WHAT DID the Barbarians (Real Men) eat before they turned Rome into an ashtray?
What did John Wayne eat before he went to Guadalcanal and punched it in the mouth?
What doesn't Orson Welles eat?
And for that matter, what doesn't he drink?
These questions have perplexed quiche eaters like Pete Rozelle, Georgia Frontiere, Wellington Mara and Jack Donlon for the past XVII years, but seeing as the BOWL is upon us, let us take a peek into the Real Man's food locker and show these quiche munchers what Real Guys are stockpiling in preparation for the Real Man's High Holy Day. BEVERAGES
COKE: Real Men know that it is the "Real Thing." And as far as that other soft drink is concerned, if a Real Man wants something clear, light and caffeine-free, he drinks water.
BEER: The Real Man's staff of life, an essential staple for any Super Bowl Feast. I said beer, not light beer. Real Men do not drink light beer, although they do appear in light beer commercials. Why, you ask? What are these guys doing making commercials that champion the cause of light beer, a brew that is beneath contempt, the blank cartridge of the beer family? In order to answer this question I quote a well-known commercial-rich quarterback who recently said, "Light beer, schmight beer--I just bought Pennsylvania to use as a putting green."
But let us move on. Real Men will drink bock, pilsner, lager, porter, stout or ale as long as they are properly prepared. In terms of specific brands, the ultimate Real Men brew is of course Iron City Beer from Pittsburgh, Pa. Real Men always know that it is fresh; if it's more than two weeks old it eats its way through the can. Real Men will also drink imported beers, but will not touch brews with long foreign names, sporting baroque European logos, which have in fact been fermented and bottled in Nutley, N.J. "There are still some great American beers to be had: Bud, Michelob, Miller, Schlitz, Genesee and Strohs, to mention a few. But I for one would never be so presumptuous as to tell a Real Man which one to guzzle. I will say this, though. Once he chooses his brand, he marries it, it becomes his beer and no other will do. He'll drink it by the glass, can, stein, bucket, vat or tankerful. You can blindfold him and he'll still pick his brand out of a hundred different beers, either by its taste or the crushability of its can.
So much for Super Bowl beverages. Let us now go right to the heart of the matter. CHOW
First of all, Real Men eat on Super Bowl Sunday a) Because they're hungry, b) To get through half-time, c) To cut down on small talk. As in preparation for any major operation, Real Men do not eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the pregame interviews begin.
There are always some foods present at a Super Bowl Feast that are similar in appearance to sporting goods, such as Devil Dogs (relay batons), Ring Dings (hockey pucks) and pickled eggs (golf balls).
Some foods are ideal for Super Sunday because of their multi-purposefulness. For instance, you can get a fabulous "spiral" on a Twinkie when you pass it across a room; canned beverages are perfect for "hand-offs," and you can "spike" a slab of beef jerky without fear of staining your rug.
PLAY ACTION FOOD is an absolute must. This category of grub consists of popcorn, Fritos (and I don't mean gourmet popcorn or Frito Lights--these items are best left to those watching the Quiche Bowl), potato chips, nuts and the like. As the game action builds, these foods can be eaten at a rapid-fire pace. When moments of great triumph occur they can be tossed into the air and caught in the mouth. And when a "get tough" attitude is in order there is nothing quite like the sound of a handful of nuts being crunched defiantly by a set of manly molars. As far as dips go, a word of warning: Real Men watch linesmen turn one another into bean dip, they don't eat the stuff.
Both VICTORY and DEFEAT foods are always present at Super Sunday banquets. As all real men have known since the day that Romulus "whupped" Remus, up until the moment that Sugar Ray Leonard hit Thomas Hearns so hard that his "grandkids'll be born dizzy," someone has to lose. A bunch of guys huddled together in a room on Super Sunday have not come together to prove that "I'm OK, You're OK." To the contrary, they are there to prove that "I'm OK (if my team is winning) and You're (not) OK (if your team is losing)." Therefore appropriate vittles must be close at hand. If your team is losing and its defensive line looks as tough as Velveeta, you might as well eat some--on white bread. When your room temperature is higher than the total amount of yards your team has gained, have a cream puff. And then there's chili. When the guys you're rooting for exhibit all of the physical prowess of Chevy Chase locked in a room full of marbles, show 'em that if they can't take it, you can. Get angry. Get it off your chest. Have a bowl of chili so hot that when you put crackers in it, they melt.
