12 November 1999



Some things are worth celebrating. And British beef,

quite frankly, is one of them. So why not take time out

on Sunday, Nov 21 to join together with family and friends

to celebrate this great tradition. Lets make it

Roast and Toast Day by enjoying a quintessentially

British meal and toasting the future of farming

THE French call us Les Rosbifs like it was some sort of insult. If only they realised how good our beef is, theyd realise the term was a compliment.

Chances are, you know this. Chances are, youve been voting with your stomach for years. But never has this solidarity been needed more than now. We need to spread the message far and wide. Spread the message that, however you like it – well cooked and crackly or so rare its almost mooing – you cant beat a bit of beef with a dob of horseradish or mustard.

Whether its Aberdeen Angus from Arbroath, Welsh Black from Welshpool or South Devon from Sidmouth, its a great source of the protein we need for body growth, maintenance and repair.

It also gives us minerals – particularly iron, which enables blood to carry oxygen and zinc which is needed by enzyme systems. The fat content, meanwhile, has plummeted, with a medium (90g) portion of lean topside containing just 4.6g of fat, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

So tell your friends and neighbours. But, more importantly, tell people outside the rural community. Tell your local supermarket manager. Tell your children to tell their friends at school. Tell them that beef is safe and the roast is one of our finest dishes.

Who, after all, doesnt love those roast spuds, honey-brown and crisp? Maybe that popular white variety, Maris Piper, grown in one of our potato heartlands like Shropshire or Suffolk. And the 1.8g of fibre in 100g of roasties compares, did you know, with just 0.1g in the same amount of boiled white rice.

We hope you can find time to join us for Roast and Toast Day on Nov 21. We hope thousands of families across the land – rural and town dwellers alike – will sit down and savour one of our great national treasures.

Lets toast the better times ahead. Better times not just in the cattle business, either, but across the stock and arable sectors, so due for an upturn.

Think of the better times ahead as you carve the joint, pour the gravy or spread the English mustard. Remember, as you tuck into that appetising range of fresh vegetables, that more optimism will return to agriculture. A curse or two directed across the Channel towards France wouldnt go amiss, either.

As we sit down to eat, well be united by our love of this nutritious, filling and heartening meal.

We hope you enjoy your roast and raise a glass – maybe of home produced wine or English ale. And the toast? British farming.

&#8226 Write and tell us how your Roast and Toast Day meal went. Tell us who you shared it with, why it was so special – and why its so important to eat British food. Every letter published in Farmlife will earn the writer a bottle of Carr Taylors Brut, an award-winning English sparkling wine.

What top chefs say:

Clarissa Dickson Wright:

"Theres something very special about a roast. It makes an event out of a meal. With people who have grown up with it, theres a nostalgia value, the security factor. It makes you feel that home goes on. Its easy to cook, too – you put it in the oven and forget about it. And it smells so good when its cooking. The combination of meat, potatoes and vegetables is a perfectly balanced meal."

Antony Worrall Thompson:

"Its part of the British heritage. Delicious. A glass of red wine and a bit of beef – its the perfect Sunday lunch. Its also the communal meal. Kids visit their parents for Sunday lunch and it can be the only time they ever sit round the table."

Brian Turner:

"I am a champion of roast beef. I love it to death, all the wonderful flavours and juices… and dont forget the Yorkshire pud. I cant see how Great Britain can ever be great again without the roast beef."

Before and after:

What better way to start your Roast and Toast Day meal than with a cheese and broccoli soup. Winters drawing in and, after an early start and a long morning working outside, piping hot soup is just what the doctor ordered. With a sprig of parsley

(British grown, of course) and a little salt and

pepper its a lovely first course. Dont forget a few slices of

warm bread, too.

Then for dessert, why not go for traditional apple pie? Its never

tasted as good as when mum used to make it, admittedly, but its still fantastic. Made, of course, with that uniquely tangy-tasting variety, the beautiful Bramley. Grown, possibly, in Kent, the Garden of England. And treat yourself to some cream – or, if theres been a frost

outside, a thick and warming creamy custard.

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