5 Ways To Upgrade Your Game Day Menu
You’re going to need food and drink that matches the action on the field.
Sure, eating pizza and wings on game day is perfectly fine. But it’s also perfectly boring. Are you the type whose favorite leisure activities include waiting in line at the post office? Then go ahead and order that greasy nonsense for the thousandth time, champ. Here’s the thing: you can do better when it comes to your game day meal! This upcoming football season promises to be super exciting, and you’re going to need food and drink that matches the action on the field. We’re here to give you ideas on what to eat and sip on, plus fill you in on fun hacks for making your game day even better.
Eat one delicious dish per quarter
Eating and drinking during a football game is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s no need to treat kickoff like the beginning of a hot dog eating contest by trying to shove everything down your gullet at once. And because each quarter takes around 35-45 minutes in real time, it’s the perfect pace at which to eat a full meal.
So if you have three friends coming over to watch the game, assign each person to make one dish — two people can whip up different appetizers and one can prepare an entree. Here’s how to serve the food: pass the apps around at the beginning of the first and second quarters and serve the entree around halftime. By the fourth quarter when everyone’s energy is flagging from eating their weight in nachos and burgers, you as the host can bring out some homemade dessert. No complaining, we gave you the easiest dish! (You won’t even need to use an oven to make brownies or banana cream pie.) As an added bonus, if your team loses, you’ll be so deep in a food coma by the final whistle that you probably won’t notice.
Batch drinks so none of your friends go thirsty
Cans and bottles of booze are certainly handy if you’re at a tailgate or enjoying a leisure activity outdoors. But if you’re just going to be in front of your TV all day with a couple of pals, batching cocktails is a more cost-effective (and fun!) way to enjoy game day. And when the final whistle blows, you won’t have leftover cans of low ABV blackberry coconut peach cherry watermelon seltzer taking up room in your fridge.
Batching cocktails is so easy because it mostly requires you to pour alcohol into a bowl and stir, and you can find a recipe that works no matter which spirit you prefer. You can opt for bright, summery options with rum and gin, lemon-forward boozy punches with cognac, bourbon, rum and Champagne, or refreshing pitchers of mint juleps.
Pause the game, prep more food (and never miss a play)
Football games are technically made up of four 15-minute quarters. In reality, those 60 minutes take about 3-4 hours of real time. You know what you can do in 3-4 hours? Make a whole lot of food to eat post-game. Just because the game is over doesn’t mean you have to stop eating game day food!
Whenever a coach reaches for that red challenge flag, that’s your time to hit the pause button. The review process will take at least one commercial break... and likely way longer. Even if you miss something, you can catch up quickly, as football games famously only have 11 minutes of actual football. Prep a dish for later by throwing ingredients into a pot and letting it simmer on the stove. By the time the game is over, you could be eating a delicious bowl of coconut chicken and rice stew.
Switch up the menu based on your team’s opponent
Admit it, the best games each year are when your team gets to play its divisional rivals. Dallas vs. Philadelphia! Chicago vs. Green Bay! Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh! You’ve hated your team’s rival since before you understood object permanence, and you probably won’t stop anytime soon! But you should try to embrace the culinary wonders coming from different American cities, even if it’s home to a team you strongly dislike.
If you’re playing New Orleans, serve po’ boys and gumbo. Seattle? Put oysters and Dungeness crab on the menu. Green Bay? Take inspiration from these cheese curds found around Wisconsin. Tampa? Pass on the Floridian city’s homegrown food and just eat whatever #12 is eating. It’s clearly working for him.
Toss out the beer, throw back something else
Wearing a throwback jersey on game day is always a good look. After all, it’s important to honor the contributions of former players to the sport we love so much. And sure, you could throw back a booze so light it tastes like carbonated water, but there are more flavorful options.
Kickoff is generally in the early afternoon or morning depending on where you call home, and there are plenty of cocktail options suitable for that time of day. That might mean using cognac to spike your coffee or make a Brandy Alexander, incorporating one of Mexico’s finest exports into a tequila sunrise, or whipping up an easy Bloody Mary mix before adding your favorite vodka. After all, pouring yourself a drink and eating all the gloriously fattening food you want is truly the key to having a beautiful game day, whether your team wins or loses.