What's not to love? My fave baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays, has two edible farm team affiliates--the A team is the Charlotte Stone Crabs, the AA Team is Montgomery, Alabama's Biscuits. I could eat them up, honestly.
Now if there were only the Chattanooga Cole Slaw, and the Schenectady Sauvignon Blancs, we would have a full meal.
Golf Week: "George Schwartzel never required his son to work on the family’s chicken farm outside of Johannesburg. Charl Schwartzel worked in the fields because he enjoyed the quiet and solitude, the same reason he likes to pilot his private plane.
“It was never a job for me,” Schwartzel said. “I like working with my hands. I like to sweat. There’s nothing like early mornings on the farm.”
Schwartzel beat back a slew of rivals, including a guy in a red shirt supposedly named Tiger, to win the fabled tournament with a 13 under final round of 66.
Phil Mickelson is a good guy, we all agree. As last year's Master's winner, he is the host for what they call the Champions Dinner held at Augusta each year. ( FYI, golf.) Phil plans to pay tribute to Seve Ballesteros, whose Master's win in 1980 apparently inspired the then 10 year-old. Seve won it again in 1983, and later became a friend and mentor to Mickelson.
Ill now, but recovering from a brain tumor, Seve likely will not make this year's dinner but the spread will be appreciated by those who loved watching a dude from Spain play the game.
According to a piece from The Post Game, "... the Masters Club will have the food of Seve's nation on its plates. Mickelson is offering a mixed salad with sherry vinaigrette and olives, seafood paella, and an apple empanada for dessert."
( Back in the day, yours truly worked for Wrangler Jeans' European company based in Brussels, and Seve was an athlete we sponsored--part of my job was to arrange photo shoots with him at assorted venues. Terrible burden, as you can imagine, hanging around Seve, a cute fellow, eating European food specialties, paella included.)
Everyday ordinary supermarkets this weekend are stacking up cartons of soft drinks, snack foods, chemical cheese-ish dips, and watery beer, in snow cave formations, to entice you coming and going. Right?
Now I am sure some people who watch the SBowl may only go all junk-foodie once a year, in its honor. Or maybe twice, for those near a State Fair---Florida's version next month in Tampa is adding these to its roster of culinary grotesqueries: grilled meatloaf sundaes, deep-fried ice cream cheeseburgers, and red velvet funnel cake.
(Also new at the Fair: vegan food from Loving Hut, a franchised outlet said to be inspired by and perhaps owned by controversial spiritual leader/business mogul Ching Hai, originally from Vietnam.)
But then there are the other folks, those whose carts usually contain a few cartons of soda. All the admonitions/suggestions from foodies, nutritionists, and even the First Lady of Decent Edibles, Michelle Obama, are like tiny ice pellets bouncing off the massive igloo that is the nation's snack/soda industry, and its steady customers. The persons of the Coasts and the enlightened places in between need no reminding, of course. They do not eat or drink this stuff, and likely never have.
But o woe to the rest.
Of course. One of the original three pro football teams, the Green Bay team was created in 1919, supported by Green Bay's Indian Packing Company. The business canned meats ( we shudder to imagine these products.) Apparently Curly Lambeau, a shipping clerk who needed $$ for jerseys and a place for his guys to play, asked his employer, Indian Packing, for both. And got them.
Curly had played college ball at Notre Dame for two years, and became GB's first coach. Lambeau Field in Green Bay, opened in 1957, marks his contribution to the game, as does his apparent pioneering of the forward pass.
The football-involved GB-ers created a unique institution, indeed.
"The Green Bay Packers, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation held by the citizens of Green Bay to run its football team. The Packers are the only publicly owned team in the National Football League (NFL), and the team is the only surviving franchise in the NFL still playing in its original small town. Green Bay Packers, Inc. has roughly 100,000 shareholders, but the shares produce no dividends, and all profits the team makes go to the American Legion. The team's wins, therefore, produce no financial gain for stockholders. Yet this arrangement virtually precludes the Packers from moving to another city. Green Bay remains the only town of its size to have a major league football team."
Food, bless its heart, behind so many traditions and celebrations.