Either fried chicken or ribs are great victory food. You can point them at people and say, "I told you so!" And after every bite you can lick each one of your fingers as your grin spreads from ear to ear. Steak is the Real Man's hunting trophy and every winner deserves his slab.
Now that your team has taken it all, fought the good fight, gone for the gold and gotten it, now you can have your cake and eat it too. I don't care what kind of cake it is, if your team won, eat a cake.
And now it's over.
The championship rings have been distributed, the champagne has been bathed in. The winning quarterback can start sifting through endorsement offers.
Only two chores remain for the Real Man. He must toast his buddies and the players with a shot of Jack Daniel's (because, as Gatsby said, we ARE all "sports"). And then he must clean up, because by this time it will look as though his living room got sick.
Then all he can do is sit back and relax (at the edge of his seat) and wait until next year for the XVIIIth best meal of his life.
Here are some of my Super Bowl favorites: RED DOGS IN A BLANKET (Makes 3 dozen)
For a snack, first buy some tiny hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages at a supermarket or deli. Next make the following biscuit dough: 4 cups flour 6 tablespoons baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons sugar 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups milk 3 dozen tiny hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages
First sift all of the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, blending them well. Then cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, add them to the dry ingredients, and either with a pastry cutter or by rubbing the mixture together with the heels of your hands, blend the mixture until it has the consistency of rough corn meal. Next add the milk slowly, working it in with the back of a large wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough.
Now sprinkle a board with some flour and roll the dough out onto 1/4-inch-thick sheets. Cut the dough into strips long enough to wrap around your wieners and wide enough to cover them end to end. Take one wiener at a time, roll it up into a strip of dough and press the end of the dough toward the wiener so that the dough does not unravel during baking.
Place the "Red Dogs" on a lightly greased baking sheet in the top portion of your oven and bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until nicely browned.
Served with mustard and your favorite relishes. SUPER BOWL OF BEEF AND BEER (12 servings) Cooking oil 6 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 8 cups sliced onions 10 cloves garlic, chopped 7 cups beer 2 cups strong beef bouillon 3 bay leaves 1 tablespoon oregano 5 tablespoons sugar 1 bunch parsley (just the stems; real men don't eat flowers) 4 tablespoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons vinegar
Fill a skillet with 1/2 inch of cooking oil and heat until the oil is smoking hot. Brown the beef a skillet-full at a time on all sides. Then brown the onions, adding more oil if necessary. Make sure the beef and onions have been drained of as much oil as possible; then place them along with all the other ingredients except cornstarch and vinegar in a large baking casserole and bake at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the beef is fork tender.
Take cornstarch and vinegar and mix them together until the starch has dissolved. Place the casserole on one of your stove's burners, bring the stew to a simmer and mix in the starch mixture. Simmer for a couple of minutes and the sauce will thicken.
Serve with noodles, fried potatoes or garlic bread. STEAK SINATRA (Makes 3 hero sandwiches) 3 loaves Italian bread (sandwich size) 3 tablespoons imported olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons basil 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano 4 cloves garlic, mashed 1/2 medium onion 1/2 medium green pepper Salt and pepper to taste 8-ounce good steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 tablespoon steak sauce 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce Several healthy squirts of hot pepper sauce (optional)
This is a very fast saute'. First cut the bread in half lengthwise, and scoop the soft center parts of the bread out with your fingers. Then heat the bread halves in a slow oven. Heat the oil in a skillet over a high flame until very hot. Once the oil is smoking, add the basil and oregano and saute' several seconds. Add the garlic, saute' several seconds more, add the vegetables, again saute' for a moment, then add the meat. Stir the mixture until the steak is done to taste, stir in the steak sauce and worcestershire sauce. Spoon onto the bread and serve. JACK DANIEL'S HANDBALLS (Makes 18 man-sized handballs) 1/2 cup strong hot black coffee 18 ounces semisweet chocolate 2 1/2 sticks sweet butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Old #7 Bourbon Whiskey 1 1/2 cups unsweetened dry cocoa
Place the coffee and chocolate into the top of a double boiler or a saucepan, heat over simmering water until chocolate begins to melt. Then beat the mixture until smooth and begin to add the butter a chunk at a time, beating constantly until all the butter has been absorbed. Next dribble the Jack Daniel's in slowly, once again beating the mixture steadily. Now chill the mixure for 1 1/2 hours. Once it has begun to set, take large spoonfuls out, roll them into handball-like shapes, then roll them around in the unsweetened cocoa.