read so many "roasts" in this post and comments, semantic satiation set in and the word lost all meaning. Those potatoes do look good though.

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  13. Gosh! Do you really not have Sunday roasts in America?
    You poor things! No wonder you all seem so unhappy!

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    1. There is the concept of 'Sunday dinner', but better than that there is Sunday brunch, THE BEST MEAL OF EVER.

      Because it's a much more church-going country, a lot of people go out for a meal after church (and many churches will have refreshments after, called 'coffee hour' in my hometown church, but you could get two meals out of it). In Texas, many descended on one of the big cafeteria-style restaurants like Luby's or Piccadilly, at which you could get something like the Southern version of a roast dinner.

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    2. But if you have had breakfast before church, you wouldn't want brunch afterwards! I do cook our Sunday dinner (not always a roast, but usually something a bit different) in the evenings, though, as Church tends to provide fruit (and sometimes other snacks) afterwards, even in these strange times.

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    3. Catholics are not supposed to have breakfast before church. Must keep the tummy empty for Christ. Brunch and coffee hour are lovely...

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    4. It would be very embarrassing to eat an extra-hearty breakfast and then vomit up the Host. In mediaeval times you could get very heavy penances for that, and more so if you were a priest, because the implication was that you had gotten drunk on consecrated wine.

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    5. But since the priest has to finish up the consecrated remains, on an empty stomach you would think they would get tipsy even quicker! I remember at least one occasion when the curate had had to finish the wine and wasn't quite sure they were within the legal limit to drive home....

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  14. My Mum, brother and I used to attend church when I was a kid, and, as I recall, like Mrs Redboots, we used to fill up with breakfast first.
    I wonder if that's typical behaviour among British churchgoers?
    If so, there's a contrast with the Texan practice described by Lynne of fasting piously beforehand and then all piling into a diner for a blow-out afterwards.
    Ah, those Sunday brunches do sound good!
    But it's interesting that Lynne's 'best meal of ever' is one cooked and served by strangers and eaten in public.
    This seems to relate to a cultural difference that's come up here before: that most Americans are more comfortable in restaurants than most Britons are.
    To me, an intrinsic part of the ideal English Sunday roast is that it is prepared communally and eaten in a relaxed atmosphere at home.
    A roast dinner in a pub or restaurant can be jolly nice, but, because it's cooked and served by others, is eaten in public, and there's a bill to pay at the end, to me at least, there's always an element of awkwardness and pretence.
    In a restaurant, no matter how glorious the food, it can only ever be a pretend Sunday roast, not a real one!

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    1. It isn't fasting, actually -- which, post-Vatican II, isn't much of a thing even for Catholics, and certainly was never a thing among any of the flavors of mainline Protest church I attended (Lutheran, Presbyterian, occasionally Episcopal/CofE or Methodist with relatives). No, it's just the knowledge of post-services brunch meant that pre-service breakfast was minimal, just enough to keep the kids from complaining during the service. Coffee Hour at the churches I attended wasn't very generous, and besides, the competition to get to the front of the line at the popular restaurants encouraged a quicker getaway.

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    2. Certainly in my family in the sixties, Sunday was the one day of the week we had a cooked breakfast - eggs, bacon, fried bread - and we kids did go to Sunday school afterwards, where the only refreshments used to be instant coffee.

      I still have a cooked breakfast on Sundays even though I'm now an atheist and my church-going ended about the time I left my parents' home.

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    3. Not all Sunday brunches are cooked by strangers, but the best ones are social. I used to host them on occasion or go to some that others invited me to. But they are best if, as for a Sunday dinner, there are enough people around to justify making something fancy and/or providing a lot of variety. Breakfast foods are the best foods, and the more different kinds you have, the better. (And in a country with more of a mix of cultures, more things count as breakfast foods. But not baked beans. No way.)

      For a lot of Brits the best-meal-ever is cooked in a pub kitchen. I'm sure a lot of people never make a Sunday roast themselves

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    4. When I was young Holy Communion tended to happen only at 08:00 am, and one went on an empty stomach, with perhaps a cup of tea for sustenance, and then came home to breakfast. These days, with Communion tending to happen at the main service, which starts any time between about 10:00 and about 11:30, people eat first!

      And baked beans are a traditional part of a Full English* - I can live without them, but if you buy one when out they are often served by default. Mind you, the best Full English I had was a veggie one, with grilled halloumi in place of the traditional bacon.
      * For the benefit of American readers, a Full English consists of any or all of sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, chips/hash brown/bubble and squeak (usually only one of those!), and arguably a slice of fried bread or a slice of toast. And tea, as the kind of place that serves a really good breakfast (often served all day) doesn't usually have decent coffee, although there are exceptions!

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    5. You left out the black pudding!

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    6. So I did, and that's almost the best bit!!!

