Has your World Cup fever reached such a fever pitch (Ah-ha! A football/soccer joke!) that you are looking to increase your action through fantasy World Cup sports?
Well, feel free to join any and all of the following leagues!
Over at Dave’s Football Blog, he’s got a prize for the winner of his league:
Yes, it’s time for the Dave’s Football Blog World Cup Fantasy League, in which you, potential fantasy manager, will get $100M to spend on 15 players competing in the World Cup. Put together the most productive side, handle the transfer market well from round to round, and amass the most points, and you could win an honest-to-goodness soccer scarf from the nation or club (or blog) of your choice.*
The Sports Section at New York Magazine (home to newlywed and author, Will Leitch) are giving away the opportunity to write for their column:
Perhaps you read about The Sports Section’s World Cup Predictor Pool last week and thought to yourself, Obviously, I’m going to sign up, but I can’t make my picks until the first referee assignments are announced. Fair enough. But those assignments have since been released, so now there’s no excuse not to join The Sports Section’s World Cup Predictor Pool — the winner of which, we’ll remind you, gets a free post to write about whatever they’d like. Click here to sign up.
Don’t worry if you just pick a bunch of random players. That’s how most people fill out American football fantasy leagues. Are you running a league? Let me know and I’ll add you to the post. People can take a crash course on players in 24 hours, right?
Today, in The Football Foodie World Cup: Group G – Côte d’Ivoire, Portugal, North Korea and Brazil! Which means even more on my favorite topic, South American Sandwiches!
To the voting mobile!
Côte d’Ivoire – Aloko
Fried plantains and bananas are found all over Western Africa, but Côte d’Ivoire is known for its especially good produce. Slice ripe to very ripe plantains and fry in hot oil until crispy then sprinkle with a small touch of salt.
You can also duct tape unripe plantains to both sides of your head and pretend to be the mascot for the Côte d’Ivoire national team, the elephant.
Quick fact about the Côte d’Ivoire team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
Striker (and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influentual People in the World for his humanitarian work ) Didier Drogba fractured his forearm last week in a friendly against Japan, but the Elephants are hopeful he’ll be able to return if the squad goes far in the tournament.
Exotic food from Côte d’Ivoire that the rest of us would probably toss:
Bushmeats, typically chimpanzees and great apes, are still illegally hunted for consumption.
Other awesome snack from Côte d’Ivoire:
Avocado soup and avocado with groundnuts (peanuts) salad.
Portugal – Vinho do Porto
The Portuguese are not known for having much street fare cuisine, but they are notable for their namesake sweet fortified wine that ends their typically lengthy dining experience. If you have never tried port and are scared of investing in an expensive bottle, (some vintage ports needs to be aged for decades before decanting and at a couple hundred bottles a bottle, best leave those to the experts), Fonseca’s Bin 37 is one of the safest and well-regarded ports you can buy on a reasonable budget.
Quick fact about the Portuguese team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
Another strong favorite to win the Cup, Portugal is home to one of the greatest and highest paid players — on and off the pitch — in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. (This is when you’re allowed to use Google Image Search for all the Ronaldo topless shots you can find. Don’t worry straight guys, he’s usually hanging out a topless beach with yet another girlfriend, so there is something in there for you too.)
Exotic Portuguese food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Dobrada, a tripe stew made with white beans, vegetables, and well, tripe.
Other awesome Portuguese snack:
Twice a year when sardines are fresh, you can find them at street side stands. (Awesome if you like sardines.)
North Korea – Gyung-dan (or Gyungdan), Sweet Rice Balls Filled With Red Bean Paste
North Korean food tends to be more traditional, rice noodles and dough, and not as spicy as their neighbors below the 38th Parallel. Sweet rice balls can be found at Korean markets everywhere, and can be easily made at home.
(Gyungdan purchased at Cake Salon Bosco in Los Angeles.)
Unfortunately, we do not know enough about the current food situation in North Korea. When their economy collapsed in the 1990′s, 1-3 million (estimates vary from outside observers and North Korean officials) people died of either of starvation or premature death due to poor nutrition. A similar food crisis occurred just a few years ago and while some international aid was able to get through, reports continue to leak out North Korea about populace often reduced to foraging and eating the bark off of trees to survive. (Meanwhile, dictator and Communist Party leader Kim Jong Il is noted gourmand who spares no expense when to comes to travel and food.)
Quick fact about the North Korea team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
This is only the second time the North Korea has appeared at the World Cup, and in their previous showing at the 1966 tournament, they made it to the quarterfinals by upsetting powerhouse Italy.
Exotic North Korea food that the rest of us would probably toss:
In the face of starvation, none of us would turn down tree bark.
Other awesome North Korean snack:
Traditional buckwheat noodle bowls with broth. Korean noodles tend to share more in common with Italian vermicelli than other Asian rice noodles.
Brazil – Sanduíche de Calabresa
These smoked sausage sandwiches are ubiquitous at roadside stands and football games all over Brazil. By the end of the sandwich, the soft bread is soaked with the juice of the grilled meat, cheese and tomatoes. Perfect.
Quick fact about the Brazilian team you need to know so you don’t look like an idiot this summer:
The number one team in the world, Brazil has appeared in every World Cup tournament and has won the trophy five times. (Italy has won four times, Germany three times.) If it’s a World Cup, the Brazilians are expected to win.
Exotic Brazilian food that the rest of us would probably toss:
Buchada, which is goat organ meat and intestines stuffed in goat’s stomach and then cooked.
Other awesome Brazillan snack:
Coconut water out of a coconut for all your caipirinha caused hangovers.
Comments and voting
We haven’t featured much alcohol in the Football Foodie World Cup. Could Portugal move ahead just for that reason alone? (Well, the booze and the topless photos?)