Last night in numbering the reasons for actually having a team to cheer for in the Super Bowl, I pulled out the winning reason: New Orleans has much better food. Apologies to my father who grew up in Indiana and to my love’s mother also an Indiana native…Indianapolis may have some good food but truly no one thinks “Let’s go to Indiana to eat!”

New Orleans on the other hand – I day dream about meals there. Debris sandwiches, Po Boys, beignets, red beans and rice, aspic from Commander’s Palace…I could go on. But one must eat a muffaletta in New Orleans even vegetarians and low calorie, low fat people. It makes for a lovely lunch. None made outside the parish can compare but you still can try. It makes for good football food too.

My Non Native But Makes My Family Happy Muffaletta

1 round loaf Italian bread (no, you won’t get this exactly right unless you are in New Orleans)
3/4 cup olive salad (might be found in your grocer-especially in Chicago area or gourmet grocer (poke around the tapenade area for something chunkier than a tapenade. If worse comes to worse use green olives in oil, some giardiniara, and garlic mixed together and call it good-or I suppose you could look for a recipe)
1/2 lb Genoa Salami
1/4 lb Capicola or Ham
1/4 lb Mortadella
1/2 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/2 lb Provolone

Slice bread in half lengthwise. Brush bread with olive oil from olive salad. Layer the meats alternating with the cheeses. Add top side of bread. Press down. Cut into quarters or smaller wedges.

TV and Retro Food

I picked the children up from school yesterday. We all babbled on the way home, catching each other up on the happenings from the week they spent at their other home. As we walked in the door, there were questions about dinner which I didn’t quite have settled so I said, “Guess what!?!?!?! The Super Bowl is this weekend.” Now that might seem like a non sequiter to you- in my house on a Tuesday afternoon, it causes cheers.

My family? Football fans? No. Not.AT.ALL.

It also caused my 16 yo to look at me and say in his saddest 16 yo boy voice “I really missed you this week Mommy.” Hmmm. This boy went to England for six months without a whimper before or as he came back.” Ok, why did you miss me?”  “Because I missed watching the State of the Union Address with you AND the Grammys!” No. He doesn’t care that much about politics and if the song has words-he generally hates it. What he missed and what my kids look forward to is that sense of occasion with major televised events.

When I got my older kids, the first Super Bowl together was bizarre. My partner has no interest in football. She knew I had no interest in football. She didn’t get the food thing yet. She certainly didn’t get my fascination with tradition and pageantry. I convinced her a few snacks were in order. She worked. Young teen girl deigned to watch with evil me. The younger three kids were in Katmandu or somewhere. Ok, the younger children haven’t actually been in Katmandu-as far as I remember.

The next year the scene repeated with kids bouncing in and out of the room. Denise trying to ignore my once-a-year football thing. And thus…Super Bowl Flamingo House Style. I have a set menu in mind. One must have dip, chips, and a retro appetizer or 10. If the kids are home-meatballs, and of course, R0-tel cheese dip. Dinner will be Super Bowl food. This doesn’t mean Denise doesn’t groan every year.

The Super Bowl TV time-loud…boisterous…except during you know-the important part-the commercials. Last year,  fun because I tweeted about various commercials and sometimes people that followed me were involved in creation and tweeted back. It made me into a temporary superstar.

In any case, TV time is rare and a special occasion in this house. Eating in front of the tv-even more rare. Creating traditions with kids “off-season” priceless.

I suspect 19 yo girl (less than 48 hours on that day from 20 yo girl)  on Super Bowl Sunday will realize she misses me, not just because I won’t be there for her birthday. She will miss me because I bring excitement and fun into something that normally she finds dull.

The younger kids find the actual Super Bowl dull I can hear 14 yo girl complain now…and see her wander to her room. Super Bowl becomes the mommy magic they remember as they grow. It won’t be the food. It won’t be the game. I can’t even tell you who played last year-even though I remember watching. It won’t even be the commercials. The family time-that makes the Super Bowl special.

I could say we watch the Super Bowl because we are Americans. Americans watch the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. I could talk about food, commercials, the clash of the best. I could say (and convince you) we become a part of something bigger than our family. That much true in its own way.  Truly though Flamingo House Super Bowl traditions celebrate the same thing but in a microcosm: competition zeal, undying love, humor, heartbreak, creativity, people who invest their lives in playing the same position. You remember, that greatest of competitive contact sports-the family.

Romantic Chalet Cheese Dip

Do you ski? Kraft has a solution for you! Or they did. I can’t find the Olive Pimento cheese spread anymore-just the pimento cheese spread. (Note for those of you who are foodies out there-Kraft jars of Pimento Cheese are not at all kin to THE Pimento Cheese. They are more like oh one of those Philly cream cheese flavored spreads. It doesn’t matter, just grab two jars of Kraft Pasteurized cheese spreads-maybe near the Velveeta in your store. They could be near the American Cheese case. Retro Appetizer or Cheating Fondue

Anyhow, Chalet dip promises a hot and hearty dip to warm up chilly skiers. I can tell you it is a hot and easy dip or dinner if say you are on your own or just want to have a quiet easy romantic meal without the mess or fuss of real fondue. Candlelight, the two of you sharing a loaf of bread (oh who cares about the 1-inch cubes-tear it like heathens) Grab a piece of fruit or two. Let it go from there.

Or of course, you could pretend it is a fab Grammys or Super Bowl Party food. It is…I just got carried away thinking of my last “fondue” or fond of you night with my love.

Chalet Dip

1 5 oz jar Old English Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread, Sharp
1 5 oz jar Kraft Olive Pimento Pasteurized Neufchatel Cheese Spread
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
French Bread, cut in 1-inch cubes

Combine the two 5-oz jars with sherry; heat thoroughly over low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with bread as dippers. 1 1/4 cups.

Sorry source buffs…that little ripped out piece of magazine has no dating information on it or even anything on the other side that would help me…just the pictures of the jars and I can’t positively id a year for that style.

Blue Cheese Fluff

On the menu for today, also from the 1959 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook: Blue Cheese Fluff. Picture of creepy elf/Pinocchio holding pretzels on his nose from book coming. Also-in comments-please share your ideas for using up a 10 lb wheel of Blue Cheese.

Soften 2 3 oz packages cream cheese. Add 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt and a tablespoon milk. Blend. Mound in serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

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