People who have trouble coming up with themes for parties always love Super Bowl time. If there was ever a party with a built-in reason for being, it's the big game gathering.
Anything football-related is a go, and considering that this is the day on which a couple of billion chicken wings are expected to be consumed, those are a must-have as well.
But what if you want to go beyond the surface and do some foods based on the competing teams or the host city? This year presents some unique challenges and opportunities in that department.
Let's face it: Indianapolis is a great city, but it doesn't exactly have a huge food identity. However, one of the city's classic dishes is also custom-made to be the center of a groaning Super Bowl board: the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. This is basically slices of pork tenderloin, usually pounded flat with a meat mallet, marinated, breaded and fried to golden brown deliciousness. The toppings and accoutrements are as limitless as your imagination.
For your game spread, try cutting the tenderloin in smaller pieces and doing the sandwiches slider-style. Pick four or five different preparations, or just set up a "make it yourself" bar with various options to let your guests craft their own masterpieces.
New York can be as simple or as complicated as you like. While every food in the known universe is available in the city, ask 100 people and 99 of them will most likely identify pizza as the Big Apple food. Thanks to Nathan's Famous on Coney Island and the annual Fourth of July gorge-a-thon, they might also say hot dogs, but let's save those for when the Bears make their next trip to the championship game.
Just as with the tenderloin sandwiches, you can set up a make-your-own setup for your guests. I'm going to admit to a culinary sin here: I use store-bought pizza crusts. Yes, the homemade ones are superior, but with two kids and three jobs, I just don't often have time to make it. Therefore, I give you dispensation to do the same. You can even cut a pre-made crust into smaller pieces to allow two-bite pizzas to be made.
When it comes to the Patriots, it's helpful to remember that they're the New England, not just Boston, team. Sure, a pot of Boston baked beans would make a great side, but you could also go high-end with some lobster creations or even use some of New England's famous maple syrup to make desserts like maple blondies.
If it's soup weather and you've got fans of both teams coming to your party, try competing pots of New England and Manhattan clam chowder. Just be sure you have lots of napkins on hand in case the game (and the crowd) turn unruly and the comestibles begin flying.
You'll have to have some chips and dip on hand, of course. And I've recently made a chip discovery that deserves to occupy one of the bowls on your table.
Crisproot chips, made from cassava root rather than potatoes, are a ridged chip custom-made to hold tons of whatever dip you've concocted. They come in original, sea salt, barbecue and a Thai ginger flavor that you'll want to eat straight and in large quantities.
While Super Bowl parties aren't traditionally a time when healthy eating is high on the priority list, with Crisproot you get all the crunch of potato chips with less fat and double the fiber. You're not sacrificing anything, so why not give them a shot? You can find them here, and they've even got a free shipping offer if you get a party's worth.
So, there's your menu set up. Friday, we'll talk about some adult beverages!
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