Tackle the snacks: A look at the history of Super Bowl food

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here. The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots know what they have to do to bring home a win.

Do you want your game play to have a championship-worthy Super Bowl party?

Believe it or not, just as the Super Bowl has its history, so do Super Bowl party snacks.

On Saturday, I spent an afternoon at the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour learning about what snacks were popular back when the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Super Bowl in 1967 through the decades up until last year’s contest, when the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Led by Julie Lingerfelt, head of adult services, the program featured a variety of simple and quick but still tasty ideas to serve to your football superfans.

The best part of the library’s program? Free samples of all of the tasty treats! Yummy!

So let’s take a look at some of the most famous and popular plays for Super Bowl party snacks over the years.

First up is onion soup dip, or what some people might call California dip because of where it was invented.

Apparently, this recipe was so iconic, it helped put Lipton on the map and led to a dip revolution, Lingerfelt said.

“It took off,” she said. “There were no dips before California dip, according to a newspaper article I read.”

Although Lipton did not create the recipe, it did promote and market it by putting it on its instant onion soup mix package in 1958.

“At that time, 220,000 envelopes of onion soup mix were used across the nation every day,” she said.

The recipe can be found at liptonkitchens.com/recipes/detail/28542/1/classic-onion-dip. But it’s literally so simple, you don’t need to look it up. Just combine a package of Lipton powdered onion soup mix with a 16-ounce container of sour cream.

Mix the two ingredients together in a bowl, chill for an hour to allow the dried onion pieces in the soup mix to soften and the flavors to meld and serve with potato chips. For variations, you can add ½ cup of mayonnaise to make it creamier or add ½ cup of salsa for a twist.

Another football party staple is meatballs, but making meatballs with grape jelly? Absolutely, Lingerfelt said. The grape jelly mixed with chili sauce adds just enough but not too much sweetness to the mix.

She first remembers being introduced to grape jelly meatballs in the 1980s when her mother discovered the recipe.

Only three ingredients are required: A 32-ounce jar of grape jelly, two 12-ounce bottles of tomato-based chili sauce and three 5-pound bags of frozen cocktail-sized meatballs. To make a smaller batch, you can use half a jar of grape jelly, one bottle of chili sauce and 1½ bags of meatballs.

Pour the frozen meatballs into a large slow cooker, mix the grape jelly and chili sauce together and then pour over the meatballs and cook on low for three to four hours.

There are many variations on this recipe, including using cocktail wieners instead of meatballs and barbecue sauce instead of chili sauce or even replacing grape jelly with cranberry sauce.

One of my and everyone else’s favorite recipes Lingerfelt shared was for Watergate salad, which is a bright green dessert salad that combines pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped topping, marshmallows and chopped pecans.

Kraft Foods introduced its pistachio pudding mix in the 1970s and promoted a recipe for pistachio pineapple delight, which used the mix.

It’s believed a newspaper reporter in Chicago coined the name Watergate salad when he wrote, “It’s full of nuts, just like Washington, D.C., so we’re going to call this Watergate salad,” Lingerfelt said.

The recipe for Watergate salad can be found at kraftrecipes.com/recipes/watergate-salad-53771.aspx.

If you’re looking for a few frozen pre-made items you can bake and add to the menu, Lingerfelt recommends Tyson buffalo chicken wings, Friday’s brand jalapeno poppers, Nancy’s brand mini ham and cheese and spinach and cheese quiches, Tostino’s Pizza Rolls and Bagel Bites’ pizza bagels.

Other ideas Lingerfelt suggested that take zero time to prepare are Tostitos Scoops with pre-made salsa, store-bought hummus and pita chips, bagged popcorn, such as Indiana Popcorn’s black and white drizzle kettle corn, and store-bought mini-cupcakes with football decorations for desert.

What’s your favorite go-to Super Bowl snack? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at jrutherford @stagingtb.aimmediallcindiana.com with your favorite Super Bowl recipes. Maybe I’ll write about them next year!