By Bonnie Fishman / San Francisco Bay Area
If you’re not a sports fan, you may be afraid that this isn’t the column for you. Stay with it, though–I’ve got a good recipe at the end!
I AM a sports nut, always have been. I come by it naturally by being born and raised during the ’50s and ’60s at my dad and my uncle’s sports camp, Michigama, in West Branch, Mich. We lived and breathed competition day in and out. It also helped that I inherited the Fishman family athletic gene. Combine that with my love of sports, and I was all in.
A favorite pastime of mine growing up was watching golf on TV with my dad. Some people would say that was the equivalent of watching the grass grow. But I enjoyed the camaraderie with my dad. He taught me to play when I was 12 and we continued to play together until he was into his 80s. Oddly enough, he wasn’t much of a football fan. That’s where we diverged.
I was a bouncy cheerleader in junior high and high school, so learning the game of football was essential. Cheering for the games was a great way of genuinely expressing my enthusiasm for the sport. My love of football has stayed with me throughout my life.
When my son, Ben, began to enjoy watching football as much as me, we would spend Saturday afternoons on the couch rooting for Michigan football and Sundays hoping that the Detroit Lions wouldn’t lose again! We did this through his high school years.
Lucky me, Ben went to Michigan, and for four years, we went to the football games together, sitting on the 45-yard line in my dad’s Victors’ seats from 1942 when he lettered in baseball. (To this day, I still have four seats, having held them in the family for 80 years!) Now Ben and I watch football anytime we’re together, whether in his Los Angeles home or my home. His two little boys, nine and six years old, are as obsessed as we are, God bless them.
Which brings us to the Super Bowl, the granddaddy of all games. Back in 1966, the NFL and the AFL merged. The big game started out in 1967 when it was called the NFL-AFL National Championship Game. The name officially changed a few years later to what we know it as today. When it first started, it was a huge deal. The publicity for the big game built up for weeks. I clearly remember the novelty of it all. Green Bay beat Kansas City in Los Angeles on January 15, 1967.
A memorable Super Bowl for me was on February 5, 2006, when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks at newly built Ford Field in Detroit. Money was poured into city beautification, and everyone talked about the Super Bowl coming, which would bring an onslaught of visitors and an infusion of business reaching across many hotels, restaurants, and shops.
I, too, sought opportunity to make a buck through a hot tip from a chef friend. The game organizers were looking for local restaurants to provide food for a pregame party at Ford Field. For some reason it was an Italian theme (go figure) and my shop, Bonnie’s Kitchen in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. was awarded a contract to make two items: salad and cookies. Great!
Do you know what Caesar salad for 1,500 people looks like? Can you imagine dipping 1,500 Italian shortbread cookies in chocolate? We’re talking large-scale preparations. Organizing and execution was easy. Delivering it in subzero weather, finding our way through the maze of kitchen tents attached to Ford Field was a different matter. All-in-all, it was a great experience.
Super Bowl Sunday has grown into an unofficial American holiday, with viewing parties held nationwide. Back in 2000, my sisters and I were visiting our dad for his 80th birthday in Florida. His birthday was always close to the Super Bowl. His friends there were hosting a football party that we were invited to. My sisters and I call these “Costco parties,” in that almost everything served came from that discount warehouse store. You could have predicted the menu. I remember watching the game with a bunch of elderly men who were hard of hearing. Could the TV have been any LOUDER??
That brings me to this week’s recipe. My family is not buying prefab appetizers. Traditional foods for these parties are chili, wings, sliders, chips and dip, guacamole and salsa, and cookies decorated as footballs. People don their team’s gear, decorate their buffet table with football-themed items, and serve the meal using Super Bowl paper goods. At my game day buffet, I’m going with Honey Lime Wings. Easy to make and a real crowd-pleaser.
Tell us at The Insider who you’re rooting for and what kind of delicious snacks you’re serving. Try these wings, you’re going to love them. Pass extra napkins, too!
Honey Lime Chicken Wings
Yield: (@ 30 pieces) 6-8 servings
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 lbs. chicken wings, just the 2 larger joints
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper for seasoning
Blot the wings dry on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Season liberally with coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper. Line another cookie sheet with foil. Spray with pan release. Reserve. Preheat oven to 450°.
Put the sauce ingredients in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the wings. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often to coat the wings with sauce. Using tongs, lay the wings on the foil-lined pan. Increase the heat in the skillet and boil for 2 minutes or until it gets thick and glazy. Pour the sauce over the wings. Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds.
Roast the wings for 25 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds.
Bonnie Fishman attended the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London. Later, she owned and operated Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield, Mich. and Bonnie’s Kitchen and Catering in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has taught cooking for over 35 years and created hundreds of recipes. She is now living in Northern California.