Most people who know me well, know that I am a huge fan of American Football and that my team is the New England Patriots.
Before anyone groans, or accuses me of jumping on a bandwagon, I’d like to point out that I’ve been a Pats fan since the days before it was something to feel slightly apologetic about (apology often being the British response to success! ).
In fact I was introduced to football by a chap from Boston back when Drew Bledsoe was the Pats QB, and vividly remember his injury and the team’s subsequent change in fortunes under the then unheard of, third round draft pick from Michigan, Brady.
So as you can imagine, for many years past, watching the Super Bowl has involved staying up until 3am in the morning and booking the following day off work. It has also led to some creative watching scenarios when JT didn’t have cable, including setting my laptop up to Skype just in front of the television and turning up the sound!
Nothing was going to leave me more excited therefore, than the chance to watch the Super Bowl in the same place as JT and have the Patriots play in it.
Even non-football-following Americans love Super Bowl (possibly less so when it’s the Pats playing but you can’t have everything) and they also love a themed party. Pinterest abounds therefore, with clever printables and decorating ideas. My favorite site is Living Locurto, written by Amy Locurto, a fellow Pats fan and hugely successful DIY lifestyle blogger. With the help of her free printables and a few items picked up from Walmart I was able to put together a reasonable mini party for two, with chips, dips and my home made spicy chicken wings.
The chicken wings started out as a Martha Stewart hot wing recipe. But I decided a few years back to dump the flour and pan frying, for a dry rub of my own invention and 25 minutes in a 425f oven.
My dry rub recipe is essentially a mixture of smoked paprika, chili powder, red chili flakes, Colman’s mustard powder, sea salt, black pepper and Italian herbs, all ground together with my big, stone, pestle and mortar. I leave the proportions up to you, I tend to go heavier on the smoked paprika and chili flakes and lighter on everything else in a two to one ratio and then just size it up depending on the number of wings. I rub the wings in oil, pat on the dry rub and let them sit while the oven heats up.
For the blue cheese dip I return to Martha’s recipe, although I tend to chuck in what ever cheese I have lying around, so on this occasion I bunged some blue cheese and goat’s cheese left over from Christmas, in the blender with some plain yoghurt and whizzed it smoother than Martha suggests. JT doesn’t really like the glaze so I don’t always bother. When I do I add in some BBQ sauce to the ketchup and hot sauce. As you can tell, weights and measures aren’t a necessity for my version of this recipe, which I why I love it, and once you find your own flavor and texture satisfaction point, it is a matter of minutes to reproduce it.
Like my Christmas decorations, each year I like to add to my Super Bowl “collection”, so this year I bought beads and mini referee flags. The helmet was a gift many years ago, I picked up the football shaped chip bowl, traveling in Boston in 2002 and the foam finger and pom poms are from more recent years. This year I bought football plates and napkins from Super One and picked up the playing field tablecloth from Walmart for a couple of bucks each. I used the cupcake printables from Amy as peanut holders and her glass stem labels on the celery sticks. We were of course drinking Budweiser and as this is Michigan, yes we packed our cans in snow to keep them cold.
And as for the game itself? What can I say but wow?! Atlanta played amazingly and shut. us .down. so hard that JT wrote the Pats off by half time. Even I didn’t think we could win, although I have seen Tom Brady come out swinging several times after a poor first half. In fact, I have seen so many games where we rallied late and ran out of time to win that in past seasons I have joked that if only they played five “quarters”, we’d be fine.
In a never-before-happened-at-Super-Bowl moment, we got our fifth quarter, and a nail biting finish which left the dog retiring to the other settee so he didn’t get disturbed by my leaping up, and me glad that we no longer live in a terrace with neighbors.
So Tom Brady got his fifth SB ring and I hope some vindication after the controversy of “deflate gate”. The Patriots, Brady and Bill Belchick, achieved numerous new records. Atlanta fans got the proof they are a team to be reckoned with, and JT and I got another great memory, oh and some nifty new SB champions gear!
Any Given Sunday is a 1999 film directed by Oliver Stone about a fictional Miami based football team. It takes a completely new look at American Football, showing football as war. A fascinating article by THOMAS GOLIANOPOULOS reexamines the film in the light of the new Will Smith film, Concussion and says it is still as relevant today. In the light of how political this year’s Super Bowl was, both the article and the movie are worth your time.
“Stone wanted the action in Any Given Sunday to match the brutality and chaos of Spielberg’s depiction of D-Day. He planned to capture the game as it had never been filmed—from the huddle to the trenches to the infirmary. Blood and viscera and broken bones included. Football, in his hands, would be even more anarchic than the game on television. “