Southern Hospitality: Super Bowl Party

Just a few more days until Super Bowl 2013! I've got to say, it is truly bittersweet considering how close our beloved Falcons came—Atlanta playing in New Orleans for the NFL championship would have been pretty epic. But the show must go on. Never one to shy away from a game day celebration, I've rounded up a little entertaining inspiration to get everyone in the spirit. When it comes to a good Super Bowl party, I am all about keeping it classic (read: classy). No plastic turf table cloths or football-shaped cheese balls here, y'all. When it comes to decor, simple is always best.

  • Send out a cute invitation and print a matching menu to let guests know what's cookin'. (Paperless Post is my favorite way to customize virtual paper goods.)
  • Flowers should be one color please, and do not feel the need to match them with the participating teams' colors. (Trust me, maroon and gold buds never looked good anywhere.) Yellow or white roses would look nice.
  • For serving food, buffet-style is always best for a football party since it allows guests to serve themselves at their leisure. Set up a side table topped with a simple white runner. Add bowls, mugs, cutlery, and rolled cotton napkins. (Don't forget about the fixin's!) Chili, soups, and stews look great served in the very Dutch oven they were cooked in.
  • Set the bar up in another area, with a galvanized bucket packed with ice and a variety of craft beer. (Place a shower liner underneath a tablecloth to prevent water damage.) Make a big batch of the signature cocktail ahead of time and keep it in a pitcher on the bar. Arrange appropriate glassware, garnishes, and cocktail napkins nearby (along with plenty of ice) to keep it foolproof.

With the surge of food blogs these days, it seems that everyone is always trying to one up each other in the "ultimate" recipe department. Call me crazy, but sometimes (most of the time) I just think it's best to stick with the classics. Take the Super Bowl for instance. No one, and I mean no one, has ever complained about a tasty dip, strong margaritas, and a warm bowl of chili. ( A tray of fudgy brownies never hurt, either.)

  • Agave Margaritas - Agave syrup in a margarita is not exactly a revelation, but it does makes for a tasty twist on the classic. These from Bon Appetit should fit the bill.
  • Ultimate Seven Layer Dip - A friend brought a double batch of this Cook's Illustrated dip to our SEC Championship party, and it was the biggest hit of the night. (Trust me, it's a far cry from the open-and-dump recipes of yesteryear.) I think it would be impressive served in individual glass dishes if you were so inclined.
  • Pork and Green Chile Stew - Walt's Aunt Becky made us a batch of green chile stew for Christmas and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Until I swindle the exact recipe out of her, this one by Emeril looks pretty similar. (Bonus points that it's make-ahead!) Walt and I added white rice, which I think is a very welcome addition.
  • Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting - A pastry chef I used to work with introduced me to brownies topped with whipped peanut butter frosting. My life has never been the same, and yours won't either.


Image sources: Board one: Paperless Post, Blooms by the Box, Camille Styles, Today's Nest Board two: Two Tart, Food & Wine, Real Mom Kitchen, Little Red House