The Football Foodie World Cup: Group C – England, Algeria, United States and Slovenia
I thought long and hard about picking the worst foods I could find for the non-US countries in Group C to guarantee a win for the Stars and Stripes. I searched high and low for Borvil, the beef stock/extract they drink at football games all over England just so we could laugh about how silly the Brits are for drinking beef juice. I considered making brains for Algeria, then realized I really didn’t want to make brains and I really do like dates. To be honest, most of the Slovenian recipes I found were pretty bland to begin with, so why pick on poor Slovenia when their snack food was already lacking?
Honestly? I think we could pick the best cuisines from any of the other countries in Group C and put them in a battle against a great American burger and still win.
Today, Group C- England, Algeria, United States and Slovenia for Battle Northern Hemisphere in The Football Foodie World Cup.
England – Beans on Toast
With the time difference between the US and South Africa, especially out here in California, I imagine this won’t be the last time this month I eat this British staple of toast, a little butter and Heinz Baked Beanz. Cheese optional. It’s better than it sounds. (For British food.)
Quick fact about the English team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The English haven’t won the World Cup in 44 years and this year’s squad is going into the tourney as a heavy favorite — sorry, Queen’s English, favourite — to win it all. As an American, it’s confusing to see Beckham traveling with the team when he’s unable to play (he’s out with a ruptured Achilles heel), but just think of Becks as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to England’s Three Lions. Or at least that’s how it will be spun in the press, as it’s Wayne Rooney’s club now. (For the record, three years after I first made the comparison and I still believe Rooney looks like Bob’s Big Boy.)
Exotic English food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Jellied eels. Eels that have been chopped up, put in a bit of stock and then chilled until they look like eels in Jello.
Other awesome English snack:
Fish and chips. Tyrell’s potato chips, which I can never resist buying whenever I see them in stores here in the US.
Algeria – Sweet Dates
Algeria is one of the world’s largest producers of dates, mostly the Deglet Nour — or “queen of the dates” — variety which also grows in abundance in California. To make sweet dates, make a roux of butter and flour and then add cardamom. Serve with fresh dates. Excellent with strong coffee.
A word of warning; every time you make this dish someone will inevitably quote INDIANA JONES. There is nothing you can do to prevent it, so best let them get through it and move on.
Quick fact about the Algerian team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The Algerian national team was violently attacked in Cairo while traveling to play the Egyptian team in a qualification match last November, which led to some Algerian fans ransacking several Egyptian businesses operating in Algeria and security forces being deployed to protect the Egyptian embassy. (Just in the past few weeks, FIFA has ruled that the Egyptian team will have to host two of its 2014 qualifying games outside of Cairo.)
Exotic Algerina food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Shakhshūkha, a spicy lasagna with calf or lambs brains.
Other awesome Algeria snack:
Couscous is the national dish, but hardly seems like a football food.
United States – Hamburger
What a beautiful looking burger. Just looking at this hamburger makes me hear all of these songs in my head all at once.
- Born In The USA
- If I Had A Hammer
- America – Neil Diamond
- Pink Houses
- Living In America
- America – Nas
- America, Fuck Yeah
- Route 66
Although I don’t recommend actually listening to all those songs at the same time.
Quick fact about the US team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
Today Sam’s Army held it’s collective breath today after forward (and young great hope for US soccer) Jozy Altidore injuried his ankle. The x-rays were clear and he was was diagnosed with a mild sprain, but this could be a continuing story as we get closer to the opening kick off against England. Look for team caption Carlos Bocanegra and leading US scorer Landon Donovan to make amends for the team’s early exit in 2006 after a solid 2002 showing. (And we don’t talk about the 1998 World Cup mess in polite company.)
Exotic American food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Possum, raccoon and squirrel. Don’t feel bad if none of those animals sound tasty. Most Americans don’t eat them either. Anything triple-fried at a state fair. SPAM.
Other awesome American snack:
Nachos. Glorious nachos.
Slovenia – Sirovi štruklji
The Slovenians have more than 60 types of štruklji, which are similar to a pierogi or a dumpling but with a thicker dough. They also can have the fillings blended into the dough, as seen above with the fast “sirovi štruklji” or “quick cottage cheese dumplings.” Generally they are served with buttered, toasted breadcrumbs, onions and sour cream. Plenty of recipes for sirovi štruklji can be found here at kulinarika.net. (You’ll just need to run the site through the Google translator and convert the metric measurements, but that hardly seems like a hassle when you’re looking for doughy cottage cheese snack.)
Quick fact about the Slovenian team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
Even at long 250/1 odds to win the World Cup, the Slovenian team is hoping to finish second in the group and move on to the knock-out round, (which easily could happen if the US team falls apart like they did in ’06). LA Laker Sasha Vujacic is from Slovenia. (Yes, so is Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih, but we’re only talking about players still playing ball at this time of year.) And please, do not confuse Slovenia with Slovakia.
Exotic Slovenian food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Dormice Stew, a stew made of mice.
Other awesome Slovenian snack:
Potica, rolled cakes filled with typically walnuts.
Voting and comments:
It was tough picking a food to represent America without dipping into cliches about DoubleDowns and beets. Was there something else that should have been selected for the US?
Burger from the always awesome Oaks Gourmet. If you would like a burger recipe, check out my Friday Football Foodie post for Mini Burgers from the ’09 NFL season.