Friend and fellow Chicago food writer Mike Gebert used to host an event every Super Bowl Sunday. It was called "Super Bowl Avoidance Party," and we'd have it at Avec, the casual and excellent small bites place on Randolph. We chose Avec for two reasons: 1) the food is excellent and 2) actually the more critical consideration, there were no flat screens so we could effectively tune out the thumping, face-painted hoards of sports-dizzy trogs who range the land on that particular Sunday.
Then Avec put up flat screens on Super Bowl Sunday, and we chose instead to cower in our garrets, sipping absinthe, reading a few pages of Shelly, and nibbling cheese.
Ironically, cheese is also an excellent snack for any televised event. It can sit unrefrigerated for hours – heck, it should! Most people don't let their cheese sit unrefrigerated long enough. Cheese should really be eaten at room temperature. When cheese is chilled, the flavors are trapped. So put it out and forget about it. It gets better with time.
Cheese is also versatile. You can drink it with wine, beer, hard liquor, even soda. Cheese is rich, and the light acidity of even soft drinks will scrub the tongue and keep the buds fresh for the next bite. And you can have cheese before or after the main course; it works as an app or dessert. You could even make cheese the main course: just add some veggies on the side, olives, pickles, crackers, boom, done.
Everyone loves cheese, especially those of us in the Midwest. Is there a Midwestern team playing in the game this year? I don't know and I don't care, but if there is, that will make a Midwestern cheese even more appropriate, and Wisconsin is one of the premier cheese-producing regions in the world.
Cheese has range. You can get a blue, a cheddar, something soft like brie or camembert, maybe some super stinky one to separate the men from the boys (booyah!). Having a variety of flavors keeps people interested in the food, to whatever extent that's possible with such monumental sports event taking place on the big screen. Yawn.
If you plan to spend most of Super Bowl Sunday punching pillows and shrieking obscenities, you can have Marion Street Market make all the selections for you. Sit at home and work yourself up into a pre-game frenzy while the market makes up your Super Bowl to-go packages. For $65 you get 12 select beers from Lagunitas and Two Brothers and $30 worth of cheeses – enough for six. You can also get bunch of meat – wings, ribs, meatballs – for $30. Everything is all packaged together, so you don't have to take your mind off the oh-so-important game for even a second. You can order in person or on the phone.
If I were forced to watch this game, with my eyes pinned open, kind of like Malcolm MacDowell in "Clockwork Orange," one of the few things that would make me feel any better about that torture would be cheese. Enjoy!