22th April 2007,

Rebecca Carl has more excuses than most of us to eat while she works - she is studying the traditional Sunday lunch.

The German visual communications student has taken a close look at the great British roast and believes that reports of its demise are exaggerated. Ms Carl, 27, has enjoyed "excellent hospitality" from seven Welsh families who invited her to in to lunch.

But she said: "It doesn't matter what you eat, it's the family getting together that counts".

The postgraduate student, from Leipzig, has produced photographs and installations to portray the weekly sit-down to a meat, two veg and all the trimmings. She added: "You catch up with what has been happening, you look forward to the next week.

"That is what is really important about your traditional Sunday lunch."


Ms Carl decided to carry out the research after she realised that the weekly habit of sitting down to a Sunday roast was something which only happened in Britain.

"You have a lot of newspapers saying Sunday lunch is dying but actually here in Wales it is alive," said the student.

"Families were really friendly and gave me a really warm welcome. What was amazing was they didn't treat me as a stranger, the treated me like a family member.

Among those families who extended an invitation - in rhyme this time - was a 50-year-old poet called Huw from Glynneath, who she said, was "very proud" of the lamb roasted by his mother.

"So proud, in fact, he said it was the lamb which was the guest and not me!," she recalled.

"Actually, the lamb was fantastic."

Colin Bevan and his partner Carole from Penlan in Swansea also invited Ms Carl to join them over lunch.

"I was honoured to be invited by all these people. There were no bad experiences at all," she said.

In fact, while she has come to love " excellently cooked" parsnips "crisp on the outside and soft in the middle", Ms Carl discovered gravy was the most important culinary aspect of the Sunday lunch.

"The man will never do it like the mum.. but fathers are allowed to carve the meat," she said.

Living on the university campus in Swansea, she has also discovered that the family roast is emerging in a new form with students.

But the postgrad's fascination extends beyond Yorkshire pudding.

She wants to carry out a PhD at Swansea researching the global lunch phenomenon, including the Jewish tradition of the Sabbath meal, and Moslems who eat a special meal on their religious holoday on Friday.

An exhibition of Rebecca Carl's degree research - featuring an installation of table and chairs and all her Sunday lunch conversations will take place at Swansea's Grand Theatre from 22 - 27 June.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/04/22 08:21:12 GMT