I am! I am! I grew up in a household where football was sacred; spending my early childhood in Buffalo, NY — the home of some of the most devoted football fans in the world, thank you very much — meant avidly following the hometown team. During the playoffs, I remember face paint, household decorations, and even a Bills sweatshirt for our dog, who was generally humiliated by the whole affair and spent most of the day hiding in her bed as we jumped up and down, screaming and stamping our feet like lunatics. Ah, the sweet sounds of the season.
So naturally, Super Bowl Sunday is a big deal for us. It would be nice if our team ever got anywhere near the playoffs these days, but regardless, a football fan is a fan of the sport no matter who’s playing it. My folks are coming into town for the weekend and will watch the big game with us. We’ve been agonizing over the menu; this is a day where we throw caution to the wind (mostly) and just go big.
Not TOO big, though. It’s possible to have great Super Bowl food that’s also not going to land you in the cardiac unit at the local hospital; and it’s possible to also include some things for the kids that are souped-up, homemade, better-for-them versions of the processed stuff most people will be scarfing down this weekend. Mom and I were mindful, as we put our menu together, of including things that at least resembled vegetables and fruits; we also included no deep-fried items. Shocking, I know, for most Americans, but enjoying a pigskin feast doesn’t have to mean you’re, well, a complete pig.
Our family Super Bowl menu will include homemade Buffalo wings (of course), with the requisite carrots, celery, and blue cheese alongside; grass-fed beef sliders; bacon-wrapped scallops (an old family favorite); baked eggplant “fries;” sweet potato pancakes; apple-cheddar turnovers; and layered banana pudding cups. It’s not the most super-healthy menu in the world, but it isn’t intended to be — this is, after all, a football party. And, as always, I maintain that if you make all of the food yourself…from real ingredients…with reasonable cooking techniques (no Fry Daddy here, folks)…it’ll be vastly better for your family than anything you could get on a take-out menu, or in the freezer section of your grocery store.
It occurs to me, speaking of the grocery store freezer, that I also owe you all a Kids’ Meal Makeover for the week; and what better day than a Food Revolution Friday/Super Bowl Special? I’ve been musing on which of the kids’ meals to tackle next, and while pizza seems like the obvious choice for a Super Bowl meal, I was bored with the thought. And chicken nuggets are a good topic for almost any day, sadly, so those were out, too. But the CORN DOG…now there’s an idea…
I will say up-front that I have never eaten a corn dog; nor do I ever intend to eat one, not even in the name of research for this blog. I’m not a big fan of the hot dog anyway (especially since there are some brands that I can’t be reasonably sure don’t contain actual dog), and something about impaling mystery meat on a stick and then dipping it in batter and frying it just gives me the willies. I’ve been sort of eyeing that Kids’ Cuisine corn dog meal with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation, knowing that the day would come when I’d have to conquer it, even if I didn’t want to. But corn dogs are good stadium-style food, and now is as good a time as any to face my fears, I guess. So I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter to tell me: What in God’s name is the appeal of the corn dog?
Their responses helped. Mainly, I was told, it’s the combination of the sweet batter and the salty interior, along with the mustardy or vinegary twang of the condiment one might choose. Interesting. Still not going to eat one…EVER…but at least I had something to go on with that information. And I came up with something that probably bears little or no resemblance to an actual corn dog, either in appearance or in flavor, but is a respectful homage to the real thing. J. and I rated my efforts a B or B+, while the kids — especially L. — gave us an enthusiastic A. I have to weigh their votes pretty seriously in this matter, since I’m trying to make something that appeals to kids’ palates, not necessarily to mine or J.’s (we both thought they were pretty good, but would have wanted more zing or spice or something…precisely what most children probably WOULDN’T want).
So here, friends, is my makeover of the “Carnival Corn Dog” meal (shudder) — recipes at the link. I’d swap the corn dog for my Honey-Mustard Burger Muffins; replace the french fries with Sweet Potato Pancakes (maybe even with some applesauce on the side for dipping); and offer up some Crazy Pudding in place of the carnival-sprinkled chocolate pudding they’re serving. Also, the frozen meal contains corn as a vegetable, which I find mind-blowing considering the fact that there’s already plenty of corn to go around, so I’d recommend something else. Anything else. Maybe even something green, like Orangey Green Beans?
Enjoy. And if you’ve got a great homemade tailgate food idea, share it in the comments section!