Melodic Ingredients: Music at the Saint Arnold One Pot Showdown
My brother, Anthony, enjoys cooking and he is also quite good at it. I enjoy drinking beer and am also quite good at that.
So, Saint Arnold Brewery's One Pot Showdown seemed like a great, local event to partake in to boast our respective talents. Last Sunday afternoon, we joined 80 teams, all gathered to fix the best meal possible, cooked with Saint Arnold beer and entirely prepared - from start to finish - in one, single pot.
Weeks of debate over what to serve ensued. Gumbo? Etouffee? Chili? We couldn't decide.
But, the one ingredient we all agreed upon was music. Whatever we chose to prepare for Houston's fun-hungry would be served with a big side helping of musical deliciousness. As we've done for countless tailgates and family picnics, we devised a playlist to entertain ourselves and those we hoped would gather around our booth.
The day of the event, I was elated to know others felt the same way. The excited chatter and hard work of the collected four-person teams was soundtracked by everything from Alan Jackson's "Good Time" to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."
Once our meal was set to simmer, my brother, Adrian, and I ventured out amongst the competition to see what was on their musical menus.
Before we started crashing tents, we felt it might be good form to check in with a Saint Arnold official first. We ran down Lennie Ambrose, the brewery's marketing and events director. He reminded us that the event was a fund raiser for Kids' Meals, a non-profit organization which serves healthy lunches year round to pre-school aged children in need.
He also added this was the event's seventh year and that the 800 guest tickets were sold out in three hours, far outpacing the team entry sales because "it's a lot less work to buy a ticket and come out and eat than it is to plan and cook."
I agreed. And he agreed music in the background probably did make it easier to slice, sautee and dish out mass quantities of food. I asked him for a personal music favorite.
"You know, I am the least sophisticated music person ever," he said. "I like pretty much anything live. That's my criteria, I love any live music."
With the green light, we approached the Potheads Cookers Team. Reggae wafted from their booth like the sweet aroma of the stickiest of the icky. Or, at least like the island flavors of the Santo and Kalua-styled Hawaiian pork they were cooking up.
"We've been all over the board with the jams," said Pothead Craig Curbello. His teammates, Gil Co and Trey Wagers, starting rattling off songs they'd mixed into the morning. Fourth man, Brent Partin, said the one song that summed up their cooking for the day was probably Ben Harper's "Burn One Down," and added that music was indeed essential to any of their cookoff endeavors.
"Without a doubt," he said. "It would be a terrible day without it."