Because then there's the cheesehead thing!
Fifteen years ago Chicago Bears fans, so the story goes, began ridiculing GBP fans as "cheeseheads," from hick dairy country. ( Upper Wisconsin.) Ralph Bruno was challenged to respond, so he seized a foam cushion ( from his sofa?,) applied flame to it, made holes, etc., and wore his smelly creation to a Packers game. Today he presides over assorted cheesy products that pack a gouda.
BTW, The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is happy to inform you about their classy cheese(s.)
This morning I was casually perusing the NYTimes on line and came across an article about the Obamas' forays into DC, their exploration of the city. What struck me most was the photo of the Prez at a recent Washington Wizards/Chicago Bulls game, drinking beer from a GLASS, like, one actually made of glass, courtside.
Your average beer-drinking sportsfan at a venue is drinking from a bottle, normally, or from a wretched plastic glass. The Presidential beer pictured could be in an ad, it looks so cold and tasty.
There's a faint smile on the face of the drinker, too. So--is a GLASS only available for VIP's down front? Is it a dictum of this Prez--beer only in a proper vessel ? Is the kid sitting next to Obama picking his nose?
American soldiers in Iraq will watch today's Super Bowl game ( whenever they get it--2 am Baghdad time tomorrow?) accompanied by two beers each. No more.
As the war is officially an alcohol-free zone, this morale-boosting bonanza is apparently being warmly received by military personnel, along with the chance to pretend they are home, with friends and family, enjoying a game.
From an ESPN report: "Amazing how something so simple can energize so many people. The menu already has been e-mailed around the base. Sports-bar food: chicken wings, pizza, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, beer-battered onion rings. And, of course, the two cold ones. They've heard one of their higher-ups will make everyone sign for the beers, make them drink them inside the dining building and turn in the cans afterward. No funny business. Doesn't matter."
Can they make it last? I suppose even the non-sports people will show up for their brews, knowing the base will most likely not be showing a Coen Brothers retrospective as an alternative.
See, it's a food thing--a bowl! And the game itself was the best I've seen in years, the most exciting underdog toenail gripping 4th quarter in memory. ( I was, with my Dad, a Giants fan as a kid....and it all came back last night.)
But on to food during the game--mine? Freshly popped corn, with olive oil and chile/herb powder, salt, and, to honor America, some melted butter....an organic "pink lady" apple, a glass of red wine, and thou, Eli Manning.
Post game, apparently the city of Boston is ante-ing up the following to the city of New York--a mayor to mayor thing.
--100 cups of New England Clam Chowder from Legal Sea Foods;
--42 pounds of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts in honor of Super Bowl XLII
--12 dozen Boston Cream Pies and 12 Dozen Parker House Rolls (in honor of Tom Brady’s #12) from Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel
--100 Kayem Old Tyme franks and 100 al fresco sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, the best-selling dogs in New England
--20 Pizzas from Sal’s – one pizza for each selection on the menu
--5 Cases of Brigham’s Boston You’re My Home Ice Cream and 5 cases of Cherry on the Top Frozen Yogurt Bars from Elan.
--100 servings of Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt
Now who will actually take home these goodies and eat them, is not known, at least to me. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg will offer the spread to the candidates feverishly flitting in and out of his city in search of delegates.
(The list cribbed from The Bostonist at http://bostonist.com/2008/01/30/gutbusters_mayo.php.)
The marketing minds in the Dodgers' baseball organization have come up with a lovely new way to increase ticket sales in a lousy part of the stadium, while at the same time pushing up antacid use and obesity figures among Angelenos. Buy a ticket for a seat out in right field, and get an all-you-can-eat opportunity that begins, according to a report on MSNBC," 90 minutes before the first pitch, and lasts before the start of the seventh inning"-- the available eats are dogs, popcorn, nachos, peanuts and sodas. No beer, ice cream or candy.
"Fans are allowed four items per trip to the food counters under the stands. Soda stations offer unlimited drinks and bottled water is free."
Dodgers' COO Marty Greenspun is delighted with the right field experiment, proclaiming it a hit with fans. ( Average walk up ticket price is $40, $20 if part of a group. A hotdog usually costs $4.75, as do sodas. )
“This is really not about gluttony,” he said. “This is really about offering a new fan amenity. It’s all up to individual choices.”
