You know what’s annoying? We’re about ten days away from the Super Bowl and no one’s really talking about the game. Paul Shirley being the douchecake we already knew he was based on his flirting with a certain former Ladies… member, Australian Open, Greg Oden’s penis, Tim Tebow’s abortion ad, Olympic protesting in Vancouver, Gilbert Arenas (still), and blah blah blah off-season baseball moves. I certainly hope President Obama’s State of the Union addresses the sports world’s mixed-up priorities that has Xavier Nady signing with the Cubs as a bigger story than the nickle and dime defensive schemes Peyton Manning will face next weekend.
What is even more maddening is the stories that are out there about the Super Bowl are almost entirely about Super Bowl story lines and not actually about the game. To wit –
Six Super Bowl Story Lines – USA Today
Super Bowl Subplot #1: Those Manning Boys – Deadspin
Press Coverage: Super Bowl Stories vs. Storylines – The Sporting News, Sporting Blog
Preparing you for Super Bowl XLIV, Here are 44 things you can expect to happen in the 10 days between now and kickoff. – ESPN, Page 2
Super Bowl Story Lines That You May Hear About – New York Times Fifth Down Blog (Which SBNation rebranded yesterday as Top 15 Super Bowl Story Lines You’ll Be Sick Of By The Super Bowl.)
In these posts you’ll find phrases such as “beating them into the ground” and “overhyped” to describe their own Super Bowl coverage. As a reader, I find such posts cynical and condescending. It is as if the author is saying, “Look, you morons insist on hearing about the Super Bowl so I am going give you the story in the most craven and superficial way I can without actually talking about the game.”
Sure, I am undercutting my entire argument because I am writing my opinion about Super Bowl coverage in a post about recipes you can use for a Super Bowl party (two things that certainly have no effect on the outcome of the actual game), but I would like to think that in my own little corner of the sports blogging world, it is more about having fun and being an engaged fan in a way that plays to my strengths. If I wrote about all the dishes I had to do after each game, no one would ever read my site. By telling your readers the story is boring before you get to the meat of the topic, what chance do you have of anyone reading through to the end?
Anything — sports, sex, music, cooking, writing, flying a kite, rambling on and on — is immediately less interesting when you make it sound like a grind. Maybe as writers and readers, we wouldn’t be so bored if the stories weren’t already framed in such a negative light.
You know what are not negative? Olives! Beautiful, glorious olives!
14 Days of Super Bowl Recipes: Citrus Marinated Warm Olives
You will need…
2 cups of various olives
Zest from half an orange and half a lemon
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Fresh thyme, or other aromatic herbs such as rosemary or sage
Red pepper flakes (optional, but highly recommended for a touch of heat)
Fennel seeds (optional)
Other options –
Freshly shaved fennel
A quick word about buying olives. Often times olives are ridiculously over-priced, especially at larger chain supermarkets. The Dallas Cowboy season tickets of the grocery world. Pictured above are Spanish, Israeli, Greek, and US brands of olives. Always check your store’s “ethnic” sections or local corner markets for a better price on olives before over-spending on an eight ounce jar of brine at the closest local mega-mart. Don’t be afraid of the labels printed in languages you cannot read. Odds are they know more about olives than most English speakers.
And those US olives? The Lindsey Naturals? I love them, but for some reason they cost almost $2 more at Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons than at the more upscale Gelson’s in Los Angeles. So when you’re buying the 99 cent loss-leader blueberries, keep in mind you might spend more on another item somewhere else in the store.
(I like to think I’m the Nick Saban of grocery shopping, making three to four stops before finding a winner.)
Drain and rinse the olives. This is about half of each jar and can pictured above.
Over low heat, mix the olives and olive oil together. Use just enough oil to coat the fruit. (Yes, olives are a fruit! Take that health nuts!)
Add the citrus zest, garlic slices, herbs, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and stir. Heat until the olives are warm all the way through, about four to five minutes.
Pair with citrus flavored drinks such as lemoncello martinis, margaritas, or a hefeweizen beer. What do you mean you don’t keep lemoncello around? What if George Clooney shows up to your Super Bowl party? How else are you going to get him drunk enough to make out with you? Celebrating a Saints touchdown? Well that’s a rather bold prediction, don’t you think? He might kiss Saints fan Brad Pitt after a touchdown (THEY COULD BOTH SHOW UP) and then what if the Saints only score once and no one is having any fun and if you only had some lemoncello to liven things up a bit and had you just listened to TheStarterWife in the blog post with the olive porn you’d be smooching George Clooney right now!
I was so distracted by the thought of making out with George Clooney I failed to mention that you can easily make these ahead of time and serve chilled (or reheat) if you want.