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A sports fan’s food guide

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-06-2017 Avantika Bhuyan

Photo: iStockphoto

Meat pies

(Australia Football League, held in stadiums across the country)

You know that sports fans Down Under take their meat pies seriously when you come across bar graphs and charts on countless websites analysing the long association of the savoury snack with football—evaluating it according to gender, geography and income brackets. According to Roy Morgan data mentioned in an article published on Beefcentral.com, “Footy and pies are a match made in heaven, with supporters’ level of involvement in their chosen code also having some bearing on their penchant for pies.” It is believed that the meat pie hit Australian shores with the first ships that arrived from England in 1787. And in the past 100 years or so, traditional pie makers such as Balfours, Vili’s and Sargents have been supplying their pies to stadiums, ensuring that it remains a signature football snack.

Pimento cheese sandwiches

(Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, US)

The Masters, one of the four major championships in professional golf, first held in 1934, is famous for its trademark pimento sandwiches, which have been served at the tournament since the 1960s. According to sports writer Andy Bull in a 2016 story in The Guardian: “The Masters pimento cheese must be the most famous sandwich in all of sport. Like the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, it has become an essential part of the experience.” It was a simple sandwich made by a local couple in their home kitchen till the management hired Nick Rangos, who made the pimento cheese recipe famous among all the patrons of the course. When Augusta decided to replace him with Ted Godfrey in 1998, Rangos refused to hand over his recipe. Godfrey researched for months before he finally made a breakthrough and created an approximation to the original.

Photo: iStockphoto

Mint julep

(Kentucky Derby, Louisville, US)

The Kentucky Derby in the US has been held at Churchill Downs every year since 1875. And there is no better way to get into the spirit of this high-octane event than with a chilled mint julep. This signature Derby cocktail was designated the official drink in 1939, though it was popular earlier too. “The mint julep has probably been with us since the very first Kentucky Derby,” Chris Goodlett of the Kentucky Derby Museum said in an interview to CNN earlier this year. “It ties together two of Kentucky’s most well-known industries: horse-racing and bourbon.”

Afternoon tea

(Test matches at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, England)

Loyalists believe that those who haven’t savoured the dainty finger sandwiches filled with salmon and cucumber or egg and cream at Lord’s, have truly missed out. To watch a great game of cricket and enjoy a spot of tea at the legendary Long Room is an unmatched experience. Started in the late 19th century, the afternoon tea ritual at Lord’s continues even today. It may come as a surprise to many that the afternoon tea break during Test cricket is not an English invention and was actually imported from Australia, where it had become standard in the Tests of 1881-82. The trend caught on in England and the afternoon tea was factored in as a designated break in the game.

Photo:iStockphoto

Raclette

(Apres-ski, Switzerland)

Raclette forms an integral part of traditional apres-ski menus across Switzerland. Whether you are participating in professional Alpine ski tournaments or just testing your skills with snowshoes, you need to unwind with a glass of wine and this beautiful Swiss peasant dish. It is believed that the raclette was commonly eaten by shepherds and farmers way back in the 13th century, by melting a block of cheese over fire. It continues to be eaten the same way, but it has moved from the rustic table to the echelons of fine-dining in the ski resort towns that dot the Swiss Alps.

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