Final: Argentina vs. Canada

Argentine and Canadian lands span nearly from the North Pole to the South Pole, and as one might expect from regions so geographically separated, their food traditions differ considerably.  Since The World Cup of Food is about finding the best world cuisines and eliminating the rest, today we welcome one of these nations to the next round of our competition and part ways with the other.  Greece awaits our winner.

Argentine dishes on The World Cup of Food:

Canadian dishes on The World Cup of Food:

  • Poutine, French fries with gravy and cheese curds (with Canadian cuisine overview)

Each of our features on Argentine and Canadian food presented dishes distinctly belonging to their countries of origin.  Argentine chimichurri, a sauce made from olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and herbs, is an ideal condiment for grilled meats, which is a good thing for Argentine eaters since Argentina leads the world in beef consumption per capita.  Canada’s national food (the title is disputed; other contenders, of considerably less interest to this blog, are maple syrup and Kraft dinner) is poutine, a decadent calorie-fest of French fries topped with cheese curds and doused with brown gravy.  It tastes exactly how one expects potatoes, cheese, and gravy to taste: pretty good.

Which cuisine, based on everything we know, do we prefer?  Which do we select to battle Greece in the next round?

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Our decision was easy this time.  The question, “What food would we present the next time each country is featured?” played a pivotal role in the matter.  In the case of Argentina, we have many enticing options, like any of a variety of Argentine meat stews, pasta dishes, or the local fried cutlet milanesa.  In the case of Canada, we draw a blank.  We are not featuring Kraft dinner or maple syrup, certainly.  Nanaimo bars?  Montreal smoked meat?  While there is plenty of tasty food in Canada, relatively little of it is distinctly Canadian.  We have had this issue before with Australia, another former British colony that retained its British ties well into the twentieth century.  Furthermore, Canada’s signature dish, poutine, is problematic.  In our view, French fries are the best possible way to enjoy a potato, with their crispy, salty exterior and creamy middle.  The addition of gravy and cheese, while delicious in their own rights, can only create a dish that is less than the original.

Argentina, then, is our winner, for which Greece awaits in the next round.  Often of late, our winners have been slated against some of the giants of world food, and many would consider Greek food to be in that category.  However, this match will be winnable for Argentina; while we regard Greek specialties like gyros, moussaka, or pastitio among our favorite foods, no Greek dish is held to us in as high regard as some of the true world heavyweights, such as enchiladas, bœuf bourguignon, paella, or sushi.  We could be convinced of either nation’s culinary superiority.

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