Major league ball park menus acknowledge human dietary requirements with the inclusion of a solitary salad. It stands out among the hot dogs, hamburgers, and submarine sandwiches. Cultural diversity is represented, if poorly, by French fries, pizza, calzones, nachos, bratwurst, and Italian beef sandwiches. If an ethnic recipe can’t be fried, buttered, salted, sweetened, or served with melted cheese or on white bread, then it isn’t all-American. Recognition is widely distributed, but respect for authenticity is not.
Must fans of cultural integrity, adequate nutrition, and educated palates dine out before the big game? Not at all – stadium restaurants might even draw more fans by offering authentic ethnic snacks and street foods. What could be a better introduction to the all-American pastime of baseball than snacks like mother and father used to make? Polish pierogi, Jewish bagels, Thai spring rolls, English pasties, Lebanese hummus, Greek spinach pie, Israeli falafels, and Mexican burritos are all filling, delicious, and nutritious. If that weren’t enough, they are finger foods that can be decorously enjoyed in public according to cherished American sports fan custom.
Gourmet season ticket holders could feel comfortable in the company of two-fisted eaters chowing down behind home plate. Parents could dismiss their cognitive dissonance about the pairing of healthy athletics with the consumption of fatty, salty, and high calorie snacks. Families could enjoy a picnic repast that rivals Sunday dinner. Fans might attend games to sample novel and appealing dishes. People who attend to drink too much beer might be outnumbered. Dating couples and sales executives with clients might choose baseball over ordinary al fresco dining. American culture might begin the support of healthy eating needed to bring down the rate of obesity.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2011