Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl Rivalry Means Food Fights Galore

As you may know, the New England Patriots are heading to Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix against the New York Giants. While we get our fill with the boys of summer, t's not often that we get to see the Boston - New York rivalry played out in the winter months.

And as you know, with every Super Bowl comes the Super Bowl party. Some folks go all-out, partying and eating all day long. Others are happy to just plunk down in an armchair for the game, with some munchies by their side. Whatever your style, there's a stark difference between Boston and New York cuisine.

In fact, today's Boston Globe had a pair of articles that waged a food fight between the rival cities. On the Boston side, we've got Sheryl Julian, who blogs at Dishing, claiming Our roast beef and claims rule. And on the Gotham site, it's Ed Levine of Serious Eats and Ed Levine Eats (how original!) who boldly states: You can't beat our pizza.

Julian waxes poetic about the seashore and the farmland of New England, and how we hearty souls have made ample use of both in our cuisine. She says the lobsters and oysters found off our shores are second to none, and then she gets going on our ice cream. Worth a nod here are her words about a favorite of mine:

Fried clams deserve a moment of glory. These are uniquely ours - round clam bellies that are crisp and golden, sprinkled with salt, heaped in a box, and consumed leaning against the car in a hot, crummy parking lot filled with gas fumes. Drive to Woodman's in Essex or the Clam Box in Ipswich and torture yourself with the lines; or go to Essex Seafood or J.T. Farnham's, both in Essex; or discover your own dive.
Mmm-mmm! Makes me want to clam on over and pay Harry's a visit.

Let's head south for the other view.

Levine starts his column unabashed and in your face, just like a New Yorker: "I am in love with New York food." Nothing wrong with that. He talks about why New York is home to some of the greatest food, with a set of very convincing facts: immigrants, chefs and artisans descended upon the city in droves and brought a variety of recipes, customs and flavors of their own.

Undoubtedly, New York is king of pizza, having started with Lombardi's Pizza over 100 years ago. The farther away you move from New York, the more it seems the population craves New York-style pizza. And Levine goes on to say that we have the Eastern European immigrants to thank for "the holy trinity of pastrami, bagels and smoked fish." He finishes by talking about the mind-boggling and mouth watering array of sandwiches that can be found on nearly every corner.

Levine ends with a quote that's worthy of both cities:
[The] foodscape is much like the residents of this town and the city itself: full of heart, soul, character, passion, and generosity of spirit. And that will be true no matter who wins the Super Bowl.

Hear, hear. Now let's get out there and eat!

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