Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympic Tradition

I love the Olympics.  No, I really, really love the Olympics.  Ever since I was a child and the Olympics came every four years with back to back winter and summer ceremonies, to more recent years when they've spaced them out to two year intervals, I have always looked forward to the Olympics... more than my own birthday in fact.  There's something special about watching thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries come together in what is usually respectable and fair competition.  I have no biased when it comes to summer or winter games.  I usually enjoy the summer games more, but I get a thrill out of watching almost every Olympic sport, even when I wouldn't spend a moment of my life otherwise watching those sports, when it comes to the Olympics, it's all fair game.

Outside of cheering for the United States and watching them (usually) kick ass, I really love seeing all the cultures come together, I love watching the Opening Ceremonies hosted by various nations and seeing bits and pieces of their cultures permeating the world's viewership and hopefully educating audiences.  I absolutely adore international cuisines, more so than most American dishes, I must admit.  I also grew up in a traditional Armenian family, and the flavors of the Middle East are prevalent on my palate.  I'm blessed to have grown up experiencing the best of both worlds: the "freedom" of being an American (I use the word freedom loosely at this point) and the added culture of being raised by immigrants.

I have traveled a lot in my life, both in the United States and in the world, and I'm so blessed to have those experiences.  Not only have I seen many landmarks and art treasures with my own eyes (priceless and unforgettable), but I have experienced food far and wide.  I'm no Anthony Bourdain, but I can say that I've had a pretty lucky life when it comes to world travel.  I know people who have never left the country, and that deeply saddens me.  There is so much to experience in the world, and even if you can find a traditional Italian, French, or Thai restaurant in your city, it's just not the same as being in the heart of that world, hearing the language spoken around you as you eat, and knowing you're dining in the birthplace of some of your favorite dishes. 

With that said, I hope you're all in the Olympic spirit!  I have decided as my ode to this wonderful tradition, I will attempt to the best of my abilities to highlight various dishes inspired by foreign countries that may or may not participate in the Olympics :) In the end, food is universal.  Here's my take on sangria, product of Spain and glorious accompaniment to just about anything (including watching the Olympics).

Blood Orange and Strawberry Sangria
It's also red for Valentine's Day ;)
Serves 8

4 cups red wine (cheap is fine, if not preferable)
1 750mL (25.4 fl oz) bottle sparkling apple cider
1 blood orange, thinly sliced
1/2 lb strawberries, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 cup ice

Mix everything together in a pretty pitcher.  Refrigerate as long as you can bear to not drink it.  The longer you wait, the more the fruit and wine with permeate each other.  Although if you wait too long, the fizz-factor will fade.  Turn on the Olympics, pour yourself a glass, sit back and enjoy.  Go USA!


Lucine said...

Mmmmmm!! Where'd you find the beautiful blood orange? Whole foods??

Mary Kabakian said...

I read your Blog every time you make a new entry, and I absolutely enjoy reading every single one of them, even though I don't usually write comments. I encourage everyone who reads your Blog, to write comments, because your entries really deserve the best comments...

Victoria K. said...

Yes, they are from Whole Foods :) And thanks, Mom! You're the best! haha

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