I’m inviting my 32 best friends & family over for an NFL themed feast. This is what they’re bringing. (In no real order with plenty of mixed-metaphors on the side.)
1. Dallas Cowboy Baked Turkey Breast (white meat) — The center of many NFL feasts & traditions. To many this is the feast, but most realize that it’s disappointing. Even in its best years it was actually bland (Aikman/Staubach), but dressed up with lots of gravy (E. Smith/Irvin/Too Tall Jones) made it a worthy classic centerpiece. Today it’s remembered better than it ever really was and comes in a flashy dish.
2. Deep Fried New England Patriot Turkey – The new way to deliver the classic. It’s moist, succulent, packed with flavor, and talked about by anyone that’s ever had it. There are a lot of technical parts/setup that some may not understand, but it brings more to the table than anything else. It’s somewhat dangerous, so if an inexperienced assistant chef doesn’t know what they’re doing it may blow up (McDaniels) or be underdone and leave everyone hungry (Weiss).
3. Steeler Sugar-Cured Ham — A classic from years ago that still can hold its own as the centerpiece dish. Many people what to leave this style of food in the past as a boring entree that doesn’t fit with today’s style. But those people are jealous of the old family recipe that they can’t seem to copy or don’t have the patience to learn. Real foodies (fans) know it as a classic that fed legions of people and will continue to do so.
4. Green Bay Packer Salt-Cured Country Ham — People were doing it this way before there was a feast. It’s the old way of doing things, but it still belongs at the table because it is so good. Great when it’s hot (Holmgren – 1996). Great when it’s cold (Lombardi/Starr – Ice Bowl). Great with cheese (Favre). It’s the classic that made a Sunday meal into a feast to behold. Then the turkeys showed up and stole its glory.
5. San Francisco 49er Oyster Casserole — An obscure dish for decades until a family with real culinary skills turned it into a classic that everyone loved. Then the head chefs sold the recipe (DeBartalo – Walsh), but never told anyone how to select the best oysters. It’s been sadly disappointing ever since. Most of it ends up in the disposal.
6. Washington Redskin Broccoli Casserole — A stinky staple of any meal, dressed up with cheese and crumbs. The head chef (Snyder) buys the most expensive pans, oven, seasonings he can, but it’s all wasted on bad base ingredients (McNabb, Haynesworth). It takes up too much space on the buffet table. Doesn’t taste too good either. Also it seems to leave a foul funk in the bathroom after the meal is over. Why do we have this every year again? Oh yeah, tradition and a couple of your uncles like it.
7. Bronco Chili — A classic dish in its own right, and loved by most. It just doesn’t fit at the traditional holiday feast table. We kept trying it for years and it disappointed except for a couple of times (Elway). Doesn’t live up to hype now, and tastes best on cool Sunday in October. Rarely so good in late December though.
8. New Orleans Etoufee — A laughable, misunderstood dish that wasn’t doing anything right for years. But did you try that new recipe last year!!?? Man I hope whoever (Peyton/Brees) brought it last year shows up again. Reserving judgment, but it’s earned high honors lately.
9. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza — A loud, messy dish made by a brash uncle (Ditka) that knows how to make one thing. There was that one year when mom was sick and this pizza delivered a feast that was more party than family get-together. Man it was great. Too bad the guys he brought that year focused more on partying and killed too many brain cells in the late 80′s & 90′s. He’s almost got it together again though.
10. Raider Sprouts — Everyone hates brussell sprouts. Everyone except for that one asshole patriarch (Davis) in the family that insists they’re good. He’s gonna bring them every year. Make sure people eat at least one, and F&*$ you for trying to change the recipe.
11. Viking Purple (Green) Bean Casserole — On the table every year. Dressed up with fried onions, red peppers, spices, etc. Hell someone even threw some old cheese on it a couple of times (Favre). Too bad it’s the same disappointing green beans when you dip into them (and the cheese went from Wisconsin gouda to busted-up limburger). There’s a new soon-to-be-ex spouse that brings them every year. The dish finds a new way to disappoint every year.
12. Kansas City Barbeque — Man this stuff is great. It’s what tailgating is all about! Too bad this is a special holiday feast and not tailgating. There’s always a few cousins that can’t stop talking about it even during this meal. A classic for sure that dresses up tired meat (Montana/Allen/Vermeil), but rarely finds a spot on the menu late in the year.
