What’s the kind of food you dig into while watching football?

Rangeeta Murada, aunt to many nephews between the ages of 18 and 24

“It is terrible, but yes, junk food is the way to go. They will eat anything that is put in front of them while they watch a match. If they and their friends support different teams, the abuses fly around as fast as the food flies off the plates. It is mostly finger food. Nachos and dip, popcorn, burgers, pizzas…the older ones settle down with a beer or two while others swig pepsis and cokes. Oh yes, there is always a football in attendance that is thrown up in joy or flung down in frustration, depending…”

Fifty-plus T. Karun has two sons and a horde of nephews who congregate for any sporting television event, be it IPL or FIFA.

“The crucial matches are especially fun as we get together in one cousin’s home or the other to watch them. The diet is going to be mostly unhealthy. Thattais, rusk, murukku …may be some watermelon and cucumber. And then ice cream, definitely ice cream…”

Research scholar Krishna Menon says it is a time for feasting back home in Kerala. “FIFA World Cup is a festival. We love to shout, scream and munch on fried items such as banana and tapioca chips. This is also the season for mangoes and jack-fruits. So we gorge on mango slices, and jack fruit fries abound. We are also die-hard fans of fried fish pieces and chicken lollipops.”

Medical Student Vishnu Devaraj is stocking up his kitchen. “I like to feast on fried peanuts, popcorn and potato fries while watching a game. Since most of them are aired late at night, we are hungry by the first half of the game. So I always have sandwiches and burgers ready.”

R. Ramaswamy a retired Air Force Officer, remembers popping in chips and swigging beer. “We were always in the mess as that was the only place with a television. We would finish dinner, seat ourselves in front of bowls of chips and watch the game all night. Maggi noodles and pizza are also ideal match food.”

Amogh Venkatesh, student says a good match means screaming friends and popcorn. “I love cooking, and so pop corn at home, add some spices and my friends dig into it with relish. If I feel really virtuous, I make some low-fat sandwiches. Else, we go the whole hog — masala groundnuts, chips, buttery, grilled sandwiches…all this washed down with some fizzy drinks. Sometimes, we head out as a group to watch matches in dugouts. We wear the t-shirt of our favourite team and cheer them on, sitting alongside total strangers. It’s a great way to bond.”