Ok people, it’s that time of year again where we gorge on wax, bones, pots filled with mystery sludge, crispy crunchy things, and anything else that gurgles…….sounds like the best Halloween party EVER!!!! Sadly, I am talking about Super Bowl Sunday parties…yeah, now it just sounds horrid, doesn’t it? I get it, it’s the big game, you’ve been watching all season and have your pools and squares. Most of us don’t have a horse in this race, but we still love to cheer on the underdog or just hope for a good game while stuffing our faces with every possible nasty thing we can pull out of a can, bag or prepackaged styrofoam container. Even I am guilty of liking certain things, that I will reveal later, that hardly resemble anything edible…oh yeah, even I am allowed. Not all is bad, but I am gonna throw some penalty flags and call out some bad plays.
Flag #1. Unnecessary Dipness
You’ve all seen this, eaten this and have made this….and guess what, I think it’s sooo good too. Even though I can make my own with REAL cheese and homemade salsa, I am guilty of eating it regardless especially with Scoops, now those are just genius! But let’s take a minute and talk about FAKE CHEESE. Velveeta, a block of wax. Every time I eat it, I feel like I coat my stomach with a layer of wax which then acts like a luge for everything else I eat after. Yea, gross….and trust me, this isn’t my worst critique yet today. This stuff is also amazing, the ease of using it as it always melts, consistent in color and always maintains itself once it’s rewarmed…. wait, we are talking about cheese and not a candle, right? I mean it’s perfect as far as cheese product goes! You can’t screw it up. As much as I can bash it, I respect it. Back to the dip itself, I mean it’s amazing…. the acidity and freshness from the salsa cuts perfectly through the creaminess of the “cheese” and you can add ground chorizo to it to kick it up a notch! It’s so freaking addicting. LOL! So I give this one a guilty thumb up, but try making it from scratch, it’s FAR better than you can even imagine.
Oh boy…. there is nothing good about bean dip. I mean it looks exactly like what comes out later…clearly, I haven’t had one bean dip I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. It just always tastes like spicy mud, because again the process begins with a processed can of beans that gurgles its way out paired with yet, another jar of salsa to create a concoction that looks like a bowl of farts. Do I really need to say anymore to get you to stop making it? Just think about it before you proceed this Sunday.
Ok, based on the picture above…. this thing looks like it’s the most amazing thing with all the different textures, ingredients, even colors! Taste wise, it’s not so bad, if the dipping logistics were consistent. WHAT???? Yeah, you heard me dipping logistics. The problem with this dip is that one jerk that only likes the cheese and sour cream and hates tomatoes, so this person takes a spoon or their chip and shoves the tomatoes and other 4 ingredients aside just to get to the beans or ground meat, cheese and sour cream totally disrupting the space dip continuum. Now the dip is off ratio and someone is eating more tomatoes than they want to or those poor things end up on the side and left aside. Ok, fine, I got a little dramatic with the logistics, but you know what I am talking about. Just respect the process people and this could actually be a successful dip, so look at who your guests are and then decide if they can do this dip justice.
THE CALL: Dips are a great thing to snack on throughout this 5-hour game, plus hours of pregame! They make for great starters and fillers and even dessert! Salted Caramel with Apples anyone?? YUM!! Anyhow, the problem is that people have too many dips that come out all at the same time and just result in a salt lick buffet. Advice: Mix cold dips with warm ones and add healthier dips like pico de gallo, fresh guacamole or hummus to offset those that came out of jar or a can. You can still use the same accompaniments, so no issues there. Also, space out your dips. Why does dessert have to come out before the game? And if you have 2 warm dips, have one prepared when people walk in and start warming one up half way through the night! Keeps your guests wanting to eat more and find out what’s next! It’s the best way to not have to rush to get them all out by 4pm like you are on an episode of Chopped, because I guarantee you will miss something. So always remember, vary your ingredients, spread out your times and NEVER DOUBLE DIP!
