My favorite sports weekend of the year is in fact Masters weekend. Sure, the gambling, the food the partying and the football that comes with the Super Bowl are awesome but there’s nothing like the beautiful four day long visuals of Augusta Georgia and the drama that comes with the quest for the green jacket are truly a beautiful canvas upon which relaxation and beer consumption reign supreme.
Among all the Masters traditions which include no cell phones or cameras, no tipping, payphones or a fenced perimeter that keep out the squirrels, the one tradition that has often piqued my interest is the Tuesday night Master’s dinner. In 1952 Ben Hogan decided to host a dinner to honour the previous winners of the tournament. Since then the winner of the previous year’s tournament would submit a menu to be served on the Tuesday before the tournament begins.
Tiger Woods famously brought some So-Cal flair by requesting sushi and sashimi before the raw fish delicacy was common fare. Some champions have used the honor to share the cuisine of their heritage as Sandy Lyle had prominent members of the tour eating Scottish Haggis and the only Canadian winner of the Masters (Mike Weir) had elk and wild boar served at his dinner.
Last year’s winner Dustin Johnson set a menu that is as much a nod to classic Americana as it is a sampling of high end steak house samplings. Appetizers serve as the early stages of the meal and serve as a throwback to childhood with DJ’s choice of Pigs in a Blanket. However, while allowing his fellow golfers to basque in the glory of simplistic pancake house glory, he insisted it be paired with the upscale southern offering of Lobster and Corn Fritters. A choice of Garden or Ceasar salad act as a leafy pallet cleanser. The main course was a choice of savory, marbled prime rib or buttery sweet miso-marinated sea bass with a side of mashed potatoes and spring vegetables. Finally the dessert consists of a Southern American soul-filled rebellion against America’s colonial past as Peach Cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream. Finally the wine chosen to pair with the fare is a 2016 Lucien Le Moine, Montmains Chablis and a 1998 Chateau Lynch Bages, Paulliac.
This got me thinking. If I was to host a dinner at my favorite Golf tournament, what would I serve. This is what, and why I makes its way onto my menu.
Appetizer: Tuna and Macadamia Poke (raw tuna, macadamia nuts, avocado and dressing. No noodles, nothing else, just the way my wife and I shared when we discovered this treat in Hawaii on our first vacation)
Salad: A Cobb Wedge salad (sure the wedge salad has gone out of style but I’m an 80’s guy akin to Fry’s unfrozen compatriot in the famed episode of Futurama. My only regret will be that I had Boneitis)
Main Course: Chicken Gizzard Risotto (sure this sounds weird but, I won the Masters so the rest of you can F-off, this is a nod to my Italian roots as well as my grandparents farming background that had me eating head to tail far before it was co-opted by hipsters in suspenders. The risotto is filled with parmigiano reggiano and topped with flat leaf parsley. This was also the birthday meal my mom made for me every year in my youth.
Dessert: Boston Cream doughnuts (I’m not a cake guy and while cup cakes do make me feel like a hungry giant, nothing beats the beauty and simplicity of fried dough and beautifully rich custard).
So I dip my cap to Dustin Johnson. I love the pig in a blanket to lighten the stuffy affair. The masters are steeped in tradition and while that’s part of what makes the event special it can be a little heavy at times. This of course is best exemplified of an empty seat being kept for the injured Tiger Woods which serves as a creepy vigil of the living. With that in mind here are some ideas for future meals for whoever is declared winner today as provided by our staff.
To Drink: 2004 Chateau de Fonsalette, Cote de Rhone, and Bourbon hidden in wine bottles for the less stuck-up around us.
Terry: Dry-aged Rib Eye with Lobster Poutine and Caesar Salad with extra anchovies
Eagle: 8 oz Fillet Mignon with Caribbean Lobster Tail
Duke the Graphite: Chez Ma Tante Hot Dogs (Quebec All-Dressed: Mustard and Coleslaw)
Jon Factually: Steak and Poutine with Asparagus and Mushrooms with a dessert of DQ Blizzards
Alex the Intern: Wagyu Ribeye Steak, Lobster Tails and sauteed Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes
Matt: Personal Poutine, Bagel Bites and Bloody Caesars
Tyler: Philly Cheese Steaks and Chocolate Fondue
Spence: Boneless wings slathered in BBQ sauce (sauceless is not an option!), boxed plain chocolate cake for dessert