I’m already getting an appetite for the big game


Thanksgiving does two things for me each year: It causes me to re-evaluate my eating and exercise habits as I inevitably wake up at some point on the floor with a piece of pumpkin pie stuck to my chin, and I set about making a New Year’s resolution that focuses on my propensity to, well, wake up with a random dessert item on my face.

I absolutely love it. I love the turkey. I love the sweet potatoes. I love the pies. Heck, I even like spending time with my family for those few days. But I overdo it every single year, and every single year I promise myself that I’m not going to overdo it again.

And I mean that when I say it. I sincerely do. I accept the inevitability that I am going to continue my gluttonous ways through Christmas, most likely have a ridiculously decadent New Year’s Eve dinner and then, like zillions of other people, I will start the new year with renewed health and wellness in focus. “This is the year,” Hopeful Me says to Regular Me. “Everything changes this year and I stay on the nutritious superhighway until my life is different.”

“No, you won’t,” Regular Me replies to Hopeful Me, with a sinister smirk on his otherwise remarkably-handsome face. “The Super Bowl is in February.”

Blast.

Thanksgiving ruins me in an avalance of meats and carbs, all washed down with a pitcher of gravy. The Super Bowl on the other hand... oh, the Super Bowl. Her weapons are impressive, ranging from “Football Whoopie Pies with Cinnamon Cream” to “Pepita Guacamole” to “Caramelized Onion Dip with Crispy Shallots.” 

Oh, yes. The Super Bowl is not just for wings, chips and pizzas, anymore. It has been elevated to a gastrological festival of creative culinary concoctions — an event that is not just treasured for the competition on the field, but for the one-upsmanship by partygoers in regards to each individual’s contributions to the game’s food ensemble. Those items I mentioned in the previous paragraph did not come from Sports Illustrated or Pro Football Focus. No, they are from countryliving.com, in a slideshow titled, “45 Easy Super Bowl Appetizers to Make Game Day Delicious.”

Country Living’s article also includes “Cajun Sausage Puffs with Bourbon Mustard” and “Chipotle Braised Chicken Nachos.” Not to be left on the outside looking in on a worldwide dining event, the Food Network (foodnetwork.com/big-game) also created an area dedicated to Super Bowl yummies, and features items such as “Triple Pork Sliders,” a “Spicy Cheddar Cheese Football,” “Smoked Gouda-Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers” and “Lasagna Cupcakes.”

Can we just all take a moment and reflect on the times we are living in together when “Lasagna Cupcakes” is something we can have? And someone else is telling us how to make them for ourselves?

America is great again, ladies and gentlemen. And the proof is in the “Lasagna Cupcakes.”

You understand my problem here, right? We come off the stuffing-fueled high that is Thanksgiving and Christmas, embark on our quests to change the way we nourish ourselves and... Boom. “Lasagna Cupcakes” and “Cajun Sausage Puffs with Bourbon Mustard” make an appearance. Are you kidding me?

Why not just throw together some “Blue Cheese Potato Chips” while you’re at it? Oh, that’s right. No need. Taste of Home is sharing that very recipe on their site for the game, along with a “Bacon Cheese Spread” and “Loaded Baked Potato Dip.”

 The Super Bowl is no longer “must-see T.V.” as much as it’s a “Must Eat Par-Tee.” We make plans for where we’re going to “watch the big game” long before we even know who’s playing in “the big game.” It is not Tom Brady against Aaron Donald, or Todd Gurley against Kyle Van Noy that has the attention of most Super Bowl party revelers, it’s the argument over eating chicken wings dry or with a “Honey Peach BBQ” sauce (Thank you, rockrecipes.com!).

I have no true willpower. If I did, this would not be an issue. I would be able to sample a lit bit of everything at the party, and know that it was a case of me cheating a little bit. But, truth be told, it’s not cheating when it’s regular behavior. If I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and sneak out back during work to light up, that is not “cheating.” It’s contributing to my three-pack-a-day habit. 

The same goes for food. Me eating four wings, dipping three slices of pizza into bacon cheese spread and taking down nine lasagna cupcakes isn’t “cheating.” It’s continuing my cruise on the S.S. Blimpo.

The Super Bowl has become an event like no other. Rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, male or female, white or black, religious or not, we all gather together to eat amazing food, enjoy some cocktails, and visit with friends and loved ones. Heck, we even watch a little football.

But that’s secondary. The real stars of Sunday’s action will be the appetizers.