Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 - Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2010 is about to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will be attended by dignitaries including the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and will be watched by a global TV audience of more than 500 millions.

Before I get myself comfortable to watch the festivities and the opening match of the World Cup between South Africa and Mexico which will follow, it is time to formally announce the beginning of the Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010. In so doing, I would simply like to spend a little time looking in general at what this blog is going to feature over the course of the next calendar month and how all who visit it can make the most of both World Cups and have as much fun from the procedures - on the pitch and in the kitchen - as possible.

The FIFA World Cup is often thought of simply as a sports' tournament. In truth, however, it is much, much more: it is mostly about the football, yes; but it is also about a coming together and celebration of different peoples and cultures. I was privileged to attend the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany and even although I very often did not understand the nature of the celebrations of the different peoples - never mind their language - it was wonderful to sample the friendly atmosphere generated by so many different nationalities coming together in one place for the purpose of enjoying themselves as much as possible.

Starting tomorrow, Saturday 12th June, it will be my great pleasure to introduce a number of cooks and food writers from around the world, who will during the course of the tournament share with all who visit this blog their culinary talents and creations. I will include this feature three or four times each week, for the duration of the tournament. I also have a number of other ideas which I hope to incorporate, all geared towards enjoying this magnificent global celebration period to the full.

So how can you get in to the spirit of the World Cup? How can you use the occasion to sample different cultures and cuisines, broaden your knowledge and have a great deal of fun at the same time?

As stated above, there will be a number of dishes shared here which you can have a go at making at home. Why not, however, host your own World Cup Party and come up with your own, innovative creations? You may well choose to host such an event when your own country is playing in a match and have the food and drink as you cheer your team on - that will no doubt be by far the most popular option. Why not, however, broaden your horizons and branch out in to the unknown...?

A few nights ago, I decided to cook a dish for one of the lesser known countries in a culinary sense which are participating in the FIFA World Cup. I picked a number of candidate countries and drew one at random - Ghana. I then simply searched Google for Ghanaian recipes for which I could obtain the principal ingredients and cooked a disk called Shoko, which is a beef and spinach stew. It was delicious!

Why not therefore look at the fixtures for the FIFA World Cup and select a match which is taking place on a night convenient for hosting your party, which features two countries with which you are unfamiliar with their national cuisine? Google is a wonderful tool in this respect and you may be surprised what tasty recipes you can find simply by searching the name of the country along with the words, "Food," or, "Recipes." There is no need to prepare anything complicated - you may simply wish to prepare a buffet style meal, which can be enjoyed by all as you watch the match.

What is a party, of course, without a drink? Even if you do not wish to incorporate alcoholic drinks, a lot of fun can be had preparing non-alcoholic fruit cocktails. I am one of those people who does enjoy a beer watching the match, however, so I spent some time last night browsing the beer aisle of my local supermarket, looking for unusual brews.

I found a great many candidates from around the world which I will sample as time goes on but for the opening night of the tournament, I could not resist the quaintly named English Ale, "Piddle in the Hole." The beer is produced by the Wyre Piddle Brewery and I will share with you at a later time what I thought of the brew.

Finally, today, I would wish you all a fun-filled time for the duration of the World Cup and although only one nation can be happy at the end of the FIFA event, I hope that people across the globe can get involved in and enjoy the Unofficial World Cup of Food 2010 to the full.

1 comment:

  1. How cool that you tried that dish from Ghana! I actually love that idea, and may take you up on that challenge. :) Looking forward to seeing all the different recipes!