Pre-game meals are very important, MOB. Sports science has proven that consuming a balanced meal containing a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fats just a few hours before game time is essential for achieving peak performance. And by peak performance, we are of course talking about the strenuous physical exertion involved in turning the volume up and down on the telly and occasionally jumping up and cheering when a try’s been scored.
Yes, the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship is back again this year and while we’re not exactly athletes in your traditional sense of the word over here at MOB Kitchen, we still bloody love watching sport. We especially love watching it armed with an arsenal of snacks and a few cans of something delicious to responsibly imbibe from the comfort of our own sofas. A cracking game of rugby isn’t just an excellent opportunity to distract yourself from the stresses of the world for 80 minutes of your day – it’s also an excellent excuse to put together a hearty food and drink spread capable of feeding a hungry first XV.
As fullbacks and fly-halfs of the kitchen over here at MOB Kitchen, the pre-game meal preparation is as important to us as the game itself. Mainly because it’s not a realm where we ever have to worry about losing. When it comes to creating delicious recipes that you can whip up with minimal effort, we’re the reigning champions of the recipe world. So, while we can’t suggest exactly what you should be eating in order to avoid cramp (though we’ve heard slamming back a couple of bananas tends to do the trick), what we are going to do is use our platform to tell you exactly what you should be eating and drinking while you watch the rugby. In short: it’s lots.
First things first, if you’re looking for the ultimate feed for a big game, one that’ll tide you over both halves of the action, you’re going to need to plan a feast that encompasses a range of different textures. Having that textural variety will ensure that your tastebuds don’t get bored and that you don’t have to miss any of the action by making constant trips to the kitchen.
To keep your palate excited throughout the game, we’d recommend having something crunchy (like crisps or crudités), something smooth (maybe a dip like hummus or taramasalata), and something hot and substantial to turn tuck into while you worry about the scoreline. A proper warming dish like our Guinness Can Chicken, for example, is the perfect thing to prep ahead of time. All you have to do is bung it in the oven and make sure you time it right so that you’ve got a perfectly crisp and juicy chook for you and your support bubble to eat at half-time. Serve that with some chips and vinegary coleslaw to give it all a little lift, and Bob’s your uncle. Doing all that work before the game actually starts will also leave you with a lot more free time for important activities during the match. Like shouting loudly at Owen Farrell. And drinking Guinness.
Because when it comes to what you should be drinking with the rugby, it’s got to be pint of the dark stuff. We know that Guinness might be described by some as a “meal in a glass” but we're of the belief that you should be having a meal with a glass of the stuff. Trust us, we’ve done enough eating, and drank enough Guinness, in our lives to know that Guinness goes great with food. It might look all dark and brooding like the protagonist of a Victorian novel but a well-poured pint of smooth Guinness pairs excellently with all sorts of dishes. Particularly with comfort food like a shepherd’s pie or a stew or a Guinness Can Chicken.
And look: 2021 is a year where we could all do with a bit more comfort, right? That’s why, whatever team you support, you should make sure that you treat yourself with a plate of something comforting while you watch the Guinness Six Nations. Especially if you’re Italian because God knows you’re probably going to need something to actually enjoy.
Yes, this year’s championship is a bit… different, to say the least, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because while we do miss going to watch live sport as much as anyone else, we’d be lying if we said that we didn’t love the fact that we can settle down to watch the rugby safe in the knowledge that there’s a chicken in the oven and a couple of ice-cold cans of Guinness waiting in the fridge. Gone are the days of overpaying for lukewarm pies and lukewarm beers, MOB – your new pre-game eating ritual is in your own hands now. And if you heed our advice then you, too, can ensure that you’re delivering a peak performance in the kitchen for the next round of the Championship.