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Imagine a roast without gravy – the unsung hero of the traditional lunch. At Christmas, enriched with juices from the festive roast, it’s this unassuming accompaniment’s chance to shine… But can you improve on a classic? We pitched chef Dan Doherty against his mum Margaret in a challenge to find out if cheffy gravy can compete with the old-fashioned way of doing things

Gravy is a very British obsession. The gravy-off on these pages was inspired by a debate among the delicious. team during the planning day for our Christmas issue – vastly differing opinions revealing how strongly people feel about the runny stuff on their Christmas plate… Should it be thick or thin? Poured over the roasties or not? The jury’s out.

We set our mother and son team head-to-head over a hot stove with no idea what to expect when it came to their generational gravy war. Would tradition prevail over cheffyness? The results are revealed overleaf…

It’s clear that an appreciation of gravy is ingrained in our psyche, and our history as a nation of gravy lovers goes way back. The large dinner parties so popular with the Victorians were grand and steeped in tradition, with the gravy boat passed round anticlockwise, starting from the head of the table. Often it was empty by the time it reached the fourth or fifth guest, and, although butlers could intervene, replacing the empty vessel with a new one, the people at the far end of the table would sometimes miss out. As a result, gravy became marked as a sauce with status.

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About delicious. Magazine

Make your Christmas and New Year the best ever with the December issue of delicious. magazine. Shopping’s a breeze with our last-minute gifts, drinks advice and festive taste test. Try Nigel Slater’s cakes and bakes, Paul A Young’s trademark truffles and Nigella’s sensational side-dishes and stay cool tips. We also find out what Rick Stein and family get up to over the festive period. For a low-stress Christmas day, cook our classic turkey lunch with timeplan. Plus, don't miss our amazing £8,400 prize giveaway. It's a happy Christmas – guaranteed!

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