Gold Medal Meal

I am so proud to be Canadian today, after our spectacular presence at the Vancouver Olympics. I admit, I was a little skeptical of the 'Own the Podium' campaign at first, seeing how it contradicts the 'nice guys' persona that we show to the world. Well, these nice guys were not content to finish last, as 14 gold medals would attest. However, I'm divided in my opinion of the most inspiring moment - Sid's overtime winning goal in the men's hockey battle, or Joannie Rochette's emotional bronze performance in figure skating. Either way, I would love to reward all of our stellar athletes with a nice, homecooked meal. A meal deserving of a medal of its own.

Now, I've thought long and hard about what exactly this meal should be. I suppose I could imitate the closing ceremonies of the games and craft a mish-mash of Canadian stereotype-themed plates, but honestly, would it be a reward to serve moose meat poutine and beaver tails? I think not. So, I did a bit of research to find out what athletes' favourite meals are. Guess what my not-so-scientific study turned up? Lo and behold, the top three:

  • Bronze: Pizza 
  • Silver: Chinese Food 
  • Gold: Pasta

I'm feeling a little underwhelmed, but there's a lot of potential with pasta. Pasta is a top choice for athletes pre-performance, as the carbohydrates provide a nice boost of energy. With a bit of preparation, some raw ingredients and lots of heart, I am prepared to make a gold medal meal for a champ - Spaghetti Bolognese. 

The Venue - Kitchen Nerd Central

The Equipment - Kitchen Aid Mixer Meat Grinder, steel skillet, pot, sharp knife and cutting board

The Performers - 1 lb of sirloin steak, 2 Italian sausages, 2 large carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 10 basil leaves, parmesan cheese, basalmic vinegar, 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, herbes de provence, salt & pepper, olive oil, water, spaghettini noodles.

The Judges - The Kitchen Nerd family

Setup: There was early drama in the preparation section, as this was the first time the meat grinder attachment had been used. 
Result: The meat grinder performed flawlessly. I didn't anticipate the blood squirting and flying vertically all over my sweatshirt, so I will deduct points for not wearing something I don't care to soil. However, the texture of the sirloin was much more pleasing than regular ground beef, as there was little fat, and the meat fell into firm chunks rather than the mushy strings that pass for grocery store hamburger. The ground sirloin was also a deep brown-red colour, and not the lipstick shade of red-dye #2 I'm more familiar with. 

Pace Setting: It took a little bit of time to properly dice the carrot, celery, garlic and onion. The time was well worth taking, as the little nerd thought the tiny orange squares were cute enough to eat. Seeing how we can't get him to eat bigger carrots, we'll award extra technique points for enhancing the palatability of the sauce. The small dice also allows for rapid softening of the vegetables in the olive oil, to which the ground sirloin and italian pork sausage were added. 

Team Effort: This quickly became a team event, as the little nerd felt inspired to participate. Team events can be tricky in the kitchen, but was no problem with the bolognese. He excelled in stirring, adding a splash of basalmic vinegar, the crushed tomatoes, spices, basil, and salt and pepper. Extra points were awarded for pride of workmanship, and no spitting in the sauce.

Endurance: Waiting for two hours was certainly a feat. We occupied the time in the clean-up event, and cooked the noodles during the last 8 minutes.

Outcome: Filling. It is a hearty, meaty and warm downhome kind of sauce, slightly sweet from the basil, with a little bit of spiciness from the sausage. I probably wouldn't eat it directly before doing anything athletic; in fact, I'd recommend a nap. Overall, it calculated to a silver performance since the little nerd judge refused to participate, but since we have this medal, gold it is.


  1. This is hilarious! You know I love your sauce and would give it a gold! Too bad the little nerd wouldn't eat you ....Mom

  2. I enjoy moose meat. I LOVE poutine (in moderation) but together?? Gastly!

    The sauce looks lovely. Nice texture. Not greasy as it could have been with regular ground beef. Good job on the size of the veggies. You showed skill determination and the presentation! - Gold all the way!


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