The Changing Face of Sports-Watching Food

The Changing Face of Sports-Watching Food
From, by Nevin Barich

A few weeks ago, it broke my heart to have to say goodbye to a few dear friends.

Goodbye pizza.

Goodbye chips and salsa.

Goodbye mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings.

No, I’m not giving up these foods to cater to a new diet. Nor am I actually giving up on these foods at all. But after the events that took place at my modest Los Angeles-area home on May 2, it’s clear to me that we have reached the end of a fast-food era.

That fateful spring night, I had some friends over for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match and the cuisine I served was your typical sporting event fare: Pizza, fried cheese, and chicken wings brought via delivery from my local Pizza Hut; chips and salsa purchased from a nearby convenience store; and of course, various sodas and beer. It was a spread that had served me well through years of hosting the watching of sporting events at my house, from the Super Bowl to the NBA Finals to major boxing pay-per-views.

But that night, I noticed a distinct change. Whereas before my guests would be thrilled at this kind of food and fill their plates, this time I was met with polite smiles and comments of “No thanks, I’m not hungry,” and “Oh I already ate beforehand,” and “Do you by chance have any hummus?”

That’s right: hummus. For a boxing match. I never thought I’d see the day.

I mean, as a food and beverage analyst, I’m well aware of the changing trend toward, healthier, organic and fresher food items. I just didn’t think we had reached the point where this trend would permeate in the holiest of holy areas of fast food: the watching of a major sporting event.

But alas, here we are. It’s happening. And just to confirm my loss, the day after the fight, I spoke with my brother-in-law, who lives in Boston and hosted his own fight party. I asked him what he served. His party menu:

Grilled organic steak
Sauteed organic vegetables
Hummus and crackers
Baked chips
Flavored water
Assorted wines

The spread, according to him, was a rousing success. Nevertheless, I had to ask one question: “No pizza or chips?” I asked.

He paused for a moment, and then replied, “Those days are gone, Nev. Those days are gone.”

"The Changing Face of Sports-Watching Food" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.

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