Food & Beverage

Jan 1, 2018

ONE MAD SPORT

No one has invested as much in terms of time and originality on the creation of delicious foods destined for consumption in football stadiums – sometimes even cooked on its very parking lots – as Americans.

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By PABLO HERNANDEZ

While in Europe and other parts of the world people head to the stadiums just on time to watch the game and the local establishments serve little more than a few sandwich options and cold beer, in the United States the fans rush to it hours before the game so they can socialize with other fans and taste some of the delicacies that can only be found on this type of events, usually calorie loaded and tasty.

True, food trucks are starting to mark a presence on a stadium or other, but these still serve the same food that they would serve on a concert or in their day-to-day at the street or corner where they spend the rest of the week or the tourist season, so pigskin, pork and beef steak sandwiches and hot dogs pretty much sums up what we can find on most American stadiums – while in European stadiums the fans usually just look for beer, the larger and the coldest the pint, the best.

We took a look at some of the specimens created in the USA. Take as an example, the game between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs on October 6, 2017, witnessed the birth of "Natitude", thanks to a seller that is also a fan of the Nationals that decided to combine the name of his beloved team with "attitude" and created "Natitude", a smoked sausage and crab hamburger that also includes mac and cheese and crispy Virginia bacon, a delicacy that made many other fans, and certainly even a few players, salivating.

One of the innovations came about due to the need for portable food – given that many fans buy it on their way to their seat or when they return, on the way to their car – and it has a clear Asian vibe to it, "Bacon on a Stick". For practical purposes it's a thick slice of pig belly dully smoked and carefully trespassed by a shish kebab wooden stick and grilled over flames or in the oven glazed with spices. The options go from sweet to intolerably spicy, some people even call it "bacon candy" or "bacon lollypop", for exquisite tastes only.

On the Green Bay Packers we can find another specialty with Eastern roots, a kielbasa sausage, typical from Poland and Ukraine, served on a horse collar shaped bread on the style of the old days when horses pulled carriages. The sausage is covered in sauer crout and cheese, baked and covered with chips and fried onions, a nightmare for any cardiologist but it managed to place the Packers stadium on the gastronomic rout of the USA.

Still another hardly kosher creation, although it uses Jewish bagel dough in its baguettes, is the Bacon Blitz Bread also on the very same Packers stadium: the bagel baguettes are stuffed with three types of cheese curd, wrapped in 16 stripes of bacon and deep fried, being served with a tiny bit of melted cheese and a cup of mustard to dip it in. Yet again, highly caloric, delicious and easy to carry around.

At the San Diego Chargers stadium, someone tried to get their inspiration from Japanese cuisine to create a hot dog, besides the traditional beef sausage (yes, in the USA hot dogs are made of beef sausages, unlike the traditional pork on European lands) they added sea weeds, wasabi sauce, teriyaki sauce (used on Asian barbecue), mayonnaise, furikake (a mix of seeds, spices and grinded dried fish) and onions, here's the Sumo Dog.

On the home of the Dallas Cowboys, on other hand, they stick to the traditional rites of Texas, creating a mix between a burrito and a hamburger that goes by the name of Pambazo, whose tex-mex filling includes refried beans, potatoes, chorizo, Oaxaca cheese, lettuce slices and sour cream with a hot pepper sauce option. Summoning it up, with a little innovation and getting inspiration from traditional dishes from all over the world it's always possible to create something that turns into a success with any sports fan that might wish something more than to satiate its thirst.

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