Hi Rebecca, I am writing in response to your article in the Evening Post. I live in Sketty, Swansea and love cooking Sunday Dinner. I don't have a family as such but a family of friends who always call round on a Sunday to have dinner; it is a very relaxed social occasion demonstrating the joy of sharing, eating, talking and having fun. I think the experience would be of value to your research and it would be a pleasure to take part. If I do not hear from you I wish you the very best in your studies and your future.

Kind regards, Gareth

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When I got Gareth’s invitation I thought it is one of these kind of invitations for dinner from single men. After the newspaper article in the Evening Post I got a few with this content. However, he wrote very friendly so I decided to ask him some questions about himself.

Gareth is sharing a house in Sketty in Swansea with Christine and Paul. He is Irish and loves to cook. He is cooking every Sunday and he never knows really how many of his friends will turn up. His brother lives with his wife around the corner and they often come around for a chat or to share a meal. Even that Gareth has no family – he has a lot of friends who are his family.

It is eleven o’clock and I am in time to spend the Sunday with Gareth. After a few times ringing the bell, Christine opens the door: “Oh, Gareth is still in bed – I need to wake him up.”

My feeling says me that it will be a very smooth Sunday. Christine and I are going into the kitchen and drink a tea whilst Gareth is getting up. Christine is looking very much forward to today’s Sunday lunch: “Gareth is the best cook in the world.” – “Yes, he is," says a second voice coming down the stairs, its Paul the third housemate “but I won’t take part today”. He grabs a newspaper and sits down at the big wooden table while he is waiting for his lunch to be cooked in the microwave.

Gareth is up and has a coffee first. It is nearly twelve o’clock and I wonder how he is going to manage to cook a Sunday lunch for nine people in just three hours. Christine must have thought the same, because she asks: “Gareth, how many people are we today? Nine? The table is too small again.” She decides to help him and cleans the garden table outside the house.

Gareth says with proud: “The vegetables are bought at the market in Swansea and the joint of beef is from a local butcher.” While he is rubbing the beef joint with olive oil, salt and pepper; he says: “Everything is fresh and not from the Supermarket.” The beef goes into the oven und Gareth prepares and cooks the vegetables: swede, carrots and cauliflower. Gareth explains that cauliflower with cheese sauce is one of his favourite food and that he already helped preparing the cheese sauce when he was a kid. He puts a lot of time and effort into his sauce and another hour is just gone. Gareth decides to have a shower before his friends will arrive as he thinks he has prepared everything.

As soon he is in the bathroom most of his friends are arriving already. They are hungry and curious, so they look into the pans and oven what Gareth has cooked this time. John, Gareth’s brother, notices that the parsnips and potatoes are not even prepared so he starts to clean them. After a smooth Sunday morning, Gareth, just out of the shower, is getting stressed now. Red-faced and with the help of his brother, Gareth is cooking in the kitchen while the others have taken place around the two tables. John has prepared the day before a pumpkin soup which he proudly serves now with chilli, fresh coriander and Irish bread. The soup tastes lovely, we all enjoy it – we even take the bread to wipe out the last drops in our bowl. Gareth has no time to sit down, he is stressed – the parsnips and potatoes are roasting in the oven and need to be watched. The gravy has to be prepared too. John has the honour to carve the roast beef, but of course observed by the ‘chef’ Gareth.

After this delicious soup I am now really looking forward to the main course. John and Gareth serve the food on the table and we are loading instantly our plates. Everybody says: “Oh Gareth – that smells so nice!” Finally, Gareth is sitting down at the table. In just a few minutes we eat everything what is on the table. The beef is tender and tastes like real beef. The meat is not overdone – it is just right: the outside of the joint is brown and the middle pink. The parsnips and potatoes are cracking in my mouth and the swede-carrot mash is melting on my tongue. But the best is the gravy – how delicious! Christine just can not get enough and says every minute: “The gravy is wonderful – it’s the best you have ever made!”

The only one who is not eating is Gareth: “After such a long time in the kitchen, I am not hungry anymore.” And that is very unusual for Gareth, usually he can eat loads. At least he is very pleased that we love the food. There is just a little bit beef left and Christine already starts to fill the dishwasher. She hates dirty dishes standing around – just in minutes the table is clean and prepared for the dessert.

One of Gareth’s friends has brought a stunning dessert – made by herself: a custard cream with fruits sucked in rum. And Gareth has made a bread-and-butter pudding with raisins. The desserts have just the right sweetness to finish this lovely delicious lunch.

It is already seven o’clock and we can not just leave the table now. So we decide to play some board games and we are having loads of laughs with the game ‘Mr and Mrs’. A stunning Sunday ends with fantastic food and I have won new friends too.