I’m not a big televised sports fan. But I love the food and camaraderie that come along with watching (or pretending to watch) a championship game.
Hosting a Superbowl party doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cook – you could do a pot luck or buy ready-made food. Even if you are cooking, there are plenty of ways to put together a perfectly wonderful menu that won’t tax your culinary skills or empty your pocketbook. And if you need help finding a few Superbowl-appropriate recipes, all you have to do is glance at the food section of a newspaper, do an online search or simply check out your favorite food blogs.
So what is there left to write about when it comes to Superbowl parties? How about the non-glamorous party advice – the tips that don’t seem important until someone spills the red wine or asks if you’re sure the cole slaw is OK to eat.
Roll your eyes if you must, or sigh deeply – but do finish reading this post if you’re hosting the party. I hope you won’t need these tips, but somewhere in them I’ll bet you’ll find a kernel of useful new information or a link to a worthwhile article or a fact that you know but tend to ignore. This isn’t an exhaustive set of tips – just a few to start your hosting brain going on subjects other than where to put the coats and how much food to provide.
Not-Your-Average Superbowl Food and Drink Tips
- Superbowl foods (except for desserts) tend to be salt-heavy. Keep in mind that some sources of salt are not as obvious as potato chips or pretzels – e.g. sauces like soy and barbecue used on wings or brisket. It helps to offer water and unsalted foods. You can roast unsalted nuts at home or make trail mix. Trader Joe’s roasted and unsalted nuts, especially almonds, are also good. Vegetable sticks and unsalted crackers are a great alternative to salty chips with dips, hummus, or guacamole.
- Although perhaps not typical Superbowl food, fresh fruit is a nice balance to junk food – chunks or slices of pineapple; watermelon or other melons; grapes; clementines; and/or navel orange slices. Remember to wash grapes and the rind before slicing oranges or melons.
Safe Food Handling
- Don’t leave hot or warmed food out for more than 2 hours unless you’re keeping it at a safe temperature in a slow cooker (crock pot) or on the stove. If you are using a slow cooker, check this handy food safety tip sheet from the USDA.
- For a constant supply of chicken wings, beef barbecue, or similar hot food, start with one batch, then heat and put out a new batch after 2 hours.
- If you buy take-out or someone brings a hot dish hours before you’re going to eat, don’t leave it on the counter – refrigerate the food and reheat it just before serving.
- If food is supposed to be cold, keep it at 40 degrees or cooler. You can “nest” plates or dishes of cold food in bowls of ice to keep their temperature down.
- Wash your hands before and after handling food and encourage others to do it too! Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid spreading germs.
- Minimize guests’ contact with food served from communal platters, baskets or bowls. Instead of replenishing serving plates, replace them with clean ones filled with “untouched” food. Use relatively smaller size bowls or baskets for chips and similar finger foods.
Cleaning Up Spilled Food or Wine/Beer/Soda
- Blot up the excess food or drink – don’t rub it in.
- Clean the stain promptly – stains are usually more difficult to remove once they have set.
- Which cleaning method to use depends on what is spilled and what cleaning materials you have available. Here are tips on cleaning up spilled red wine and beer. There are lots of different cleaning techniques – here are others for red wine.
- Not that you or your friends will drink too much, but do help your guests to avoid hangovers.
- Don’t let anyone who appears intoxicated drive home after your party. I didn’t have to tell you that, right?
Now that you’re prepared to deal with the non-glamorous side of the party, enjoy your guests, the refreshments – and yes, the game.