When Teddy Roosevelt spearheaded a set of football reforms, essentially saving the game for America, it’s a safe bet he wasn’t thinking about all the culinary fantasias the sport might inspire. “I believe in rough games and in rough, manly sports,” he announced. Not dainty pastrami finger sandwiches, trimmed to look like footballs with white cheese laces.
Yet Super Bowl Sunday has somehow emerged as one of the nation’s major cooking holidays. Cyberspace is crammed with recipes which reference the grand tradition of tailgating (the New York Times a decade ago ran Robert Stehling’s take on chicken bog); recipes which aspire to improve upon chicken wings and recipes honoring the two competing teams.
This year, the AFC and NFC champions hail from states that legalized it, so marijuana snacks are getting plenty of press. But if you’d rather keep your kitchen adventures within the law, the suggested dishes are apparently Denver omelets and salmon pancetta kabobs.
Please, in the name of Teddy Roosevelt, don’t make salmon pancetta kabobs. Seattle is a major clearinghouse for Alaskan salmon, but the fish hardly sums up the city. If you want to make a snack that really pays tribute to the Seahawks’ hometown, spread cream cheese on a hot dog.
The Seattle Dog was an outgrowth of the late 1980s Pioneer Square music scene, along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. A vendor who didn’t want to adjust his business strategy of selling bagels decided to accommodate incessant customer requests for hot dogs by putting them on bialys with cream cheese. (For more on the history of the Seattle Dog, check out an epic oral history I assembled.) Nowadays, ballpark concessionaires estimate 70 percent of their hot dog sales are Seattle Dogs.
No matter which team you like, the Seattle Dog is pretty much the perfect Super Bowl snack: It’s simple, cheap and salty. I’d recommend Skittles for dessert.