World Cup Healthy Eating
June 11, 2014
SPE Certified Executive Chef Anthony Moraes muses on his family’s rich soccer history and shares one of his favorite healthy recipes.
I come from a strong soccer family. My father -- Eddie Moraes -- was a soccer legend in his time and this year I was proud beyond belief when this was recognized officially in my hometown of Newark, NJ, with a brand new, state-of-the-art soccer stadium being named in his honor!
Growing up, we always had great meals at the family table, home cooked by my mom to keep all the family’s athletes -- professional and amateur – well-fed and nourished. Homemade meals were part of my life every day as a child. I never once bought a school lunch in 4 years of high school because I always had a homemade meal in my bag, complete with a little hand-written note of love and encouragement to go with it.
I sure do miss those notes on my napkin. Nonetheless, aside from discussing our own games there was always a heavy soccer dialogue in the house. But never was the conversation and passion more alive than in a World Cup year.
Being of Portuguese descent but born and raised American, the anxiety grew slowly every four years as the USA kept getting stronger and stronger while Portugal had always been a strong contender. I consider myself a true blue when it comes to America and the team I support, but in honor of my ancestors, I am also a strong supporter of the Portuguese National Team.
This year, Portugal and the US are in the same group. I’ve never been more torn! Luckily I can look to my knowledge of nutrition and healthy cooking to keep my body and mind strong in the face of such a strain on my psyche.
As homage to the great sea-fearing country that is Portugal and the amazing bounty of summer tomatoes here in my home state of New Jersey, I created a tasty branzino recipe with tomatoes, olives and orzo. It goes without saying that my family will be arguing over the soccer this summer, but at least they won’t be arguing over what’s for dinner!
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