Monday, December 10, 2012

F1 Meals - or "How to make Race Watching Fun for Your Family and Friends"

What's F1 Meals? Read on to find out...

If you're a dedicated F1 fan in the United States, you undoubtedly set your alarm clock at ungodly hours to get up and watch Practice, Qualifying and the Race. You may even tune in to the live online feeds to watch free practice sessions. You may even go as far as to find foreign broadcasts for extended coverage and alternative commentary.

The thing is, this is all well and good until your family/social life begins to suffer. Your significant other is upset with you because you're constantly staying up all night watching the broadcasts ("Honey, are you coming to bed?"), you can't take your kids to the park because "Daddy didn't get enough sleep last night", or your friends stop inviting you out because all you want to do is talk about racing and F1.

Nobu's TIP: Solution for the last one. Get some new friends that love racing as much as you do!

Although I personally have none of the problems above, here's a great idea to make it more fun for everybody involved, and it will also buy you good will for those times when you just *have* to stay up and watch the race. Get your SO and/or friends involved to have F1 themed breakfast/lunch/brunch/dinners/parties.

Veal Schnitzel for the German GP, anyone?

Introducing... F1 Meals!

Needless to say, F1 races go to some great places where great cuisine can be had. Ideally, you want to taste the local food in person, but let's face it, most of us don't have many of those opportunities in our lifetime (although my aim is to convince you to change that!) The next best thing becomes trying to make some of that at home yourself, hopefully with the help of your S.O. and/or friends!

With up to 20 races on the calendar, you have no excuse not to turn each and every race into an opportunity to  have a date night, family fun brunch, or throw a themed party and hang out with your friends.

Here are the key ingredients for any given F1 Meal:
  • DVR (Digital Video Recorder)
  • Dishes featuring local cuisine of F1 race (take out optional)
  • Drinks from the local region of F1 race
  • Significant Other, kids and/or Friends

Must Have: DVR

The DVR is critical to the success of F1 Meals. Thus, if you don't have one, or if your local cable/satellite provider doesn't carry the channel that broadcasts F1 (don't we all choose our cable/satellite providers based on whether they have those channels??), then you may need to resort to downloading previously recorded feeds (legality will vary depending on where you are). Even if the race happens to be broadcast exactly at the time when you're having your F1 Meal, you want the DVR in operation. Here's why:

  • You may want to rewind and re-watch an overtake
  • Conversely, you may want to fast forward through some parts
  • If you're with family, then you will need to pause for potty breaks and other interruptions
  • You don't want to miss any action while you're helping your wife do the dishes *WINK*

Nobu's TIP: Make sure you set the DVR to record at least 90 minutes past the scheduled end time to accommodate for potential race delays due to weather, safety cars, etc.

Nobu's Expert Level TIP: If you do choose not to watch the race beforehand, do not check social media or talk to any friends who can't keep their mouth shut, or else spoil the race before you get to watch it during F1 Meals.

Paprikash for the Hungarian GP. Cooked with lots of Love!

Does your wife/girlfriend like to cook? Do you have a friend who likes to cook? Is there a great take out place that features ethnic cuisine that you've been curious about? Depending on the occasion, (date night, brunch, party, etc.) choose your options wisely. Don't forget that you can really score some brownie points with your S.O. if you help with the planning and execution, however little. *Nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say-no-more* If you're throwing a party, ask your friends to bring a dish/drinks from the country/region where the race is being held.

A meal isn't complete with beverages, and for something like date night, there are sparkling wines from many countries in Europe. For example, Champagne from France, Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, etc.

Nobu's TIP: Many countries also have local flavors of beer that can usually be purchased at specialty food stores or even your neighborhood liquor store. Don't forget that there's sake and soju as well!

A really nice bottle of Japanese Jumai Dai-Ginjo sake.

In order to give you some inspiration and ideas, here are some scenarios that I talked about in this blog in a little more detail. If you need any suggestions or have any questions, please use the comment box below.

Milk-braised Pork Roast for the Italian GP.

F1 Date Night

Potential Race Dates: Monaco GP, Italian GP, Abu Dhabi GP, Singapore GP
Format: "Dinner and a Movie"

For F1 date night, I would suggest setting it up like a "dinner and a movie" night, where the actual F1 race viewing is reserved for dessert. I chose Monaco, Italy, Abu Dhabi and Singapore as potential race dates (pun intended!) due to the romance factor. Monaco is known for luxury and Italy is known for its food and wine. I also chose Abu Dhabi and Singapore because they are both races that go into the night and should put you in the same mood as those that are actually there. After dinner, shack up in front of your TV after dinner with a glass of locale dessert wine and a decadent dessert.

Nobu's TIP: You may want to pre-watch the race so that you can fast forward through some parts of the race. Don't bother with pre-race shows and post-race coverage, unless your date is a real dud.

Nobu's Expert Level TIP: Try to engage your date into some F1 talk to get him/her interested in the race itself. Don't focus on geek talk; focus on human interest stories, i.e. - Did you know Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend is a Pussycat Doll?

Ricotta Fritters for Breakfast for the Italian GP.

F1 Family Fun Brunch

Potential Race Dates: Canadian GP, Japanese GP, Belgian GP, US GP
Format: Brunch with the Family

F1 races are on Sundays, so why not have brunch with the family? The race dates that I chose should provide you with some possibilities as far as breakfast/lunch items go. For example, Canadian bacon (that was too easy, eh?), a traditional Japanese breakfast, Belgian Waffles, or a good ol' hearty American breakfast! Grab a plate, take a seat on the couch, and watch your favorite driver win! This would be a great opportunity to teach your kids that racing is fun, and that they can become the next F1 World Driver Champion.

Nobu's TIP: Both the U.S. and Canadian GP's are in the afternoon if you're in the U.S., so time your brunch to coincide with the beginning of the race.

Shabu Shabu Party for the Japanese GP!

F1 Parties

Potential Race Dates: Any race on the calendar
Format: Potluck Theme Party

Everybody loves throwing parties and what better than a special theme party to make it really fun? Prepare a few dishes yourselves and ask others to bring food and drinks representative of the local cuisine of the race. Bring out your F1 memorabilia to decorate and wear your fan gear with pride!

Nobu's TIP: Make some suggestions and point your friends to online resources for inspiration on what to bring.

Chili Lobster, Samosas and Tsing Tao beer for the Singapore GP.

The beauty of F1 Meals is that you get to share your love of F1 with others and maybe even get them hooked on the sport. (If you can't find new F1 friends, turn your existing friends into one!) It's also something new and different, especially in the United States (relatively speaking, of course). Even better, you might be able to plan your next vacation around an F1 race where you can actually sample the local cuisine with your loved ones.

Depending on the weekend, we even do "F1 Meal Weekend" where we prepare breakfast, brunch, lunch and/or dinner to coincide with watching Practice, Qualifying and the Race. It's always fun and delicious!

I have one final thought on this, and that is that your options aren't limited to Formula One races. It just happens to be a racing series that travels to some very interesting places around the world, and lends itself very well to F1 Meals. If you're a fan of any given flavor of motorsport, you can always find a way to get your friends and family involved by planning a meal around it. Get creative!

If you have any questions or need ideas for inspiration, drop me a note in the comments section and I'd be happy to assist you. Until then, buon appetito!


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