‘I had a £2.49 microwaveable Sunday roast but struggled to stomach it’

A microwavable Sunday roast has been slated for its “tasteless” Yorkshire puddings and “very, very sweet” vegetables.

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, households are cutting back at what food – and the brands of food – they buy at supermarkets. Typically, it can cost a family about £20 to £25 to purchase all the food needed for a Sunday roast, including a medium-sized chicken. 

So, Aaron Morris, a reporter with Chronicle Live, tried a Sunday roast which is cooked in the microwave.

He picked up the Kershaws dinner for just £2.49 at a Morrison’s despite being wary some microwave meals are “complete and utter abominations”.

“I won’t lie to you, microwave meals are very much hit and miss. Don’t get me wrong, you can get some beautiful British staples in microwave form which work – think sausage and mash, cottage pie etc – but some are a complete and utter abomination,” the journalist wrote.

“TV dinners have been around for years, and are especially popular in the United States. Swanson sold ten million trays in their first year of production of microwave dinners in 1954, so if they’re still cutting about they can’t be that bad, right?” 

After zapping the meal in the microwave for 12 minutes – as instructed on the packet – Aaron tucked into the creation.

Here’s his verdict:

After the allocated cooking time – and leaving a minute to stand – I went to check on the dish to see if it was good to go, only to be pleasantly surprised by the smell of a luscious thick and salty gravy. So far, so good.

Presentation-wise, it also wasn’t the worst meal I’d ever set my eyes upon – see my review on the Turducken at Christmas for that – and everything seemed to look rather pleasant. The roasties looked crispy but still full of fluff, the carrots and peas looked a little well done and dried out but still decent enough, and the miniature Yorkshire pudding was floating atop a sea of gloopy gravy. Delightful.

The only thing that was not plainly visible to the eye was the meat itself, but I soon found that it had sunken to the bottom of the gravy bowl.

After being completely taken aback by the sight of the meal, I tried all of the portions bit by bit, to get the full flavour of each. The roasties caught my eye first, so I went in. What I will say, is that I’m a big fan of frozen roasties anyway – the likes of Aunt Bessies seem to hit the nail on the head with it in terms of texture, whereas when I make them myself, they end up harder than granite.

Lovely and ruffled on the outside for texture, but brilliantly soft and fluffy on the inside – they’re a winner. Well played Kershaws.

Unfortunately, that’s where the pleasantries end. Moving onto the carrot and peas combination, they were indeed as thought well over done. Drier than sticks and very, very sweet like tinned carrots, I wasn’t a big fan. I usually have mine honey-roasted, so I do like a little sugar on them, but this took it to new extremes.

If blindfolded, you could easily mistake the carrots and peas for candy, rather than veg.

The gravy, although initially appealing on a sight and smell basis, was highly disappointing also – tasting like cheap and nasty meat. It was also far, far too salty. And the beef at the bottom of the almost gelatinous pool tasted just as bad. Also it was deceivingly chewy for how razor thin it had been cut, and had to be chewed for about a minute before it went anywhere.

I hoped that the Yorkie would have been a saving grace, but alas, it was brutal. Completely tasteless, and it had the texture of a glove which had been left outside on a snow day…not ideal when you’re hoping for a light and airy bowl to slurp up the rest of your gravy.

Food historian tracks the evolution of the Sunday roast

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All in all, I’m not entirely certain what other brands of microwave roast dinners taste like – but trialling the Kershaws version has put me off the idea of scranning one ever again.

It may have only cost £2.49, but I would suggest having a whip round as a family to spread the cost, rather than putting yourself through the task of trying to stomach one of these.

Like I said, some microwave meals are a winner for those looking for a quick and hassle-free dinner, but Sunday dinners are best being roast, not zapped for a fraction of the time.

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