Let’s get this out of the way first: Those maps that allege to use some sort of analytic to quantify the sometimes-weird proclivities of each state — favorite sports team, favorite color, least-favorite Kardashian, etc. — are almost certainly based on junk science. Sometimes-fun junk science, but junk science nonetheless.
“Basically you should never take seriously any conclusion drawn from data, or any visualization, that doesn’t give you information about the uncertainty or noise involved,” data scientist Roban Kramer told Lifehacker in 2017 when asked to critique a map of each state’s most misspelled word. “Before taking these kinds of maps seriously, I’d want to know things like how big the differences are in the counts of the first- and second-most misspelled words, how different the frequencies of these words actually are from state to state, and how stable the rankings are within a state from month to month.”
Now that we’ve got the nerdy caveats out of the way, Google Trends has come out with what it claims are the most “uniquely searched Super Bowl foods” in each state, and, man, some of you are having some far-out Super Bowl parties.
Not you, Arkansas and Pennsylvania (chicken wings). Nine states go with buffalo chicken dip, as God intended. Even Hawaii, with its adorably specific searches for football cupcakes, gets high marks.
I’m talking about some of the rest of you, who clearly have issues.
California: Baked chicken breasts
The Golden State has a lot going for it. A Super Bowl party promising dry mounds of flavorless protein is not one of those things. Leave this party immediately.
Just salads. Probably potato salads, knowing Idaho. That’s fine, though mayonnaise-based potato salads should be banned by Congress.
Iowa: Irish stew
“I hope this Super Bowl party has some stew.” Any human who ever has said this should be studied by science.
I enjoy both Maine and paella. I cannot possibly imagine tucking into a bowl of this Spanish delight at a Super Bowl party. Have you ever made paella? It takes like nine hours, and ideally it’s made in a pan the size of a manhole cover. You’ll miss kickoff and have no stove space and your Mainer friends will have nothing but that weird Moxie to sustain them. Nice Super Bowl party, Enrique.
Massachusetts: Gluten-free pretzels
What in the world? Look, Massachusetts, we all know you love Tom Brady and probably think he’s the best, but you’ve taken the TB12 thing way too far here.
Mississippi: Granola bars
Ah, granola bars, the fake-healthy staple of every child’s school lunch. Imagine, just for a minute, being offered a granola bar at a Super Bowl party: “Hey, you should check out these granola bars, they’re really something.” See, you can’t do it. It isn’t possible.
Montana: Lentil soup
Nevada: Vegan cheesy bacon spinach dip
It’s like an overly woke child found a mad-libs cookbook and decided to get freaky. Every word takes the reader on a bizarre adventure.
New Mexico: Pea and peppercorn mash
I’m not entirely sure what this entails and am not about to find out.
Oklahoma: Chicken noodle soup
More soup. Oklahoman Super Bowl parties are exclusively hosted by grandmas.
Oregon: Banana bread
Look, at some point you’re going to want dessert at your Super Bowl party, and hopefully it’ll be one of those terrifying monstrosities you see on those autoplay Facebook posts, such as deep-fried triple-Oreo cheesecake baked Alaska. Banana bread is for when you have purchased far too many bananas and nothing else.
Washington, D.C.: Bagel pigs in blanket
I have lived in D.C. since 1993 and have been to many Super Bowl parties here. I can safely say I’ve never once encountered a bagel pig in blanket at one (or at any party anywhere). And frankly, the OG pigs in blankets you buy in the freezer aisle are perfectly fine. No need to put on airs and try to wrap it in a bagel (how?).
It probably should be noted, as the Comeback does, that Google Trends has since tightened the parameters of its Super Bowl food map: Now it’s the “relatively uniquely searched Super Bowl recipes by state, past week,” and the foods listed are much more Super Bowl-traditional.
Except for Nebraska, which apparently is searching for “cream cheese jalapeño hamburger” because it wants to watch the Super Bowl alone.
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