It’s football season, and with the World Cup in full swing, you’re in for a month of endless football talk. Depending on your feelings about ‘the beautiful game’, it could be a chance to bond with your boys or make tracks with the man in your life (and his closest sporting friends). You could impress them by attempting to learn the off-side rule … although … pro tip … nobody’s gets the off-side rule. Not even the ref understands the off-side rule.
Or you could take a simpler approach and dazzle them with your beer-fetching and culinary skills. Of course with 32 teams and multiple matches every day, it adds up to a lot of cooking. Even if you reserve your kitchen treats to weekend nights and big games, it’s bound to get to you by Week 3, and that’s if you’ll last that long. Plus, you have time zones to worry about. All matches air from 8pm to 4am Aussie time.
Once in a while, when you’re really inspired – or maybe when the Socceroo’s are playing – you can rustle up a meal from scratch. But the rest of the time, you can trust in ‘old reliable’, your local pizza place menu. With so many matches this season, you can probably try every item on their menu, and every pizza place in your area. It’s hard to get bored with pizza, but with a total of 60 games, you’ll come close. Here are some ideas to keep things interesting.
Very few fans watch all the games. Sometimes, the schedule is inconvenient, though with all matches falling at night in Australia, you can keep up if you’re willing to forego sleep for a month. Either way, you can base your pizza options on the team you support, or on the team that’s playing. Since you’ll be watching (or cooking for) the game in groups, you could buy half-and-half pizzas, or just buy an equal number of each.
Lots of the qualifying nations have trademark pizza flavours. And many Aussie pizzerias serve Italian, American, Mexican, or Aussie pizzas. If the menu doesn’t have an overt national name, you could look through the toppings and pick a pizza that has the right colours. For example, Pizza Margherita is said to have been invented in honour of Margherita, Italy’s Queen Consort. The ingredients are tomato, mozzarella, and basil to represent the red, white, and green of the Italian flag.
Another option is to target country-specific ingredients like Greek yoghurt, Spanish onions, Portuguese/ Spanish sausage (chorizo), or Kalamata olives. Greece didn’t qualify for the World Cup, but Spain and Portugal did, so those are options. If your pizzeria makes custom orders, you can ask for a specified list of toppings that symbolise a particular team for you.
If you’re a brand -specific kind of fan, you may be more interested in individual players than their national team, and thanks to Google, Siri, and Alexa, the info you need is just a voice-command away. Find out your favourite player’s pizza of preference and order it when their country is playing. Messi, Suarez, and Ronaldo are all said to be pizza fans, so dig a little for their ideal topping choice and go with that.
Winner buys, loser pays
Because the season is ongoing, you could make your pizza routine a little more competitive. Around the world, fortunes (and wives …?) are lost betting on football games. But instead of betting cash, bet with pizza. Make predictions based on winners, scorers, and stats, getting as broad or detailed as you like.
If your predictions are right and your team wins, you get to pick the pizza flavour for the next game, and the loser foots the bill. The winning gambler could also earn free drinks, since the pizza benefits everyone and isn’t exactly a personal victory. You could also ‘punish’ the loser by getting him or her to make the dip.