After that, I started accepting invitations to Sunday roasts at every opportunity. As I found my place here, making friends with fellow students and, later, co-workers, there were a lot of opportunities. The weekly Sunday roast is a British tradition, brought by colonists to Australia in the late 18th century; it was common practice to put a roast to cook before leaving for church, come back home to a hearty meal, and extend the leftovers through the week that followed. But here in Australia, it's become an institution in its own right. It's the most important family meal, the week's main opportunity for a get-together. As I visited family after family, the basic scheme became apparent: A central piece of meat is served with roasted starchy vegetables, boiled green vegetables, gravy, and a sweet condiment, like mint jelly, cranberry relish, or applesauce. Within these parameters, what ended up on the table each time varied tremendously. Some of my hosts, like Elaine's family, hewed closely to the traditional "meat and two veg" British formula. Others brought their own heritage to bear on the meal, with an Italian porchetta in the place of honor at one home, Portuguese-style chicken at another, and, at the table of a French acquaintance, lamb cooked with apples, served with boiled shrimp and basil-infused mayonnaise, a sort of Gallic surf and turf. The variations, I realized, were endless.