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Cramming It In

February 3, 2014

My eyes are bigger than my stomach. Maybe it’s genetic, because it seems to run in the family. I heard from my father that he used to receive the same rebuke from his parents.

Most of the time I’m fairly moderate. But Super Bowl Sunday is one day that I decide to throw moderation out the window. One of these years it’s going to catch up with me and I’ll have to start some other tradition. Part of me feels that day is coming sooner rather than later. For now, I’ll stick to my annual rites.

Still, how many people out there have a difficult time eating all of the things they have set their sights on for the big game? Well this year, I thought I had a clever solution all figured out.

The game itself isn’t all that long. Kick off was at 6:30 and by 10:00 it was over. That’s only three and a half hours of eating. Clearly the answer is what football fans have known for decades: pre-game.

Little Miss Fussy and I drove out to Hoagie Haven around three o’clock and got back with our stash at four. That was when I announced that our family’s Super Bowl party had officially begun. We opened the tubes of Pringles for the kids. I cracked by first beer. The children got some kind of fizzy grape juice. But most importantly we dug into our stash from Hoagie Haven.

I have to admit to taking a nibble of one of the mac-n-cheese wedges on the park bench outside this famous local sandwich shop. Holy cow, those are amazing right out of the fryer. They only go downhill, and they do so precipitously. Fortunately, the kids don’t mind that much. This menu item is nothing more than cheap mac-n-cheese from a box that’s been cut into wedges, battered and deep fried. But the textures are just so satisfying when the outside is crisp, and the interior is meltingly tender and slightly runny.

My pre-game treat, as planned, was the New-Jersey-centric sandwich that included pork roll, eggs, bacon, hash browns, hot sauce and a handful of those mac-n-cheese wedges layered into the hoagie. It was kind of incredible. And it went remarkably well with a Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues (representing the great state of Colorado).

That left me time to prep some of the last-minute stuff before kickoff. There were carrots to peel and stalks of celery to slice. The blue cheese dressing had been made the night before. And the Frank’s Red Hot dust had already been gathered from the plates upon which it had been dehydrated.

Then there was the matter of the Buffalo sauce and tater tots. One stick of butter later and I had everything I needed. A few minutes after six I sat down with round one of my Buffalo-style bounty and a Red Hook Long Hammer IPA (representing the great state of Washington).

You know, I think the problem was that I may have made a few too many tots and a bit too much of my sauces. Because I kept going back for these through the first three quarters of the game.

And that was a big problem, because I hadn’t yet used my Frank’s Red Hot dust on the popcorn as I had planned. Plus there were the Hot Buffalo Wing pretzels that were also waiting in the wings.

Thankfully, I finished the tots and was able to make this experimental batch of Buffalo popcorn in time for the fourth quarter. Earlier in the day I had a brainstorm about this dish. It would probably be even better if instead of using clarified butter, I drizzled the fluffy popped kernels with rendered chicken fat. The added side benefit would be that I could share the resulting gribenes with my kids who have a newfound love for crispy chicken skin. But I chickened out.

Maybe next year. Or maybe not. The experiment didn’t work out quite as well as I had hoped. Although perhaps I need to slightly rehydrate the dust in the butter first, or quite possibly add some dehydrated vinegar to the popcorn bowl to balance the flavor.

I shudder to think what would have happened had I not extended the festivities by two and a half hours. As it stand I can’t even imagine eating anything beyond bran cereal today, and I fully expect that when I next get on the elliptical machine that I’ll be excreting butter through my pores.

Maybe next year is the year that I go healthy. Or maybe it will be the year that I grow up and avoid all this madness altogether. We’ll see.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2014 1:27 pm

    This year I made homemade onion dip but I used Greek style fat-free yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo or cream cheese. It was delicious – a healthier alternative, especially if you dip carrots and celery sticks instead of ripple chips, which I did not.

  2. Jessica R permalink
    February 3, 2014 2:42 pm

    Dehydrated vinegar? Surely you jest.

  3. Mike permalink
    February 3, 2014 4:34 pm

    Our strategy was to snack in waves. Started around 2 in afternoon. Nachos, drink, settle. Chips and dip, drink settle. Chicken wings and mini hot dogs with homemade meat sauce, drink, settle. Dessert, coffee, sober by halftime. Needless to say I still paid for it this morning.

    How did you like the Dale’s Pale Ale? It’s one of my favorites. A little bigger and hoppier than you average pale ale.

  4. February 3, 2014 8:15 pm

    I would like to have been a fly on the wall during your Super Bowl party.

  5. February 4, 2014 1:09 am

    Closed the store up at 5:30pm, didn’t get to leave until 7pm (as the Chowder Fest had literally wiped us out . . completely!). What to do in a pinch? Stopped in at the BarBQUSA and grabbed a rack of Memphis style dry rub ribs. Made it home in time for half time (not that I actually care about football, but watch the Super Bowl every year regardless). . . and I must say that I found the ribs to be quite tasty, although slightly dried out. . but not enough to cry about. Sides (beans and mac and cheese). . were . . . well . . . the beans were decent but only because I enjoyed the sweet spicy they add to them. And the mac and cheese? I got the crap that Daniel had fried . . without the fried goodness to make it worthy. Just mushy flavorless. But hell, I didn’t go there for the sides. Ribs were decent.

    If you can get that Frank’s Hot-Corn to work .. do share the final recipe. The thought makes my mouth water. I vaguely recall a brand of popcorn that was made with Tabasco sauce years ago and it was one of my guilty pleasures.

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