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World Cup Fever

07/10/2010

I’ve never been much of a sports fan, though I did grow up loving baseball. But as an adult, I don’t follow anything. That doesn’t mean I can’t watch the Super Bowl or the World Series without enjoying or understanding the game, but I don’t track any major league sports.

I can’t say that I’m really excited about the World Cup, but its hard not to pay attention to this never-ending competition. It feels like the playoffs have been going on forever. And they have. As with the Olympics, the global scale of this event suckers me in.

Tomorrow, we’re having some folks over to watch the final between Spain and the Netherlands, so we’ve been working on an appropriate menu. No matter what we choose, sausage and potatoes are involved. We considered paella for the Spanish entree, but west coast, this is a brunch-time event, and I can’t see making paella at 10 a.m. Ditto any Dutch fish options. No seafood before noon. It’s just wrong.

A friend is making a traditional Dutch waffle cookie, so I think we’ll skip the obvious apple cake and doughnuts. As much as I love a fresh doughnut, I’m not too eager to deal with a pot of hot oil. We could stop at the bakery tomorrow—which isn’t out of the question—but I’d probably lean toward the apple cake, if anything.

Meanwhile, our menu so far is meatballs, sausages, and gouda on the Dutch side, with the aforementioned waffle cookies and possibly an apple cake. On the Spanish side, we’ll have chorizo, paprika potatoes, grilled asparagus with red peppers, and sangria. With so much meat on the menu, we thought a salad was in order and opted for our house-favorite manchego salad, which spotlights the tasty Spanish cheese in a California-style arugula mix. Coffee and champagne will round out the brunch beverages, and we’ll probably offer a few chocolates to further represent the Dutch.

All this for a 90-minute game that will be over in a flash. And the only time to pop anything in the oven will be during halftime. FIFA really needs to start adding breaks in the game play. How is a hostess supposed to scoot out to the kitchen without a commercial break? Clearly, the world of soccer is not concerned about those of us eating along at home.

Today, we’re not cooking anything thematic, just watching Germany and Uruguay battle for third place. I’m rooting for Germany—or, more accurately, I’m rooting for Paul. If Uruguay wins today, the losers will have octopus on the menu.

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