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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Tuesday, October 23

The unique world of stadium food.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Hello, everyone!

It’s time for another ramble about food.

Ramble of the Day

With the National Football League currently doing its annual trip to Wembley Stadium, those with the power to have been attempting to replicate the American game day experience in London. Here’s how that mission is going:

I am no expert in NFL stadium food, but Darren Rovell makes it seem like this sort of thing does not exist in America. I totally believe that, because I’ve never seen anything like this obscenely long hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese.

More importantly, it doesn’t look remotely appetizing. I come with a hot take, and it is that I dislike hot dogs (blame my traumatizing elementary school cafeteria for this). I like macaroni and cheese a lot, but I have very particular tastes. I prefer it less creamy and a little more crunchy thanks to bread crumbs, and with plenty of vegetables. I cannot tell if that is ketchup or hot sauce on top, and I have differing opinions on both; ketchup is awful, and does not belong anywhere near macaroni and cheese, but hot sauce is more than appropriate for the situation.

Despite how unappealing I find that item, I actually really like stadium food. Granted, I don’t end up eating stadium food frequently; I tend to sit in press boxes when I’m in stadiums, so the food options are different. That’s probably part of the reason why I like stadium food so much — I don’t have to eat it all the time, and I don’t eat similar food frequently, so it’s always a bit of a special occasion for mostly unhealthy food.

Just about every sporting venue in America has the classic chicken tenders and french fries, but this very specific avenue lends itself well to creativity. You end up with sporting events like the U.S. Open, where one can enjoy kimchi tater tots and unique grilled cheese sandwiches in between tennis matches. Then there’s the stadium food culture of Major League Baseball, where they truly come up with some unique creations. Recently, the Atlanta Braves started serving a combination of potato, jalepeño pepper, bacon, and sausage.

For what it’s worth, this also does not look delicious. Yet, there is an art to this that the macaroni and cheese hot dog does not have. It’s obviously more visually appealing and clearly created with the idea that people eat with their eyes first. That said, there is clearly a thought process behind the dish itself; those in the kitchen were clearly very thoughtful in developing this strange, unhealthy, and unthinkable combination of food. It’s probably mostly unwanted, too, but you have to respect the effort.

That is what makes stadium food so particularly enjoyable when done well. Ordinary or not, the effort isn’t sloppy, and eventually worth appreciating. The principle applies to pies served in English football stadiums, too; they’re not always as unhealthy as the macaroni and cheese hot dog, but they are authentic and respectable food items. It makes the experience unique and enjoyable, and at the very least, memorable.

tl;dr: Distinguishing good and bad stadium food.

Links of the Day

Chelsea assistant coach Marco Ianni has been charged by the FA following an incident with José Mourinho during the team’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United over the weekend. The United boss, meanwhile, got a warning from the FA.

The FA Cup first round draw is complete, with each match set to be played in November.

Today’s longer read: John Converse Townsend reports on 26x26, a new project to help children of color get involved in the sport in the United States for Fast Company