Many of the best bites for TV watching, after all, already had been explored by Bonnie and Food editor-on-leave Joe Yonan during previous Smackdowns — foods such as nachos, chili and guacamole. They even covered the all-encompassing “meat” category a few years ago.
Ultimately, we opted for salsas this year, which, ahem, jibes perfectly with the two East Coast teams that will compete for the Super Bowl crown on Sunday. Looking to shed her status as the Washington Generals of the annual Smackdown, Bonnie engineered a salsa recipe as complicated as the Mars orbiter (not!, she says), incorporating four kinds of peppers, ingredients from three separate cultures and a crunchy element that renders tortilla chips almost moot.
I made a Tinker Toy salsa (guacamole with add-ins, she says) by comparison — a gringo’s homage to the late Ninfa Rodriguez Laurenzo’s creamy green sauce served at the Tex-Mex restaurants that still carry her name.
Smackdown I: Chili
Smackdown II: Guacamole
Smackdown III: Meats
Smackdown IV: Nachos
Smackdown V: Healthful snacks