Steak Sizzle – Your hot-shot aunt & uncle for southern California talk this dish up every year. Then they show up empty handed on feast day with a bunch of lame excuses on why they couldn’t deliver. Some years they just don’t show. No one misses them (Fouts/Rivers/all Chargers ever).
14. Giant Mashed Potatoes — As classic as they come (Gifford/Parcells), but rarely a featured dish. With some butter and gravy they can really satisfy and make a meal great. How do they end up so far down the list most years?
15. Philadelphia Stuffing — Can’t have a holiday feast without stuffing can you? Actually you can, and stuffing isn’t required for turkey, ham, or anything else. Lots of people fill up on it, but they’d be better off with more turkey or ham on their plates. People that say they like stuffing more than the meat are just being assholes.
16. Miami Dolphin Cocktails — Loved by many at parties, but only your alcoholic aunt is drinking them on Christmas afternoon. Can’t wait for the New Year when they turn it all around and get back to the way they were in their youth. Been saying that for almost 40 years now.
17. Deviled Jets Eggs — A classic recipe from the old days, but now brought in a new dish altogether. Everyone has one or two just to compare farts later (Sanchez to Namath). Good for a laugh with your boisterous Uncle Ryan.
18. Colt Rolls — Can’t call it a feast without them, but rarely satisfy you on their own (Unitas). One year even the Jet eggs were better. Once we got yeast rolls from a restaurant owner friend. Wish he’d come back again (Dungy).
19. Falcon Beer — Hardly a dish. Most don’t even bother making it, but whoever found that special recipe (Ryan) sure has made it a hit. Maybe they can pair it with a real dish.
20. Baltimore Bourbon & Coke — What your alcoholic uncle is drinking (Modell). They were really a different person in the past. He’s got it together since about 2000, but his recent new found youth is fading we fear. Let’s just hope life doesn’t beat him up too bad and he’s got a few more years.
21. Cleveland ______ — The druggy cousin that lost it all and couldn’t be found on a map for years. Now he shows up empty-handed looking for a meal. Maybe he’s found a mentor.
22. Jacksonville Mac & Cheese — Hardly a ‘classic’, but you have to have something for the kids to eat. It’s really good some years and surprises.
23. St. Louis Ribs — Too much of a mess to deal with most years, but when someone takes the time to make them right they sure are good. Your cousin should’ve written down that recipe from a few years back. I think he’s almost figured it out again though.
24. Tampa Bay Rum Cake — Made right it’s great. Rarely made right. Usually just beats out the bad stuff on the menu and gives those that try it a little sugar rush.
25. Houston Butterscotch Pie — Almost too sweet, but man is it good (Schaub/Johnson). Won’t fill you up though and can’t stand on it’s own due to a lack of real substance (defense).
26. Tennessee Mixed Nuts — Something to chew on while waiting for the real meal to start. But it’s just damned nuts (Young/Fisher/owner).
27. Seattle Fresh Ground Coffee – Enjoy before, after, or with your meal. Definitely not filling, and just makes you wanna shit (Carroll).
28. Detroit Boiled Sweet Potatoes — Classic ingredient, but no one has a clue how to make them right. Boiled? Baked with marshmallows? Why do these suck so bad? Who cares? No one is even taking the time to try anymore.
29. Bengal Fruitcake — It’s actually good if you give the recipe chance, and pair the right ingredients with the right chef. Usually it’s been too full of nuts and bad ingredients to be any good at all, and I think the chefs (Mike Brown/Lewis) are mailing it in. Maybe someone will find the hand scrawled recipe that great-grandpa (Paul Brown) wrote when he helped start the feast.
30. Buffalo empty dish — In years past your sweetest aunt made some great dishes. Then a series of tragedy. The dog snuck in and ate it. The next year she slipped outside and spilled it in the yard. The next year she had a wreck on the way over. The next year she burnt the house down trying to make whatever it was. Even her kids (fans) are suicidal now.
31. Carolina Cool Whip — The kid home from college needed to bring something and their ditzy girlfriend showed up with a tub of this. Thanks. We’ll send them out for ice so their constant grab-assing doesn’t offend grandma.
32. Arizona Soft Drinks — The one person in the family that can’t even make tea buys them on the way over. One year they made home-made root beer that was really good and almost stole the show with some store-bought St. Louis ribs (Warner). Now they’ve lost their job and are buying store brand crap. Big-K, Faygo, and Dr. Bubble are hardly cutting it Uncle Weisenhunt, and keep your belligerent kid (Anderson) off the XBox.