Flag #2 – Too Many Wings on the Field
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEM! I love making them, eating them and serving them. What I hate, is that most everyone does it wrong. So this rant isn’t about how bad the food itself is, but more so how people just get it wrong. First off, the wings themselves. Don’t be stingy and get those styro wrapped wings that come in a pack of 50 that look like they came off a quail. That’s just being cheap and they are called buffalo WINGS not Buffalo BONES. Chicken is CHEAP. It’s a cheap protein and it doesn’t need to be scaled down any more than it already is. So just buy normal sized wings that have meat on them even if that means you have to spend a whole 3 cents more per pound, you are feeding friends and family, not a homeless shelter. If you buy whole wings, kudos! BUT, BUT, BUT……if you decide you want to cut them yourself to separate the wing from the drumette, be careful and precise because bones are SHARP when not cut properly, there’s risk of loose bone fragments that can be ingested and we aren’t really throwing a Halloween party. Now on to the sauce, my favorite part and the ones people screw up most. One rule: spicy does not equal flavor. As a matter of fact, you can have tons of flavor without spice. GET CREATIVE!!! Don’t be that guy that just makes buffalo wings out of a pre made jar sauce…I mean it’s Hot Sauce and Butter…really, you need premade jar to do that? Give yourself some credit. Also make different kinds! Nobody wants to eat 100 buffalo wings with blue cheese and celery, I’m sorry, it’s true. It’s boring and lazy. Don’t think you BBQ sauce fans are getting away either, Open Pit is not an option unless you add horseradish and adobo chile and lime to it. Now that’s the sauce, not that sticky tar that comes out. Also, don’t just cook your wings one way, create a variety of baked, fried and grilled wings to please the health conscious as well.
THE CALL: You don’t have to be a chef to make great wings, there are basics to follow, but the flavor world is your oyster, so WING IT! Get creative with the dipping sauces and skip the carrots and celery, it’s pointless and just is a vessel to eat extra blue cheese that you know you don’t need. For those of you that get catered wings from Hooters passing them off as your own, you know who you are, you aren’t fooling anyone, we all know the truth, so just own up to it, we will still judge you.
Flag #3 – Roughing the Host
Now, I know this isn’t a food related topic, but it is pertinent to Super Bowl Sunday parties as well as parties in general. First of all, if you are hosting a party, expect some helmet to helmet contact and late hits. People are just that stupid. Guests promise to bring one thing and end up bringing nothing. Some guests bring things of which none is even edible enough to set out on the table so you shove it in a “forgettable” corner on your counter and conveniently remember it as they leave. Some guests bring a bag of chips, ice or even those God awful store bought cupcakes with that colored icing and a stupid plastic football pick on top, respect them, at least they aren’t trying to kill you.
Now, the flipside, if you are invited to a Super Bowl party, listen carefully, don’t bring anything you wouldn’t eat! Don’t bring leftover enchiladas last night telling us it’s a new kind of dip and don’t bring something that’s been in your freezer for 3 months passing it off as fresh. We all know what freezer burn tastes like. Along those lines, don’t unload your old bottles of unfinished liquor on us either, no one wants to drink that 15-year-old half bottle of Goldschlager, it’s not Scotch. Not only is that just gross and pointless, it’s disrespectful to your host. If you aren’t a cook, this party isn’t the time for you to experiment making guacamole for the first time, just because it’s green, doesn’t mean it’s good. Those of you that are cooks, don’t get all fancy and start bringing brie with strawberry preserves and water crackers, this isn’t a wine tasting, even I’ll give you crap for that. Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the day to validate yourself as a Michelin star chef, really, it’s not. If you can’t bring anything that adds value, then don’t bring useless junk out of duty, just be gracious and offer to help set up and clean up. That goes a long way than bringing an obligatory carton of French Onion Dip with the price sticker still on it, but with NO Ruffles with Ridges, that’ll just put your host in a frenzy.
THE CALL: Most of this is common sense, but sometimes duty and obligation clouds what we really should and shouldn’t do as guests and hosts. As hosts, we have a perfect vision of what the party should be like, but guests can’t read our minds. We just have to accept what we are handed and smugly deal with it as appropriate (psst, load up on trash bags). As guests, I know your intentions are good, but they aren’t always enough. Again, don’t bring something that you wouldn’t eat or drink and don’t give us what you don’t want. Also, don’t be that idiot that brings their own 6pk of a craft beer that doesn’t share, immediate party foul! Bring beer to share, chips to munch on or call a bakery and pick up some awesome desserts! You can never have too many on Super Bowl Sunday!
Final thoughts…. don’t stress yourself out for Super Bowl Sunday if you are hosting. Have as much fun planning and prepping for it as you will during the party. You are a product of your own doing! Take risks with food and get creative! Ditch the true and tried, make your own new traditions. Football isn’t a prefixed and prefabricated game, the outcome is what they make of it, and so is your party. Cheers! Go Panthers!