Feb 4, 2011
A Menu of Options
Like services that arrange dates between compatible people, it can be extremely amusing at times to mate food with skating in a similar manner. As the popular pastime of pairing food with wine demonstrates, it is evident that every dish has a certain personality as does every skater.
As such, let us start off our meal with a nice little amuse-bouche to whet the appetite. Following the tendency for chefs trying to out-do each other with increasingly distinct amuses, we will begin with the quirky Shawn Sawyer, the Mad Hatter himself. The creative choreography paired with the relatively weaker skating skills leaves you wanting for more, exactly what a good amuse should do.
First course is soup. Consommé, the true measure of any first-rate chef, is a popular choice here. Patrick Chan, with his smoothness over the ice and impeccable skating skills, will suit extremely well with the clear flavor of the broth with nothing to hide behind, but it must be Patrick Chan skating to something like Bach, not that overwrought Phantom of the Opera fantasia which, like the cheaper truffles some chefs insist on putting in everything, merely distracts from the intrinsic flavor of the consommé.
Time for some seafood. You prefer the subtle and elusive flavor of something like, say, a perfectly poached striped bass? The choice here should be Alissa Czisny, her refined, delicate style--never overwrought, never too flashy--smoothly complimenting the poached bass without overwhelming it, as beautifully as any good Chablis. For those who hanker for something more bold, like bouillabaisse, the suggestion of Daisuke Takahashi may bear fruit: not so spicy as to be overwhelming, not so quiet as to be easily outgunned and above all rich and zesty in flavor, on excellent terms with everyone's palate.
For the entree, the range of options is almost limitless but for brevity's sake let us limit ourselves to a couple of dishes here. For those who prefer the deep distinctive flavor of roast duckling a l'orange with its hints of sweetness shining through, the first choice here would be Yu-Na Kim, she of both Danse Macabre and The Lark Ascending. If you require something strong and hearty to adequately fill your stomach, like beef bourguignon, an equally macho skater is necessary: Brian Joubert in his prime would slug it out with a beef stew like a good Zinfandel, and both should come out all the better from it.
Steadied by a stimulating round of conversation and perhaps a digestif or two, you are now ready for dessert, always necessary, even if you must skip the cheese like now to manage it. In the mood for the delicate flavor of a light, airy meringue? In that case, the ethereal style of Mao Asada as she floats over the ice to the music of Debussy or Chopin is unsurpassed. If your idea of heaven is instead a deep, rich, intense chocolate cake topped with a full inch of ganache, nothing translates better its intensity and delicious flavor than someone like Stephane Lambiel--his beautiful skating, similar to chocolate cake, possesses the uncanny ability to find appreciative stomachs anywhere, no matter how full the stomachs may be.
Finally, cut through all that dinner-table indulgence by tossing back a shot of the ever-ameliorative Fernet-Branca--that is, in skating terms, end your viewing session with some Takahiko Kozuka to remind yourself that moderation has its virtues at times before you head off to lie down and digest properly.
Also, don't blog while you're drunk. You come up with completely bizarre material like this.