Food Friday: Game Day!


Perhaps you will be entertaining this weekend. There is a nationally televised sporting event on Sunday, but like invoking Harry Potter’s nemesis, Voldemort, mere mortals (or non NFL commentators) are not allowed to call it by its name. But you know what I mean. Football. Big guys. With lots of commercials.

I am not very interested in sports, but a couple of times a year Mr. Friday enjoys watching the odd baseball game or horserace, and considering how many hours of The Crown and Escape to the Country he has endured because of my Anglophilia, I think I can make time for one football game.

When we had our friend over a couple of weeks ago for the Puff Pastry Beef Wellington versus Choux Pastry Cream Puff Smackdown, we served a smallish bowl of WASPy carrots, celery and radishes, along with a big wooden bowl of popcorn for nibbles before dinner. Were we being spare and creative, or had we run out of time to prepare more elaborate fare? Were we balancing the Puritan aesthetics of simple popped-on-the-stovetop popcorn, dressed merely in Irish butter and table salt, with the more elaborate and baroque Beef Wellington, wrapped in a blanket of delicately browned, multi-layered casing, already enveloped in a mushroom and olive tapenade?

The truth is that we ran out of time, and I was out of ideas. Making créme pat can be so exhausting! Doritos did not seem appropriate. And homemade popcorn is so good. And cheap! Heavens. It probably cost about $1.39 to fill that bowl with popped corn. And it was a big, huge, over-the-top, wooden, wedding present-worthy, salad bowl. (Think of a Caesar salad prepared tableside at the Four Seasons back in your mythical Madison Avenue three-martini-lunch past.) And our friend ate practically every kernel. Triumph does not come often to our kitchen, but that was a night of ringing successes.

I have often proclaimed (to those who would listen) that there are a couple of food that exist just so we can indulge our deep insatiable desire for melted butter. Lobsters and popcorn. But we cannot keep a bag or jar of lobster in the pantry for everyday butter cravings. Luckily, there is popcorn.

And there are myriad ways to season popcorn. I think good butter and salt are just perfect. But our Tall One, who is all about smoked meats and real Southern Barbecue, is a fan of this variation: Bacon Drizzled with Creole-Spiced Butter, from, wait for it, Garden & Gun. If you are not worried about heart health, give it a try.

Here is a good Eastern Shore-flavored popcorn recipe:

This one might be a little fancy. I am all for store-brand corn oil and Diamond Crystal salt, which could explain my relatively low number of Instagram followers…

And where would we be without Martha? Pecorino and rosemary? Hmmm. I guess I’ll have to iron the linen cocktail napkins.

And of course, our friends at Food52 have an interesting variation on the theme, without being over the top. I like their paper bag idea, too. We can hand out bags of popcorn at this Major Sporting Event on Sunday, and not worry about ironing the cocktail napkins, or letting Luke the wonder dog practice his Hoovering techniques among our guests feet. I like tidy. I like sweet and salty, too.

Have a great weekend!

“Don’t you go to the movies?”
“Mostly just to eat popcorn in the dark.”
― Charles Bukowski

“The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter.”
― Dave Barry

About Jean Sanders

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