Nutritionist & Life Coach
Meeting all requirements to call myself so (i.e. none)
Published September 13th 2012
Wot food goze wif beer?
We always hear about food and wine, how Chablis goes perfectly with snails and Chardonnay with lobster. These days beer is also getting in on the act, in fact I recently downloaded a chart which broke down mains, cheeses and even desserts that accompany any one of 28 varieties of beer. I'd never thought of mixing a stout with foie gras before (and I probably won't again).
This all seemed a bit highfalutin to me though it did get me thinking about what makes the ideal accompaniment to washing down a few cold ones. My conclusion: there needs to be at least one of the following three components:
1. Grilled cheese 2. Spice 3. Salt
I narrowed it down to six cuisines/dishes
Mexican Billy Connelly once stated that all Mexican food is the same, it's just each dish is folded differently. The classical Mexican dishes certainly all involve a soft tortilla, refried beans, some form of salsa and (most importantly to the beer drinker) grilled cheese. One is never more inclined to rip into a bowl of nachos with one's bare hands than when one's inhibitions have been lowered by a fresh coldie. The removal of the requirement to use cutlery also negates the loss of manual dexterity that can be experienced when imbibing the brown brewski.
Fold lengthwise for a burrito...
The Parma Just because it's served in pubs doesn't necessarily make it the best beer accompaniment; especially these days with the rise of the gastro-pub where one is more likely to come across a Rhodesian parrot parfaised in jus on a bed of deconstructed sashimi than a good honest Beef & Guinnes pie.
One mainstay of the Melbourne pub scene however is the Chicken Parmagiana. I do recall one Bucks day/night I attended involved a score of us descending on a pub (for some reason I cannot recollect the name). Our order was not for roast duck or pan-seared salmon. It was 19 parmas and one cheeseburger. The parma has it all. A hormone riddled chicken breast, a sloppy tomato sauce, a layer of swine and that wonderful grilled cheese again. If you've never experienced a parma and a pot then get down to your local right now. I'm serious don't even finish this article; you're not missing much I can assure you.
Pizza I have quoted Dave Barry in a previous article (see my review of L'uccellinos Pizzeria). He has claimed that beer is mankind's greatest invention, complementing pizza much better than does the wheel. Indeed when a group of men have gathered to watch a sporting event and knock back a stubby or three it is a practical fait accompli that a number of pizzas will be ordered. Some idiot always orders the Hawaiian and then eats everyone else's selection leaving a pineapple riddled mess that doesn't quite fit anywhere in the fridge. If there is a wise man present (and by wise man I am referring to myself) he would have ordered extra anchovies on the Napoli and yea all will taste the salty delight and see that it is good and verily he is indeed wise. Or they will gag on the strange tasting sea creature and denounce him as a fool.
Pizza Pie pleases pilsner purveyors
Fish n Chips No grilled cheese present but a bunch of hot chips and flake deep fried in crispy beer batter could not be a better accompaniment to a cold lager - provided the chips have been coated liberally in salt and vinegar of course. With the tongue numbed by the cold of the beer and the brain by the alcohol therein, one requires these sharp flavours to properly send messages to the amygdala. Or something.
Once again no grilled cheese but it's the spice that does the job here: the heat that makes you guzzle that cold beer even more enthusiastically. A hearty, creamy, sloppy mess of meat, vegetables and spices, mopped up with roti or garlic naan is so much more fulfilling when accompanied by a creamy English ale. No doubt this has led to the rise of the curry house in Old Brittania and done more for Anglo-Indian relations than the sport of cricket.
Yes in order to stomach the thin sausages bought at your local supermarket, and indeed to prevent you from questioning just what the hell is in them, one must surely dull one's senses with beer. This also allows the host to blame the alcohol for the rash of NVD affecting their guests the next day.