( Dodger Dog thanks to http://la.foodblogging.com/2005/05/21/dodgers-fans-divided-over-dogs-drinks-at-stadium/)
"Mt. Fujita towers six to eight inches, depending on how tightly it's wrapped, and is easily scaled by those with an empty stomach or sophisticated palate.
At Rock-N-Sake, a sushi bar in New Orleans's warehouse district, the edible homage to Saints linebacker Scott Fujita consists of crawfish and tuna rolls coupled with avocado sauce and is stacked like a pyramid. For the fifth-year journeyman linebacker who was traded by Kansas City and let go by Dallas without much of a free agent fight, the namesake dish and local cult-hero status is an honor offered with this disclaimer: "I don't want to get all sappy or anything, but . . ." Fujita said."
For those not following the sports world, two major football games will be played tomorrow. The New Orleans team--beignets, shrimp etouffee, etc etc versus the Chicago Bears--no ketchup hot dogs, deep dish p. pies...( I know! Chicago is a sophisticated dining town, I know, already..)
Then the New England Patriots--the cliche scrod, b.beans, takes on the Indianapolis Colts--and for this town, I have utterly no clue. Fried pork tenderloin sandwich?
I'm going with the Saints to come marching in victorious--great comeback team, memorable food and music.
Archaeologists surmise that the royals who lolled in the imperial garden in China's Guangdong province 2000 years ago ate well.
According to the People's Daily OnLine, "Members of the royal family of the Southern Yue enjoyed the beautiful scenery in the garden while tasting delicious fruits such as lychee, Chinese black olive, melon, persimmon, date, grape and apple," Zhao ( Zhijun) said. Zhao is a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology.
In unearthing the oldest imperial garden yet found in China, scientists came across more than 100,000 seeds, preserved for thousands of years in a well. ( Were they spat into it??)
China is the original home of numerous food plants that have traveled the world and its farming practices are as old as or older than anything in the Fertile Crescent or the Andes. As James Trager points out in his uniquely useful book, The FOOD Chronology, in 479 BC when Confucius died he left behind numerous songs that mentioned "at least 44 different food plants. (The Old Testament mentions only 29.)"
China news from the 21st century--Snickers will be the official chocolate of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The Torino 2006 website features an earnest declaration that the Olympic Village eateries will cater to any and all food allergies/special diets but if you want to dine outside the village try the agnolotti and chocolate-based desserts.
Other than that, precious little of edible news appears to be surfacing from the Winter Games.
Hannah Teter, the American snowboarder, calls her family's home-produced "all natural" maple syrup, "the bomb." The syrup comes from trees on their land in Belmont, Vermont.
Her male colleague on the board, 19 year-old Shaun White, a redhead, was dubbed the Flying Tomato by someone who watched him leap over luggage in an airport lobby.
And American ice skater Johnny Weir claims not to eat at all...
Foodie tried to glean food-related bits about other country's athletes but, alas, failed. Googling "Norwegian cross country skiers" she brought up a piece on "the search for speed," that zeroed in on everything except food.
Finally she glimpsed a brief NBC report on truffle hunting in Italy. Nothing new there, sorry.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' official song is performed by a band called, unpalatably, Corned Beef & Curry.
Seattle Seahawks' fullback Matt Strong is pictured in SI holding a clammy cool fish at Seattle's Pike Place Market.
Seattle's "local delicacy" is sushi--according to SI, evidently a Japanese immigrant named Shiro Kashiba started the city's first sushi joint in 1967.
In Pittsburgh the locals favor Primanti's Sandwich: "a big hunk of grilled meat and chilly cole slaw and hot fried egg and fresh tomato and crisp French fries between two slabs of chewy Italian bread that you could hardly fit into your mouth.." Why? Because when Primanti's Restaurant first opened as a hole-in-the-wall place during the Depression serving "lunch" to workers unloading fruits and vegeatbles at night the owners forgot to buy plates and utensils. Everything was piled onto the sandwich bread...
