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Host a NY vs. Boston Taste-Off This Sunday

Even if you aren’t a big football fan, between the commercials and the rivalries, this Sunday offers a great excuse for a party. And as a foodie, I’m just as into the snacks as the scores.

While it is certainly helpful to know who the main players are (for the record, the two quarterbacks are Tom Brady and Eli Manning), the biggest reason for familiarizing yourself with the two teams is that it will help you pick a theme for your party. This year’s New England Patriots vs. New York Giants matchup offers up many delicious possibilities for what to serve. Why not stage a showdown between players AND regional dishes? Here are a few suggestions on how to put together a Super Bowl extravaganza that will be memorable – regardless of what happens on the field.

Depending on your crowd, the New England-New York food matchup can be interpreted in lots of ways. It’s hard to beat New England lobster vs. a grilled NY strip steak. For a more casual party, you can serve a pot of chowder (clam, or if you need a vegetarian option, corn) and either a NY-style deli tray or a selection of pizzas. A side of Boston baked beans is practically mandatory, and a Waldorf salad would make a great NY-themed contrast.

No party would be complete without desserts, and the Boston-NY rivalry presents a whole host of delicious choices. I’d suggest Boston cream pie vs. NY-style Cheesecake, but I’m also considering serving a selection of donut holes (a very popular treat in Boston thanks to the dominance of a certain donut chain) and the NY classic, black and white cookies.

While food options are numerous and there are a whole host of other dishes you could consider, what is also essential is providing your guests with a selection of appropriate drinks. Luckily, both states produce enough to make this easy. Beers from NY and Massachusetts are widely available, and if you can find them, I’d also recommend including a selection of NY state wines from the Finger Lakes region and Long Island. New York gets a freebie here, though – Massachusetts hasn’t quite caught up on the wine front.

If you are trying to host a family-friendly party, there are a number of things you can do that will appeal to your younger guests. If you provide a few sheets of poster board and some markers, you can have kids design their own signs (D/fence is one of my favorites) or banners. In between periods, you can stage a football throwing contest or have the kids put on their own halftime show. My son loves Kaskey Kids’ Football Guys, and yours can use a set to reenact their own big game.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! If you have a great idea for a super Super Bowl pairing or activity, don’t forget to post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!