It’s been the most talked about news for the last few days – and I’m not talking about Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement. Superbowl fever is here again and come Sunday, the whole of America – well OK, those who are not seriously cheesed off by their teams not getting through -will be on the edge of their bar stools as they wait to see whether it will be the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons who’ll emerge victorious. Those who know me know that I haven’t got a sporting bone in my body but as I’m now a New Englander, I obviously want the Patriots to do well (sorry everyone!)
Last year I was pretty chuffed to have got to America just in time to see the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in Superbowl 50. And just before that we also watched the Patriots suffer a crushing defeat which obviously did not go down too well with the locals!
I’ll admit I won’t have a clue what’s going on! I don’t know the rules or how the game is played – despite Mr. D. trying to explain it to me a million times – but then why would I?
Sporty I may not be but one thing I can understand is the excitement of the country right now. I may not be a football/soccer fanatic but I’m jumping up and down as much as the next person during World Cup and Euro Cup seasons and never miss an England match (yeah let’s not talk about that!) and always make sure I have the best seat in the pub when I’m watching a game – complete with cider and a plate of pub grub of course. It’ll be no different in America on Sunday with packed bars across the country as everyone desperately waits to see who’ll be the new NFL champions.
But I know that not everyone will be watching the Superbowl in a crowded bar or pub. Superbowl parties are very much the rage here and some people will be celebrating with family and friends in the comfort of their own homes rather than “pay the over hiked prices in bars” – and why not? I think a Super Bowl party sounds like a great idea. As everyone knows entertaining is very much my thing, and I have to say it definitely sounds like my kind of party: there’s no pomp and ceremony, you don’t have to get your glad rags on, and there’s this mixture of a laid back, chilled out vibe combined with a feeling of excited anticipation as the guests get psyched up as much as the players!
As a relative newcomer to America and American football, I had to ask around in order to find out how to put together an awesome Superbowl party. I now wish I hadn’t left it so late in the day to throw a party myself but… There’s always next year!
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
- Decide who’s coming: invite your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, your hairdresser, local barista… Invite who you want but be sure that you have enough space to accommodate your guests and that you can cater for large numbers.
- Work out your budget for food, drinks and the necessary extras.
- Get some bedding handy for anyone who might be staying over because they’re too drunk to drive – or heartbroken!
- Alternatively keep the number of a reputable cab firm handy!
- Ensure there is adequate seating for everyone as you don’t want any of your guests to stand the whole time. Drag in your garden chairs if necessary; borrow folding chairs and bean bags. If worst comes to the worst people won’t mind the floor or stairs.
- Get the tables ready. You’ll need one large table to hold the food, and then a few smaller tables within people’s reach to rest plates and glasses on.
- You may not know for sure until the day but consider whether you need to move the TV from its current location and position for maximum viewing benefit. After all, people are there to see the game so you don’t want any disgruntled guests!
- Drinks coolers and ice buckets – it might be cold outside but who wants to drink warm beer?
- Bottle openers – a must unless you want people opening bottles of beer with their teeth, or worse, your furniture!
- Napkins – cloth not necessary!
- Disposable cups, glasses, plates, and cutlery – it takes a brave woman – or man – to get out their best crockery and silverware knowing that they’ll have a never ending mountain of washing up to do afterwards! Just make sure you choose good quality cutlery because if there’s when thing I can’t stand it’s plastic cutlery shattering when I attempt to use it.
- Serving platters, trays and bowls
For one day you can go absolutely football crazy in your home!
- Use flags, posters, pictures, footy gear or anything else that screams football!
- Get inspiration for your colour scheme by using the colours of the teams that are playing.
- Decorate the main food table to resemble the football pitch.
- Decorations don’t have to cost the earth. Streamers and banners are relatively inexpensive, and use ordinary latex balloons rather than helium ones if you want to keep the costs down.
- Get crafty by creating decorations from crêpe or tissue paper.
- Beer, beer and more beer!
- Hard lemonade
- Sweet tea
I figured that much of the food would be classic American fare – and I wasn’t wrong. The food doesn’t have to be ‘fancy’ – not something my mother would ever want to hear – it should be quick and simple to prepare and serve and if it’s something that can be prepared in advance, so much the better.
The food tends to be fried or baked finger food, a little on the stodgy side with little need for cutlery, although you should provide some anyway. There’s no need to try to ‘elevate’ any if these dishes ( this isn’t Masterchef!) and food is generally served buffet-style so guests can help themselves as and when they want and load up during the game.
If you’re pushed for time and/or cash you could:
- Kindly ask everyone to bring a platter. This will also ensure that most dietary requirements are covered.
- Make big batches of dishes like chilli or lasagna which can be made in advance and frozen.
- This isn’t Come Dine With Me so if you can’t make everything from scratch, don’t be afraid to order in food or visit the freezer section at the supermarket.
- Its always good to offer a selection but don’t feel as though you have to give the kind of selection found on a restaurant menu!
- My own personal choice would be a minimum of six different appetizers; two mains, and a minimum of desserts.
- Don’t forget the sides for your main dishes and the accompaniments for the desserts.
- If you choose to go for one main only, you could always set up a build your own tacos, burritos or even sandwiches station with all the components laid out and your guests choose what they want. This way thry feel as though they’re getting a choice but how practical this idea is depends on space and the number of guests – there is also likely to be a bit of a wait.
- You could always choose one type of dessert e.g. brownies, cupcakes, cheesecake, cookies etc. Whip up a huge batch of the batter or dough, then divide them into portions and give each a different flavour. Once baked, you could give them different toppings.
- Its OK if you wish to forgo mains and dessert. But if you choose to serve snack food only, ensure there is a reasonable selection to choose from and make sure quantities are plentiful. It’s going to be a long game and people will get hungry. Furthermore, its also a good idea to have some ice cream in the freezer for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Obviously you can serve any kind of food you wish during the game. Use the suggestions below as a guide.
- Chicken wings
- Chips and dips
- Potato wedges
- Pizza rolls
- Fries with cheese and bacon
- Soft pretzels with cheese dip
- Mini blooming onions
- Pull apart garlic bread
- Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce
- Anything battered or breaded including shrimp, calamari, chicken bites, mushrooms or zucchini.
- Loaded potato skins
- Steak sandwiches
- Fried chicken
- Pulled pork
- Chilli nachos
SIDES AND ACCOMPANIMENTS:
- Potato wedges
- Mashed potatoes
- Green salad
- Bread rolls
- Sweet potato mash/fries
- Onion rings
- Fruit pie bars
- Ice-cream cookie sandwiches
TO SERVE WITH DESSERT:
- Whipped Cream
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel sauce
- Fruit flavoured sauces
Whatever you’re doing on Sunday, I hope you all have a great time – and may the best team win!