The first Super Bowl was held back in 1967, when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. The game, referred to some back then as “the Supergame,” was not the major party day that it is now. But what would the host with the most have served guests back then?
I hauled out my copy of “The New York Times Menu Cookbook,” which appeared a few months before the game. Those who partied by the rules set forth by its author, Craig Claiborne, would have had a “Lunch for a Football Game” menu already planned.
All they would have had to do was assemble the ingredients for the following:
- Bean and Olive Soup
- Ham and Cheese Hero
- Mustard Butter
- Egg and Tomato Hero
- Carrot and Fennel Sticks
- Nutmeg Date Bars
It’s interesting how much of the menu has stayed the same. Ham and cheese subs, carrot sticks and, of course, beer are still with us. Beans are often a big part of the party for people, though they’re found in chili and not a soup. (Yes, Texans, people not from the Lone Star State often muck up their chili with beans. It’s a sad fact, but true.)
Yet, when was the last time you saw raw fennel strips on a vegetable tray? Sounds good to me. It’s crunchy, has a delicate licorice flavor and adds a nice complement to the radishes, carrots, celery and whatever else you’re serving.
Equally good is a mixture of 1/2 cup butter and 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard to create the wonderful sandwich spread known as Mustard Butter.
For the Egg and Tomato Hero, simply butter rye bread, then cover with thin slices of hard-cooked egg. Top with thin slices of tomato, freshly grated horseradish and lettuce. Great vegetarian treat, if you can find ripe tomatoes this time of year.
If that’s not enough for your buffet, you could add another did from Claiborne’s collection. It’s for cold Chili Fried Chicken, which you can make the night before.
Don’t go entirely retro, though. Would any of us swap today’s flat-screen TV for a tiny black-and-white model from the late 1960s? And don’t get me started on the coffee. The beer, too, is better, thanks to the wealth of microbreweries today.