Now that soccer is becoming an American sport, it is fitting that the food that goes with it is American too.
It used to be when the FIFA World Cup of Soccer rolled around almost no one in the United States noticed. Die-hard fans like myself felt as though we were watching in exile, small groups of true believers huddled around a T.V. in someone’s living room listening to commentary in Spanish or Italian for a whole month while the rest of the nation went about its business, indifferent to the convulsions of the rest of humanity.
These days sports bars on Long Island are packed with fans of all stripes with national colors and face paint screaming their lungs out for the national team their immigrant parents came from or, increasingly, for the United States, which has fought its way to the knockout rounds and faces Belgium on Tuesday July 1 at 4 p.m. in a do-or-die clash.
Your Mother’s House in Garden City Park is one of the top local spots for World Cup watching and eating. With a cavernous 10,000 square feet, plenty of bar and table seating, and more than 45 HD televisions, including one that is more than 20 feet wide, you can see every second clearly (perhaps more clearly than some of the referees).
And as I found when I attended a recent U.S. Game Day fundraiser for Samba360 — a nonprofit that gets used soccer equipment from New York to needy kids around the world — beef sliders with cheese, wings and personal pizzas are perfect World Cup fare. Hundreds in red, white and blue chose from 30 different beers and a menu packed with updated American classics like Peter Luger Sauce Burger, the Lucy Liu two-handed sandwich (ahi tuna), pulled pork and ribs and personal pizzas and proceeded to bite nails, bury heads in hands, shake fists, holler, jump up and down and hug complete strangers just as fans of the Beautiful Game have been doing the world over since the late 1800s.
Soccer, welcome to America. And America, welcome to the world. Just don’t forget to bring the wings.
Your Mother’s House 2349 Jericho Turnpike Garden City Park, NY 11040
Phone: (516) 493-9030
Natalia de Cuba Romero was captain of the first Puerto Rico Women’s National Team for soccer. Find her simple recipes for sports spectating, entertaining and everyday meals at Hot, Cheap & Easy.
photo credit: AP Photo/Rock Scuteri