Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner: Bringing Seattle and Denver food traditions to Super Bowl table

CorrespondentFebruary 1, 2014 


Grilling salmon on cedar planks is popular and offers a nice smoky flavor to the fish.


There is a sporting event taking place Sunday. Advertisers refer to it as the Big Game or the Super Bowl, depending on how much money they’ve thrown at the NFL, which owns the rights to the name.

Like Thanksgiving Day, Super Bowl Sunday is a classic American holiday. Also like Thanksgiving, it’s mainly about the food.

Oh, I know there’s a football game being played between the commercials. Watching it provides a nice break from grazing the dips, chilis and wings. One should pace oneself. It’s a long game.

You may be asking yourselves, “Why is she writing about this now when the game starts in a few hours and the pregame show has been going on for a week?” Because I know that most of you are only now deciding what to feed the people who will shortly be pouring into your house.

You’re reading this column on your smartphones as you wander through the supermarket, grasping at any ideas. You’re also Google-searching “best way to fight off shoppers and grab the last tub of guacamole.” (I suggest distracting them by yelling “Velveeta shortage!” They’ll stampede to the dairy case.)

However last-minute it is, you need not fall back on game-day stereotypes and the use of adobe blocks of processed cheese food. For full enjoyment of the evening, take your culinary inspiration from the two teams playing: the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos.

Thinking of Seattle-inspired snacks is easy because I’m more familiar with food in the Pacific Northwest. If all else fails, you can pour coffee over everything or carve the Starbucks logo into a cheese ball.

Salmon is big, of course. Grilling it on cedar planks is popular and offers a nice smoky flavor to the fish, but let me warn you to thoroughly soak the planks first. I experienced an unfortunate incident one summer when my dinner guests had to help put out our flaming entree, due to insufficient soaking.

Don’t try using planks in the oven unless you want your kitchen turned into a smokehouse. Been there, set that smoke alarm off.

Dungeness crab is native to the area, but it’s difficult to find here. Gathering wild mushrooms is a popular Pacific Northwest activity, too.

Go for extra points by combining salmon and coffee. Lox lattes, anyone?

Denver, however – I’ve never been there, and the only dishes I’ve heard of from Colorado are Denver omelets and Rocky Mountain oysters, which have never been near the ocean. Look them up.

In light of recent Colorado state legislation, I suppose you could prepare pot roast.

I asked Kristen Browning-Blas, food editor for the Denver Post, for some ideas. She said some popular Colorado foods include green chile stew with pork, also bison and “elk you shot yourself.” She also said that Denver omelets aren’t a big deal in actual Denver, so putting out a plate of those would be a rookie mistake.

Jeremy Law, chef-owner of SoCo Farm and Food in Wilson, got started as a chef in Colorado. He agreed about the game meats (game for the big game; ha, ha) and also suggested chile Colorado, a chili using beef in a red Mexican chile sauce.

“If I were creating a Colorado dish, I would likely use cast iron and an open flame for bison or lamb, and incorporate Native American or Mexican elements,” Law said.

Native American foods are important in both areas, so the two opposing forces are united by that common bond. It might be the only one.

This year, Super Bowl Sunday has another holiday connection: It’s Groundhog Day. I’ve already seen my shadow, so I can expect five more hours of nachos and wings.

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