Over the past four years or so, I’ve come to look forward to Super Bowl week and the various food-related press releases and public relation e-mails I receive. Not because they provide any great insight, but rather because they amuse me on how many people in the food industry simply do not understand what this week is all about. Having been born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, where football rates somewhere between God and Country, I have a decidedly jaundiced view upon all of the “football recipes” and “Super Bowl hints” that are sent my way.
It’s quite simple really. When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, the priorities are as follows:
- The Game
- The Beer and other Carbonated Beverages
- The Food
- The Commercials
Some argument could be made that “The Food” and “The commercials” are of equal standing. My evidence for this? Super Bowl Sunday is the most profitable day for Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza. If the fans of the Super Bowl really wanted to focus on the food, it’d be just another day for these second rate pizza chains.
The menu for Super Bowl Sunday is simple – Beer and bar food. Chips and dip is a good start, nachos with gooey melted cheese and guac and salsa on the side are also a nice choice. Sandwiches are okay as long as the emphasis is on sausages, burgers, or any item that might make your doctor wince and weep. Barbecue is okay as long as it’s either done by half time (or by kickoff if you’re tailgating). Tacos and pizza work wonders. The sports bar trifecta of Buffalo Wings, jalapeño poppers, and mozzarella sticks are also looked upon with a great sense of acceptance. Any other items in this vein are more than likely appropriate.
Salads are right out….as are any dish with the words “Mango”, “Balsamic”, “Glazed” or “Reduction” in the recipe title. Desserts should be no where to be seen. Todd English is a fabulous chef, but his menu for Super Bowl Sunday leaves a little to be desired. Fried Chicken Salad? Sorry, even with fried chicken, it’s still a salad. His Crostini with White Beans and Basil-Marinated Shrimp? Oh please. Talk about missing the mark!
Every year it’s the same thing. Yes, Super Bowl Sunday is a big food day. But it’s really not the food that matters. It’s the day that we celebrate football. If people walk away from your party singing praises of your cooking, but lamenting the football game, the day will be remembered as a disappointment.
This is your yearly public service announcement from yours truly. I’ll keep making an issue of this until food celebrities start getting it right.