Oh em gee, the Super Bowl is almost here!
We’re not too big on sports in my household. In fact, one year, my smart and educated husband called this game the Super Ball for almost the entire season. (No, not on purpose.)
The Super Bowl is not really about football. We know this. The game is about commercials and snacks, and snacks and commercials. For whatever reason, he-man sports and the watching thereof incite people to eat foods they would normally snub, for either health or foodie reasons. Reuben sandwich dip, bacon-cheddar jalapenos, whiskey weenies, and ANYTHING with the words “buffalo chicken” become these glorified, pedestaled, you’re-crazy-not-to-have-them foods for several hours one Sunday a year.
And I am so excited for that.
The Super Bowl can be just like any other appetizer party, but everything has to have a little more oomph in it. A little more cheese, more bacon, more goop. Other than that, use your usual finger-food strategies to feed the crowd and provide enough food entertainment to get everyone though the football parts.
Here’s my game plan.
For appetizers, I like to balance out the hot and chilled, savory and sweet, light and heavy. For a mixed or unfamiliar crowd, at least one option has to be substantial and vegan. It’s kind of a cop out to serve platters of stuffed meatballs and candied Brie in all their protein-y, flavorful goodness and then have crudité for the vegans with no vegan-friendly dip. But not everything can be super labor-intensive OR expensive, either. It’s a balance.
Here’s an example of what my starting lineup (football jokes!!) would look like:
Pulled pork sliders with BBQ sauce (vinegar and sweet)
Crudité with chickpea dip and pita
Pears slices with cream cheese and cranberry sauce
Champagne and fresh fruit Jell-O (backup: mini popcorn balls)
I served this to a group of geology people last year.
The savory and heavy were the pulled pork sliders and BBQ sauce, the light and chilled were the pear slices, the substantially vegan was the crudité with chickpea dip. Sweet was champagne Jell-O and fudge squares. A backup is always a good plan, too, like the popcorn balls in case the Jell-O fell apart.
I like to make as much of my foods as I can, but I also like not taking three days to prepare for one party*. I made the pulled pork and the BBQ sauce, but I bought the slider buns. I made the crudité and dip, but bought the pita. I made the cranberry sauce, but definitely did not make my own cream cheese. I also made the desserts. (Fudge recipe to come later!) I spent a day in the kitchen, but that length of time feels right to me, so I wasn’t overwhelmed or feel like I slacked off (which is not a problem—and nor should it be—for many people when they stop by the grocery store and stock up on pre-sliced celery sticks, I realize, but it’s one that I have).
For this Super Bowl Sunday, I won’t be hosting the festivities (no cable!) and so likely won’t make five appetizers to bring to the party. But I’ll make a couple to pass, and I’ll try to stick to the basic ideas of balance in flavors and options.
Or maybe I’ll just brew up a big old pot of buffalo cheddar beer dip with bacon sticks for dipping. That play might be a winner, too.
*Actually, I would love to, but, you know, responsibilities.