You can have your vat of chili or your sprawling, oozing deli platter or your plates of fiery wings, but I use Super Bowl Sunday as an opportunity to wander down a path in the supermarket where, for the rest of the year, I dare not tread: The Aisle of Chips. That industrial-size bag of Cheetos? Load it up. The "hint of lime" Doritos, so thickly dusted with fake flavor that they leave your hands gritty? I'll take two. So what if the high-salt diet makes my head as puffy as the Goodyear blimp. If it goes with ice cold beer and doesn't require me to miss a minute of the game or the commercials, then it's food for Super Bowl Sunday.
This same relaxation of standards does not apply to the tubs of incredibly bad dips in the supermarket refrigerator case (guacamole the consistency of wallpaper paste), the glass jars of gelatinous cheese dip or the aisle full of dried soup mixes, those envelopes that are ripped open and their fake and salty dried contents folded into a vat of sour cream. Here's my thinking: I can't make a Frito as big as a garden trowel, but I can sure buy one and use it to shovel up homemade onion dip.
The trick to dipmaking (see recipes below) is to take the lessons learned from Lipton, Knorr or Heluva Good packaged products (I'm fondly recalling onion, leek and bacon horseradish, respectively) -- dips of heft that stay in the bowl even if you turn it upside down. You want something that tastes good and doesn't look fussy -- if it resembles bruschetta or cries out for broccoli to be dunked in it, then you're cooking for the wrong sport. You want something that belongs in a paneled rec room with a TV screen as wide as Gilbert Brown, something that any football fan can grasp in one hand while he gesticulates wildly with the other over the back judge's failure to call defensive pass interference. Is it loaded with fat and calories? Oh sure. So let the Food Police put my head on a stake. This is not the day for a bowl of tangerines or celery sticks. This is Super Bowl Sunday.