The World Cup of Food
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The World Cup of Food

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The World Cup of Food

The World Cup allows countries from all over the world to come together, set aside their differences and compete in the most popular sport on earth—soccer. Filled with surprises and controversy, emotions run high as teams from across the globe duke it out for the World Cup championship title.

But what if these countries competed for this title by another means? Something else that everyone loves… like food.

Think about it. The top chefs from each country match up against each other and prepare their best meals. The food is then judged by objective experts in the industry to determine which country has the best food in the world. It would be a huge hit. Food makes the world go round, and everyone can relate to this type of competition in one way or another. And besides futbol, what makes a country more proud than their traditional delicious cuisines?

So, after a lot of research, I came up with my own food based bracket using the group stages of this year’s World Cup. Learning about the food in each of these countries and relating it to my own experiences with similar foods, I came up with the most logical group stage winners I could conjure up.      

Round of 16.

Continuing on to the second round--Some of these matches were obvious choices and not really worth mentioning. (No offense to Russia and England-- both wonderful countries-- but I really don’t think their food stands a chance) Other matches in this round however were close calls.

For Example...

Mexico vs. Chile.

 Although this is a close call with similar Spanish and seafood influences, Mexican steak quesadillas with fresh guacamole wins over Chilean beef empanadas and chacarero chilenos (avocado and steak sandwiches). 

Spain vs. Brazil.

Spain and Brazil find themselves in a similar situation. With subtle similarities in their influences and cooking styles, these two countries make for a tight matchup. After an intense grudge match, Spanish paella beats out Brazilian feijoada (black bean stew) and moqueca de camarao (shrimp stew). 

Italy vs. Japan.

Italian cuisine is undeniably delicious, with varieties of seafood, pastas, pizzas, meats, and desserts. Even still, the Japanese give the Italians a close match with tempura, ramen and their glorious gift to the world—sushi. In the end though, the Italians leave with the win.   

Quarterfinals.   

Germany vs. Argentina.

Germany gives Argentina a run for their money with over 1500 different types of wurst (sausage), bratwurst (fried sausage) and sauerbraten (pot roast). But at the end of the day, Argentinian empanadas and chorizos (spicy sausages) bring this proud South American country to victory.             

Spain vs. Italy.

The Spanish are confident in their paella and tapas, but they know they have a tough match ahead of them against the Italians. The Spanish chefs cook up some of their best bean stew and pescado frito (fried fish). But after a long, hard fight, the judges give Italy the victory when they taste their savory bruschetta followed by linguine with clam sauce.              

France vs. U.S.A. The French impress the judges with their boeuf bourguignon-- a stew made of beef braised in red wine. And their chocolate soufflé-- a crispy chocolate crust with soft creamy chocolate filling. The U.S.A. responds strongly though with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of stuffed turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. The judges cannot resist. U.S.A. advances to the semifinals.               

Greece vs. Mexico. Even with their baklava, spanakopita and gyro platters (lamb), the Greeks are no match for Mexican tacos, spicy flounder and chimichangas.             

Semifinals.   

Argentina vs. Italy. 

The Argentinians have managed to beat out German sausage and Swiss chocolate to get to the semi finals against Italy. In this tough match up, the Argentinian chefs start off with some matambre-- a slice of meat rolled around a filling, including spinach, onions, sliced carrots and hard boiled egg. This dish comes form the phrase, “to kill one’s hunger,” so you know it hits the spot.

Argentina then tries to keep the Italians on their toes, mixing it up with their authentic style of thick doe pizza. The judges are fascinated with this bold tactic. Argentinian pizza though does not compare to the Italian chefs’ pizza topped with fresh mushrooms and salami. And when another Italian cook gives the judges a taste of her veal marsala, Italy makes their way to the World Cup finals.

               
Mexico vs. U.S.A.

Mexican chefs know they have a tough matchup against the United States. The Mexicans cook up the best chicken enchiladas and shrimp fajitas they’ve ever made. The judges are impressed. In return, the United States throws everything they can back at Mexico. With their wide variety, the U.S. chefs stir up some North Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, New England seafood chowder, and Maryland crab soup. To top it off, a southwestern American chef cooks up some Tex-Mex style fajitas with vegetables, beans and rice. The judges are impressed with the Americans efforts to beat the Mexicans at their own game. After extended analysis, the judges give the United States the victory, and the U.S.A. heads to the World Cup finals. Murica.              

Finals.   

U.S.A. vs. Italy.

The championship match, U.S.A. vs. Italy, is an epic battle—a competition between the melting pot of the world and a country that may have the most influential cuisine known to man. With immigrants from around the world, the American cooks have mastered their unique takes on cuisines from across the globe. Not to mention, since our nation’s birth 200 some years ago, America has developed several of its own authentic cuisines. North Carolina barbecue, New England seafood, Maryland crab cakes, Cajun style seafood and New York and Chicago style pizza to name of few.             

Even with all this, the Italian cooks never seem to run out of delectable meals to share with the judges. America might have its own version of Italian food, but it is no match for authentic amatriciana, carbonara and lasagna. And even with our tradition of fusion and variety, the judges cannot resist the Naples Pizza, Sicilian seafood and superior ice cream (gelato) presented by the Italian chefs. 

And with that, the Italians beat the Americans in the closest match of the 2014 World Cup of Food. “Forse il prossimo anno,” a pompous Italian cook tells the despondent American chefs… “Maybe next year.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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