Sports Illustrated makes no mention whatsoever of what Detroit, the venue for SBXL, offers culinarily.
May the best fed team win.
Along with carb-laden bars , fortified drinks, bite-sized French sandwiches with meat, cheese and butter, racers on the move in stages of the Tour munch on potatoes, sometimes baked, sometimes boiled. This year the Tour began in an obscure peninsula in the Vendee region, Ile Noirmoutier, known for its special "new" potatoes, the Bonnottes. Cultivation of this variety dates back to the 1920's and was always done by hand. In recent years production of La Bonnotte has been revitalized, especially as Bonnotte pairs beautifully with the local oysters. It is entirely possible, therefore, that yesterday's racers were mindlessly stuffing themselves with carbs from rarified potatoes prized by gourmandes.
Athletes who need 6000-7000 calories per day eat cooked potatoes the way more sedentary types eat apples. At the feeding stages, team helpers hand long bags of supplies to their racers, trying to connect as cyclists flash by at 30-50 miles per hour. You can see the cyclists stashing supplies in their kangaroo pouches, tossing wrappers and bottles to the winds as they scarf or slurp something down. Fast food for the athletes, slow cleanup, for someone.
Boiling in the lead-up to the 4th? Try iced cabbage leaves on your head---seems Babe Ruth used to apply same to his head, changing them every two innings.
So did South Korean pro ballpayer and pitcher Myung-hwan Park until his league banned the practice.
Evidently the pitcher has quite a follow-through--his hat flew off twice in a recent game, sending the cabbage leaves flying. Korean Baseball Organization officials felt the cabbage practice " can interrupt games," hence the ruling against the vegetative cooling device. The Seattle Times, June 23, reported the KBO considered cabbage leaves to be a "foreign substance."
Cabbage is the centerpiece of Korea's ubiquitous kimchi, people. Foreign?! Sheesh.
Play ball! Baseball games these days are entertainment and eating events, as thousands of fans glimpse bits of the game from long lines as they wait for their food, sipping on local wines or micro-brews.
Cannolis at Shea, fudge at Coors Field, boiled peanuts in Hot-Lanta, gyros at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, fish tacos at PETCO Park San Diego, pierogies in Cleveland, and, according to PETA's latest survey, for vegetarian baseball fans, the Bay Area is the best. ( PETA is the animal rights' organization based in Norfolk, VA. ) The Giants at SBC Park offer veggie dogs and burgers, edame, veg sushi, even portobelllo mushroom burgers. Over in Oakland, the A's do the veggie usual, plus baked potatoes and a "savory bean pie." ( Sounds terribly Brit, the last one.)
Of course hot dogs, whether meaty or veg, still rule at ballparks across the country, though when in Chicago, remember never to let ketchup near your dog. Evidently it's a cultural affront to the locals.
In terms of food imagery, the Athens games were our favorite from start to finish. See our blogs on the use of the olive branch as a symbol of the games.....olive wreaths crowning winners; the torch was inspired by an olive leaf.
The entire closing ceremony used wheat as a symbol. The companion jumbo screen showed a golden wheatfield video. Among other things, the final ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games featured 100 “koudounatoi” - a Greek custom with direct origins in the Bacchic rituals of ancient times, as well as a line of 60 Pontos dancers, doing one of the most powerful Greek dances. All was taged in a spiral field of golden stylized "wheat" made of 45,000 stalks.
Here's an explanation for the choice of wheat: (excerpted from the Official Guide to the Closing Ceremony):
A golden spiral wheat field at the centre of the stadium formed the centerpiece of the programme. Made up of 45,000 individually ‘planted’ stalks, it covered an area of almost 6,000 sq. metres. It took 100 man-hours to ‘plant’ the wheat stalks.
The spiral wheat field was chosen because, in Greek folklore, golden wheat is the “fruit of the marriage between the earth and the sun”.
In Greek festivities, “wheat symbolised the fertility of the earth, the awakening of life that arises from death”.
According to the Technical Director of the ceremony, “The spiral represents the notion of infinity, a form that frequently recurs in nature. Our galaxy is spiral in form.”
