I have to mentally prepare myself for the fact that the Olympics are going to be over on Sunday. How did that go by so quickly? I’m not sure but I can say that I will be going through withdrawal for a bit once it finishes. There is nothing that brings a country together quite like the Olympics, especially when you are in Canada and it’s time for the Winter Olympics. I don’t care whether you even like sports, you cannot help but feel national pride when you see our athletes on the podium.
Throughout the games, there has been a lot of discussion around our family dinner table about certain events receiving
some a lot more attention than others. Yes, hockey, I am talking about you. Right or wrong, you cannot deny that hockey takes precedence over virtually every other sport in Canada, regardless of whether or not the Olympics are on. It’s our sport and I know it is part of Canadian culture but that doesn’t mean that it is right that it steals attention away from all of the other athletes living their Olympic dreams. I’m not saying that hockey players don’t want a gold medal but if they had to choose between that and a Stanley Cup, I don’t think there is any question what they would pick.
That being said, the Olympics brings together the top athletes in their respective sports. It just happens to be that sports like bobsled and speed skating don’t have high-paid professional leagues. If the hockey teams were not made of NHL players, where would you recruit from? The WHL? University teams? Your community beer league? It becomes pretty difficult to figure out what the next highest level is (although I should clarify that it is clearly not the beer league). Even if the top teams were not composed of NHL players, I’m not sure that hockey would receive any less media coverage in Canada. Not all sports have the same level of popularity. Kids are not being enrolled in Timbits figure skating, their parents put them in Timbits hockey. In our country, that’s the way it is. We live for hockey.
To me the celebrity factor also plays a significant role. Remember that piece I wrote on celebrity chefs? It’s kind of like that. And it’s not just hockey that buys into it anymore. Lolo Jones was recruited to bobsled because of her star power as a sprinter. I don’t think you can say that it is the hockey player’s faults that they have been put on a pedestal. If anything, it is our fault for being more enamoured with them than all of the other athletes who we only cheer on when the Winter Olympics rolls around every 4 years.
Where does all of this leave us? The thing is, we don’t live in the perfect utopia of fairness and equality so if it was not hockey, it would surely be something else. I guess the key is not to downplay the accomplishments of all of the athletes who don’t have millions of dollars to support their goal of an Olympic gold. They deserve just as much attention, if not more, for overcoming the obstacles and barriers they face in order to make it to the top of the podium.
All of that has absolutely nothing to do with this recipe for sweet potato lentil curry (other than maybe the fact that it is a healthy meal I could see an athlete eating). I just figured I have not been posting much and this is a food blog, so I should probably share a recipe. I am not a huge fan of soups and stews. However, when they include ingredients like lentils, sweet potatoes and coconut milk, I am all in. Such recipes have got a more granola-y feel to them than say chilli or tomato soup, if you know what I mean. I like this curry because it warms you up without sitting in the pit of your stomach for the rest of eternity. Despite being filling, it’s not heavy. So there you go, let’s curl up on the couch with a bowl of this and savour the last few hours of Olympic television.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 1½ cups okra, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup black beluga lentils
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp. red curry paste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Put the lentils in a small pot with about twice as much water (unsalted) as lentils. Cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender. Add more water if it looks like it is getting too dry.
- In a separate pan, cook the sweet potatoes over medium high heat to caramelize them, along with a tablespoon or so of coconut cream skimmed off the top of the can. When the sweet potatoes are golden, add in the okra. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, add the curry paste and cook until fragrant and tasted, about 3 minutes.
- Stir the coconut milk and vegetable stock into the sweet potatoes and okra. Cook over medium heat until the sweet potatoes are tender and the curry thickens. Whenever the lentils are finished cooking, drain them and add them into the rest of the curry.
- Once all of the ingredients are cooked through and the curry has thickened, taste again and season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.