Celebrate Steelers vs. Packers frugally
Food and beverages are essential to a Super Bowl party. Here's how you can honor your team's traditions without spending a lot.
Two of the NFL's favorite teams are ready to face off in Super Bowl XLV. How can you celebrate your team appropriately -- honoring the best traditions of these franchises and football-crazed communities (and we mean that with great respect) -- without a helmet-to-helmet hit on your budget?
You can be frugal without going overboard (you know, like the kind of money Brett Keisel saves on shaving each year).
I've scoured the Web -- and my memories from growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania -- to bring you some recommendations for Super Bowl food and beverages that are both authentic and affordable. We also have advice if you're buying a new, huge TV for the game.
First things first: The Packers-Steelers battle for best Super Bowl food has already begun. For example:
- The Star Press in Indiana hosted a Battle of the Super Tastes -- pitting beer cheese soup (Pack) against a homemade version of Primanti Bros.' iconic sandwich (Steelers). (Note to the author: Pittsburgh is in the western part of the commonwealth known as PA, but still too far to order Primanti's takeout.)
- Another food showdown -- in Wine Spectator, no less -- pits the Kroll family's butter burger against the Roethlisburger (with a nice review of sandwich traditions in each city).
Fun fact: The Steelers bar is two blocks from the Packer fans' bar -- in Rome, Italy.
Now, for your own celebration:
- Steelers: Iron City. If you're not in one of the 38 states where it's sold, good substitutes are Rolling Rock and Yuengling.
- Packers: Wisconsin = beer. Leinenkugel, perhaps? Not available? Miller will suffice.
Food: Both cities treasure their working-class roots, so nothing fancy (expensive) is required to eat like the hometown fans of your team. Post continues after video.
- Cheese curds. They are best when they're "squeaky" and deep-fried.
- Brats. Epicurious' Sheboygan-style beer-soaked brats recipe gives some guidance to dress them up for game day.
- If you've watched a Steelers game on TV, yinz -- oops -- you have probably seen video of Primanti Bros., the sandwich place that puts the coleslaw and fries between the bread, along with the meat, etc. Courtesy of Pittsburgh native Leslie Huffman, writing in the Cary (N.C.) Citizen, here's a simple homemade version. For a more complete recipe, here's one from The Washington Post.
- Kielbasa. Epicurious has another gussied-up recipe for the game.
For dessert? Klondike Bars for Pittsburgh fans. Frozen custard or kneecaps (little cream puffs) for Green Bay fans.
For grazing during the game, many fans recommend chips and dip that match your team's colors -- combinations of black and gold or green and gold. And if you must have wings, Consumer Reports came out with its picks for the best from the frozen-food section. (During commercials, you can either watch, or compare the merits of "Here we go, Steelers" vs. "Go, Pack, go.")
Decorations: Again, nothing fancy required.
You also could print out or make construction paper replicas of Lombardi trophies for the wall. At the start of the game, Pittsburgh gets six; Green Bay gets three. (Heh heh.) We're not counting Green Bay's nine championships before there was a Super Bowl. When the game is over, put another one up in the appropriate spot.
Now for the TV. Buying a new TV this late in the game -- just for the big game -- likely constitutes an impulse buy. But if you're determined and you've saved up, our friends at dealnews.com offer a TV-buying guide. Also, while the Super Bowl won't be broadcast in 3-D this year, new 3-D TVs can convert the image -- with mixed results. For more about that, see this dealnews post.
OK, Pack fans, did I get it right? If you and the Steeler fans can add frugal and authentic ways to honor your team, please do so in the comments below.
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