By Dennis L. Morgan
In a few days, this nation will celebrate an ‘unofficial’ holiday — Super Bowl Sunday.
It’s a day when millions of dollars will be waged on the outcome of the game as well as a number of other things connected with the battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers.
Having been told recently how the Packers are God’s team, I don’t quite know how to describe the Steelers. Are they America’s blue-collar team even though their colors are black and gold? The Steelers will be making their eighth appearance on the ultimate stage. For the Packers, this will be their fifth chance to be crowned the world champions of professional football.
I know this dates me, but I remember watching the first such Super Bowl, between the Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs and, since that time, only missed one game on the television.
This year will mark the 46th Super Bowl and the invites are coming in from friends who would like the presence of my wife and I at their celebration of all things football. Is it my company, my presence they want to share on this grand day? Hardly. If the truth be known, I think I am just an accessory because what they really want is my wife to make some of her favorite culinary delicacies to devour.
I’m fortunate, when such invitations arrive, I know I will get a chance to enjoy some of my favorite foods. That isn’t to say that Lynell doesn’t treat me well the rest of the year. She does, but for special occasions she raises her ‘kitchen skills’ to another level.
The first Super Bowl we saw together was the 49ers versus Miami. Eight months before we married, I vaguely remember the game. I think we were more concerned about not becoming dehydrated, rather than stuffing our stomaches.
That changed, like other things do, after we were married. She wasn’t the most knowledgable football fan so the first order of business was to have her sit down and watch every highlight show of the previous Super Bowls. Needless to say, after watching that marathon of shows, her knowledge of all things ‘Super’ had changed.
Then came the Elway Super Bowls. When the Broncos found their way to be blown out by the likes of New York, Washington and San Francisco, Lynell was doing her best to feed my friends with such treats as her ‘hot’ chili, taco soup and, on one special occasion, chicken spaghetti. Still in our 30s, those foods were more filling than necessary on Super Bowl Sunday and often led to unnecessary heartburn after everyone went home.
By the time the Cowboy years came along, ‘heavy’ foods were replaced by lighter fare. Hamburger/cheese dip and quesadillas were popular items while we paid more attention to the commercials than those blowout games. There was a period of years when the games just weren’t very good.
That all changed when the St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans. I think that was the first year she prepared ‘pig on pig’. There’s something about pig on pig that hits the spot. Small sausage weinies wrapped in bacon, then baked with brown sugar. Held together with a toothpick, it’s simple finger food which packs a powerful punch on the taste buds. They are best served warm to hot because when the dish cools, it’s not the most pleasant sight.
In recent years, two other dishes have made their way onto the table spread of tastebud sensations. One is smoked salmon/artichoke dip, another is the cream cheese/crab meat cocktail dip. One a hot dish served on toasted french bread, the other served cold on the cracker of your choice, both are designed to be demolished before the end of the game. Here’s my simple rule. I take it easy on these items during the first half, instead sampling the other fare. But, after halftime, it’s each to his own. If you walk away hungry at the end of the game, it’s your fault, no one else’s.
So, come Sunday, if you venture out or hold your own party, there should be an abundance of ‘cheese’ foods to honor the cheese-head Packers. If you are a Steelers’ fan, maybe it should be lunch-box foods in honor of the blue-collar work ethic, maybe some haluska (cabbage and noodles) or Steelers’ chili made with Jack Daniels whiskey. Just make sure it is food worthy of a ‘super’ spread.
And, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can join a number of Americans who will call in ‘sick’ to work the day after.
Blame the cheese or the haluska, just don’t blame me!