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    7. There's a café (the kind that's sometimes called a "greasy spoon") next to Brighton station (Lynne may know it!) that serves great breakfasts, and amazing omelettes. They got fed up with people leaving their black pudding, so now you have to ask for it as an extra (but at no extra cost). I'd eat one if it was put in front of me (because I'm more greedy than I am picky!) but have never entirely understood the appeal.

      As for tea vs coffee, I think it's more that a traditional strong but milky British tea ("builder's tea") is the traditional accompaniment to the working class greasy breakfast. Coffee was a more middle class drink, until the US-style trend of "coffee shops" (Starbucks, Costa, et al) arrived.

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    8. Lynne says "For a lot of Brits the best-meal-ever is cooked in a pub kitchen. I'm sure a lot of people never make a Sunday roast themselves."
      This may well be true today, but it's quite a recent development. Pubs (round my way at least) rarely had kitchens before, I'd say, the late nineteen-eighties.
      Before that, pub food was nuts, crisps, scratchings, pickled eggs, and maybe a sandwich if you were lucky.
      It's certainly only quite recently that they've started doing 'Sunday roasts', which previously were definitely a thing prepared and eaten at home.
      There is (was?) a tradition that the senior man in the household would carve the Sunday joint.
      There is an item of furniture called a 'carver chair', a dining room chair with wooden arms, which said man was supposed to occupy to do the carving ...although how a chair with wooden arms might be of any assistance in the task is a mystery!

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    9. I'm fairly sure in our house in the sixties, it was my mother and not my father who did the carving and it was done in the kitchen, the meat and veg apportioned on to the plates and the plates brought in to the dining room. There would not have been enough room to carve at the dining table.

      As to pub food, there's that story told on the TV programme Balderdash and Piffle a few years ago about the executive at the Milk Marketing Board in the fifties returning home from a meeting. They had been discussing promoting cheese sales now that cheese production was back to pre-war levels. He stopped at a pub and asked about food. All they had was some cheese, bread and pickles. From this came the idea of the ploughman's lunch.

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    10. According to Zythophile (http://zythophile.co.uk/2007/07/16/the-ploughmans-lunch-guilty-or-innocent/) the TV show didn't get the whole story: bread, cheese, and beer really was a traditional pub meal going back before World War II, it's just the name "ploughman's lunch" that was promoted by the Milk Marketing Board.

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    11. However, the programme was more interested in the origin of the name rather than the meal itself.

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  15. A quick thought: in my own usage, I sense that I'm more likely to use "roast" for something that I'm thinking of as a mass noun, and "roasted" for a count noun. So, roast beef, roast pork (but, as Mrs Redboots mentioned, baked ham), but roasted vegetables, roasted chestnuts. "Chicken" is the one meat that for me can be both a mass noun and a count noun, depending on context, so it seems a bit more natural to say "there's some really nice roast chicken at the left end of the buffet" and also "we roasted a couple of chickens."

    It's not airtight because I can say "a roast beef" or "a roast turkey." Perhaps a better way of thinking about it is that I can't say "some roast vegetables/beets/onions/sweet potatoes." Each of those is count-noun-y for me and would have to be "roasted."

    And, relating back to the original post, I really can't comment on any of this relative to potatoes, being allergic. (Sweet potatoes are a different botanic family and no problem.)

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    1. Interesting idea, thanks! It doesn't fit either the US or UK patterns perfectly, but if there's a conspiracy* of factors at work here, that could be one that has some effect.

      *Linguists use 'conspiracy' this way; I'm not sure others do. But I love it.

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    2. Now you see, in British English I *can* say "some roast vegetables", but am unlikely to say "a roast beef" - I would say "a joint of beef" or "roast beef", but not with an article, unless it was "the roast", with no modifier.

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    3. And having said that (I do wish one could edit one's post), I've just realised that I can say "a baked ham".... "The buffet included roast beef, chicken, a baked ham, poached salmon and some roast vegetables".

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    4. One singular form of "roast beef" might be "a roast of beef".

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  16. I (AmE, 67) say and mostly hear "roast turkey," but I'm sure I've seen cold cuts labeled "oven roasted turkey" (no hyphen, but what do you expect from grocers who sell "can vegetables"?). Where else would I roast a turkey except in an oven? But I'm an unimaginative cook. "Oven roast turkey" would sound klunky.

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    1. Re: grocers. I presume you are familiar with the concept of greengrocers apostrophe's.

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    2. Steve - Well, joints of meat were traditionally roasted in front of the fire, so the turkey could conceivably have been spit roasted! (Incidentally, I find the expression 'pan fried' odd. What else would you fry in? - except a wok, and then it would be stir-fried.)

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    3. Pan fried as opposed to deep fried. Or stir-fried, of course.

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  17. Yes, but I still cringe. And I know they're capable of better: some stores have express lanes marked "[x] items or fewer" (not "less"). It warms the cockles of my heart. :-)

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  18. Incidentally, I see Lynne got quoted in The Guardian today, talking about "virtue signalling".

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