The programme started with a colourful and vibrant ‘mosaic of celebrations’ a medley of ancient, traditional and popular Greek music with the synopsis,“May the dances last forever”.
The theme was “May God keep us healthy, so we can always meet and celebrate, dancing in circles as free as a river.”
"The Opening Ceremony was a celebration of humanity while the Closing Ceremony will be a warm and human celebration. It will be like an invitation to eat, drink and dance and sing with us, the Greek way. It will feature a colourful mosaic, compiled of pieces of Greek celebrations gathered from all regions of Greece featuring a fast edit of a constant flow, like rivers of energy, of 2,100 volunteers." according to an official press briefing.
The image (above right) of Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture carrying wheat sheaves, is from:http://www.geschiedenisvoorkinderen.nl/Griekengoden.htm
Did you watch? What did you think of the wheat imagery? Did you cook or eat anything Greek during the two week Olympic run?
Warren Conference Center Executive Chef Todd Boule has cooked for crowds at the country's top restaurants and glittering events, but he has never gone through 2,700 melons in a day.
The melons are one of the hottest items, Boule said, at the Olympic Village's casual dining outlet in Athens, Greece, where he is working as senior executive chef. The athletes are also keen on carbohydrates, going through 500 pounds of rice a day.
"It's phenomenal some of the volume we're going through," Boule said in a telephone interview yesterday. "It makes me feel great to be a part of that. I can serve them great food and give them good nutrition. It's fantastic."
The casual dining facility is open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and is set up like an informal Greek "taverna," said Boule. It serves lunch and dinner to about 700 people, peaking with an estimated 10,000 meals daily, he said.
"The main dining room seats about 5,500," said Boule. "They're not in a rush when they come here."
Pizza is also a popular menu item, and Boule said every offering has a nutrition information label to go with it.
Preparing meals for crowds is not that much different than cooking for intimate groups, Boule said. Organization is key, said Boule, who is managing four executive chefs, five sous chefs (assistant chefs) and about 110 cooks.
"You still have attention to detail, but it's a little different," said Boule. "It's managing the masses."
One organizational challenge revolves around the daily food deliveries, Boule said. Security precautions, including scanning food trucks with X-rays prior to entering the Olympic Village, take extra time, he said.
Boule thought language would be the biggest problem in the kitchen, but the English- and Greek-speaking workers have found common ground, he said.
"We speak the language of food," said Boule. "It's like watching a ballet now here in the kitchen."
Boule said he usually works 38-hour shifts, then sleeps nine hours and begins again. The long days are worth it to make sure the games run smoothly, he said.
"It's making sure my staff has the tools they need to serve great meals," said Boule. "I know it's only for 20 days, and it's not going to kill me."
And this from the Philadelphia Daily News, Aug 18, 2004:
1. You would have to eat an entire meal every 2.5 seconds for 60 days straight to equal the 2 million meals that will be consumed in the Olympic Village during the Summer Games.
2. It will require a crew of more than 2,000 - including 50 chefs and 700 cooks - to satisfy the cravings of hungry Olympians; that's nearly four times the number of athletes in the U.S. Olympic delegation.
3. One of the world's first cookbooks was written in the 5th century B.C. by a Greek named Archestratus. It was called "Gastronomia." That's where the word "gastronomy" comes from.
4. If you laid out all of the bread being served during the Athens Summer Games, it would cover 6 ½ basketball courts.
5. All of the bananas to be consumed in the Olympic Village, if lined end to end, would cover the marathon route three times over. (That route, by the way, follows part of the original path run by the messenger Phidippides in 490 B.C.)
6. Athens powerlifter Pyrros Dimas won Olympic gold in Sydney by snatching 187.25 pounds. He would have to lift 1,202 times that to equal the weight of all the seafood that will be consumed in the Olympic Village.
7. The 6.65 million bottles of water that will hydrate athletes in the Olympic Village could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
8. It would take the average American 1,264 years to consume the amount of potatoes that will be eaten during the Summer Games.
9. If you put all the eggs Olympians will consume end to end...you could circle the Olympic track 34,895 times.
10. Aramark/Dasko company will go through enough cheese to top more than 100,000 pizzas.