While no more than a blip on the screen in the rest of the world, the Superbowl is a major media event in the United States. Imagine the finals of the World Cup combined with a live rock concert supported by all the major international conglomerates. The Superbowl is not so much a sporting event as it is a spectacle. People with no interest in the sport, the game, the teams, or the players watch the game simply because everyone else is and it will be the topic of discussion the next day or two at work. The Superbowl is excessive, and if there's one thing America is good at it's excess.
Americans could probably learn to love soccer, if someone could just figure out a way that we didn't actually have to watch the games and could concentrate on beer, food, or diet commercials. How can we be expected to watch something for 45 minutes at a time without interruption? Jeez! A major draw of the Superbowl is the commercials shown during the game. In order to increase profits, the NFL (National Football League) increases the number of commercials shown during the game, and increasing the half-time, to make the game itself a mere distraction. Being the most watched TV event of the year, the network is able to charge premium prices for the commercial breaks. This year CBS is reportedly charging $3.1 million for every 30-second spot. In other words, in five minutes the network will make more than the $30 million being cut from my school district next year.
Of course, if we're going to watch several hours of commercials, we need to fuel ourselves for the endeavor. In neighborhoods across this great nation, people with gather in bars and in homes to drink and eat to glorious excess. More avocados are consumed this weekend than in any other weekend of the year, more than 43 million pounds, according to the New York Times. People try to relate the food to the teams involved in the game, and that isn't a problem for one of this year's teams, the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans has a long and distinctive history of celebrating good food, good eating, and good times. The Colts, however, are from Indianapolis, not exactly a foodie's Mecca. This is not to say there's no good food coming from Indianapolis, but it's more famous for it's racetrack than its cuisine.
I don't mind having an excuse to drink and eat, so I tend to celebrate the Superbowl in the American manner even if my team (the 49ers) hasn't been to the show for a few years now. I'll be watching at my brother's house this year. We tend to go for quality rather than quantity, so we'll have a pretty nice spread I'm sure. In addition to bringing kale chips, grilled Treviso radicchio with balsamic vinaigrette and homemade ricotta, I'm going to bring some Cajun gougeres to send some love to the Saints. Manning and the Colts are expected to win, but I'm pulling for the underdog Saints. Besides, if I were for the Colts, what would I bring? Cheeze whiz on Wonderbread?
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 cup flour
1/4 lb tasso ham, minced
1/2 cup corn kernels (preferably fresh, but frozen will do)
1 cup shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar
1 TBS grated parmesan
1 green onion, minced
Preheat oven to 375º.
In a cast iron or stainless steel frying pan, dry fry corn kernels over medium high heat until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Bring water, butter, salt and cayenne to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Dump in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from heat and beat in one egg at a time, waiting until the first egg is thoroughly incorporated before beating in the second egg.
After the second egg has been incorporated and the mixture is smooth, stir in the remaining ingredients.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.
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