Super Bowl LIV in Miami is right around the corner, which means Super Bowl parties are also right around the corner.
And you know what that means. Super Bowl snacks are also right around the corner! (So many things lurking behind the corner.)
In an effort to help you get ready for the big 49ers-Chiefs game and the inevitable big feasts that will surround it, here are 15 tips related to Super Bowl Sunday snacking. Please heed them at your own risk:
1. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon
Super Bowls broadcasts are longer than your average NFL game, so the last thing you want to be doing is dragging yourself across the finish line. We've all had that one friend who gets eager as soon as the pizza comes out and downs a whole pie before kickoff, then gets the ambulance escort during the Lombardi presentation, and, to be honest, that's never fun. Pace yourself.
2. Get a carton of Heluva Good! French Onion dip
This is not optional. That's why it's listed so early. I don't particularly care if you like chip dip or not. Someone at your party -- your spouse, your friend, the neighbor who snuck in through the back door -- will thank you for this salty, creamy concoction.
3. Pizza is a must (and don't be afraid of the chains)
What's a Super Bowl party without a cheesy, saucy combo? And yes, you're bound to get better, richer quality by going local or tossing your own dough, but don't let anyone drive you away from a Domino's or Pizza Hut box if your heart desires. This is Super Bowl Sunday, after all, not Health Food Day. (If anyone's asking, I'll take some breadsticks and a thin crust.)
4. Don't settle for slimy wings
Chicken wings are obviously a Super Sunday favorite, but if you're getting bone-in wings that have rubber for skin, you might as well not eat wings at all. Not saying you've got to go full-on crunch or boneless, but have at least a little respect for yourself and your guests. Nothing rattles a person to their core like biting through Buffalo sauce only to end up sinking teeth into something resembling Jell-O. Know the best wing spot to order from and don't screw around.
5. Prep your ice trays
You're not one of those people who drink soda at room temperature, are you?
6. Have either cake, cookies, donuts or ice cream on hand
Everyone knows there's a separate compartment in our stomachs for desserts. And we'll obviously want something to counter all the salty snacks that come beforehand.
7. If there are cookies, there needs to be milk
Try explaining to your guests why you thought to separate the two was a good idea.
8. If there is milk, it needs to be kept cold
Unless you're looking to spoil your own party -- literally.
9. Feeding a big group? Go with chili
Aside from being just generally underrated and incredibly hearty, chili can be cooked way ahead of time with a Crock-Pot. Less stress for you right before kickoff. It makes a great entree on its own. It pairs well with chips and dip. It's the New England Patriots of Super Bowl snacks -- so good, so consistent that it feels like you're cheating the system. Oh, wait ...
10. Guac it up
Your wallet lets out a small yelp every time you bring a container of guacamole to the checkout line, but on Super Bowl Sunday, there's no reason to feel bad about spending a little extra for the good stuff. In fact, if anything's going to have your guests begging to be invited back in 2021, it's the guac. If Chipotle has to triple-check with you whether you're OK with the upcharge for their green paste, just imagine how grateful your friends will be getting it for free.
11. Use paper plates and cups
Look, unless you've been dying to unveil the antique china you just inherited, there's no need to make Super Bowl Sunday the same date as your biggest dish-wash of the year. Imagine being a Chiefs or 49ers fan, watching your team lose the most important game of the season -- and, perhaps, your entire life -- and then having to walk into the kitchen and take care of a small army's worth of dishware, complete with leftovers crusted in place. You'd never host a Super Bowl party again. You'd also never use real plates again.
12. Don't let quiche anywhere near your party
13. There's nothing wrong with a standard veggie tray
If you're a "cultured" foodie, you probably look down on a platter of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and Ranch dressing. Don't. Veggie trays can be boring when surrounded by saltier, heartier munchies, but they are such a respectable fallback and/or cleansing option.
14. Just don't forget the fruit tray
If you're going to roll out the veggies, you have to bring fruits, too. Mainly because no one knows the actual difference between the two (how many times have we re-defined the tomato?), but also because fruits make for a delectable side dish. If you can manage to get your hands on a fresh honeydew, you should buy it without hesitation, then hunt down the patch it came from and get the rest.
15. Don't go overboard on the cheese
Cheese is good for topping pizza and chili, and if you're doing nachos, that works as well. But your guests are going to be feeling pretty bloated because of the circumstances already. There's no need to shove even more dairy down their gullets by making other things unnecessarily cheesy -- like fries or hot dogs.