Food Fit for The Champions…

Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer

In the unforgettable words of one of the most amazing rock bands of all time: “We are the champions, my friend”… just a few short hours ago (at the time of this writing), the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI to become the 2012 champions!

So what does this have to do with food? Well, if you read my column with any regularity (or at least once in the last month), you know that I have been centering all Sunday meals around football – and my beloved Giants.

Tonight was Super Bowl; the game that we wait for all season. And I, as a lover of the game and of football food, was beside myself with happiness. The Giants played – and beat – the Patriots; I watched the game at my Aunt Elaine and Uncle Nick’s house, where the food is always unbelievable.

So what was on the menu? Here we go…

As any good guest would, I came bearing gifts (edible, naturally). In this case, I dipped into my terrace garden (we live on the 10th floor of a condo building in Aventura) and picked red and yellow cherry tomatoes, red grape tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, Black Krim heirloom tomatoes, and sweet basil. A quick dice and julienne, some Italian-spiced olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, fresh garlic and voila – bruschetta. Delicious.

But that’s nothing compared to what they made. My aunt and uncle are known for their food. Uncle Nick (who is very Italian) begins each dish he makes with onions, garlic, butter, and pancetta. Needless to say – theirs is a lot of flavor and it is always great. Tonight, I watched him torch shrimp wrapped in bacon on an openflame barbecue, which he served over “Nick’s risotto”. Nothing special– just plain – but when done right, it is out-of-thisworld. His secret – plenty of butter. He also made meatballs and sausage in brown gravy, just for kicks. My aunt, whose roots lie in Jewish cooking, whipped up a dozen finger foods and more including chopped liver, chick pea salad, and her own corned beef, which she turned into individual Reuben sandwiches complete with sour kraut, and Thousand Island dressing warmed on a Panini press. That was the first round. She made chicken cutlet parmesan, her own Cole slaw, tomato/mozzarella/ basil salad, various deli meats and cheeses (she didn’t hand prepare the salami or age the Swiss cheese, so does it really count?), salad, olives, etc., and then she finished it all off with four or five different store-bought desserts including a dark chocolate football-shaped cake, bakery cookies, an elaborate fruit salad, and more.

It is amazing to me just how much food is out there to eat; how many versions of the same type of foods are just waiting to be cooked their own way by different people. I love trying different things, new things, and going back to the same old things that I love the most. And when you put them all together and can take a bite of this and two bites of that, there is almost nothing better… except eating this way while watching your favorite football team win the Super Bowl!

So, with that said, I will not go on. I will keep this column short and tasty. I hope everyone enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday – and their accompanying meals – as much as I did. I’ll be back next week with something sushi/sashimi related. That is my other obsession, and now that football is over for the year, I’ll need to find something else to fill my column.

Shari Lynn Rothstein has been writing about food, wine, lifestyles and fashion for more than 20 years, in New York and Florida. She resides in Aventura. Shari can be reached at for comments, questions thoughts.

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