So there we all were, tucking in to a delicious roast beef, enjoying our Sunday lunch, discussing the terrible weather with my American friends. And as they started talking about American Football I went and spoiled it all by asking something stupid like "so what's your favourite Superbowl food? Is there a top 5?"
Suddenly a fizzle in the air, and the onslaught began:
- "Buffalo wings, gotta have those. And nachos... but you've got to keep adding layers of toppings between layers: Pulled pork, guacamole, salsa, cheese, sour cream, chillies - these all have to be in there."
- "What about Jalapeño Poppers?"
- "Those for sure. Quesadillas, pigs in blankets, chicken strips - gotta have those."
- "You kiddn' me? It's Chicken strips. We haven't even started on the dips we need!"
- "Good point, dude. There has to be ranch, which I just can't find here in London apart from that Paul Newman filth, honey mustard, blue cheese, BBQ...It's just not the same here"
- "You guys remember Lulu's 7 layer dip? Who remembers the layers?"
- "Refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, olives, cheese, and chilli beef. Awesome"
- "We have got to call Jack about this, he would want to be in on this debate".
- "But it's 7 in the morning over there?"
- "He has kids it's fine. Call him."
- "But it's Sunday, maybe he gets a lie-in?"
- "Nobody with kids gets a lie-in, call him."
So there it was, someone picked up the phone and called their long-long friend half way across the world to discuss Superbowl food. He started off groggy and when he heard the various camps and realised we were no doubt slightly less sober than him, he put the phone down with a grunt and a curse. Typical salty Jack someone mumbled.
Flummoxed, the gang felt lost, confused. "How can he be so casual about this? What kind of a fan does he call himself? Ingrate. There he is, Superbowl food on his doorstep, there to nourish and comfort him, and all he can do is groan, ignore and curse. Some people just don't know what they have."
Calming down from the shock of their friend's nonchalance, they tucked back into an extra portion of Yorkshire pudding, lashings of gravy and a healthy measure of tatties. Soon the conversation revived, with Nate piping up and insisting hotdogs, especially chilli dogs really had to be at least in the top three. What about the beer? Apparently Coors Lite is a staple of the Superbowl experience but with the new proliferation of microbreweries there are many more options. This went on for a couple more hours and as the wine flowed, the debate got more heated again.
Then the phone rang.
- "Right you animals. You're not even real Americans you've been based in London so damn long. I've made a list. You forgot fried mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce. I have never been able to replicate this at home so good bars are the way to go."
It occurred to me then that the strongest passions arise in those who are furthest away from their turf. It's the essence of where we come from and it's the most exciting and indulgent pleasure to dive right into those moments, those blissful and childish moments where nothing matters more than 7 layer dip. Food helps take us back there.
This still leaves the debate on what the 5 best Superbowl foods are. And beers. Can anyone help? #Superbowlfave