On February 3rd at 3:30 PM PT, the Brothers Harbaugh will face their teams off in what I have chosen to term the "Super Browl." Living in the Bay Area as I do, I know full well that it is incredibly ballsy of me to write up a Super Bowl menu that gives the appearance of favoring the Other Team, so give me a chance to explain myself.
I adore Coach Jim Harbaugh. Not only did the man coach Stanford, where my husband teaches, and play for the University of Michigan, which is my beloved alma mater, but my three-and-a-half-year-old son idolizes him for his hilariously entertaining Harbawls alone. I have also been lucky enough to meet Coach Harbaugh once, and the guy has a way more laid-back, gregarious personality than the laconic and sometimes amusingly impatient side he shows to the press.
Because of all of that and because of our zip code, the 49ers have my heart on Super Bowl Sunday.
All that said and duly acknowledged, you simply cannot deny the awesomeness that is the only professional football team to be named for a literary reference, in this case, Edgar Allan Poe's gibbering raven. (Fun fact: today also happens to be the day that Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "The Raven," was published in 1845. Some would argue "The Raven" is the most famous American poem.)
So, if you happen to be a Ravens fan who has been wondering what appoepriate foods you should have on your table for Super Bowl Sunday, or if you want to effectively feast on the other team in effigy, as it were, I've dreamed up a meal for The Ravenous among you.
Now, you could go with foods taken directly out of Poe, like from his wonderfully suspenseful story "The Pit and the Pendulum":
"I say to my horror; for I was consumed with intolerable thirst. This thirst it appeared to be the design of my persecutors to stimulate: for the food in the dish was meat pungently seasoned."
Or get fancy with victuals from "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether":
"...a small calf roasted whole, and set upon its knees, with an apple in its mouth, as is the English fashion of dressing a hare."
You can also take Super Bowl decorating advice from Poe:
"The table was superbly set out. It was loaded with plate, and more than loaded with delicacies. The profusion was absolutely barbaric. There were meats enough to have feasted the Anakim. Never, in all my life, had I witnessed so lavish, so wasteful an expenditure of the good things of life...There seemed very little taste, however, in the arrangements; and my eyes, accustomed to quiet lights, were sadly offended by the prodigious glare of a multitude of wax candles, which, in silver candelabra, were deposited upon the table, and all about the room, wherever it was possible to find a place."
--The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether
(I just have this feeling Sandra Lee would approve of that kind of tablescape, don't you?)
You could also try to eat the foods from Poe's era, but bread and molasses is less than football festive, so let’s bring on the Poe puns!
Edgar Allan Poe Super Bowl Menu
The Tell-Tale Artichoke Heart Spread
- 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, drained
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Dash of Tabasco sauce
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mash drained artichoke hearts. Mix all ingredients together and put into a glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake until brown on top, about 25-30 minutes.
Serve with Melba toast crackers, slices of French bread, or hide under the floorboards until you can no longer stand "the beating of his hideous heart!"
Recipe from my mother, Gretchen Vander Weide, who shares a birthday with Edgar Allan Poe.
Avocado Pit and the Pendulum Guacamole
- 4 ripe avocados
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 6 sliced scallions, white and pale green parts only
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- Juice from half a lemon
- Salt, to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mash together with the back of a fork until well combined. Taste for seasoning, add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Serve with tortilla chips or spread on the ropes that bind you for the rats to eat off and set you free.
Annabel Leek Soup
- 4 leeks
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 quart good chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 7 cups milk
- 1 potato, cooked and mashed
- 1/4 pound cooked ham, chopped
- 1/2 cup light cream
- finely chopped parsley, to serve
Trim and wash the leeks, leaving some of the green. Slice thinly. Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the leeks and onions until soft. Add stock and seasoning, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Mix the milk and mashed potato together and stir into the broth. Return to a boil and leave to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the ham and cream. Return to the heat but do not allow to boil. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Potato-Leek Soup recipe from The Two Fat Ladies Full Throttle, Clarkson Potter, 1996
The Purloin of Lamb Letter
- 4 lamb loin chops
Salt and pepper each side of the lamb chops and put on broiler pan. Broil for 3-5 minutes on each side. Keep it bloody.
The Masque of the Red Death By Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus some for buttering the molds
- 4 squares (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. While that’s heating, beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.
Beat together the melted chocolate and butter; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.
Butter and lightly flour four 4-ounce molds, custard cubs, or ramekins. Tap out the excess flour, then butter and flour them again. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)
Preheat the oven to 450°. Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.
Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately.
Warm, Soft Chocolate Cake recipe from Jean-George: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef by Jean-George Vongerichten
And if you don’t find chocolate to be the Black Cat’s meow, consider a few pints of "The Fall of the House of Usherbert" from Mitchell's.
(I’d dearly love to suggest, "Murders in the Rhubarb Morgue" but it’s sadly out of season.)
One thing that must be present at any Edgar Allan Poe Super Bowl feast is a prodigious amount of alcohol. For what to drink, nary a drop of Fino or Oloroso sherry will serve. No, you must get in a Cask of Amontillado, turn it into a Sherry Cobbler, and you shan't be sober.
Use a large wineglass.
- 1 tsp powdered sugar
- 2 oz. club soda
- 3 oz Amontillado
- 1/2 tsp. Cointreau
- Orange slices
- Maraschino cherry
Dissolve sugar with a little of the club soda. Fill chilled glass three-quarters full with cracked or crushed ice. Add sherry and remaining soda, stirring gently. Garnish with fruit, serve with two straws.
Recipe from The Ultimate A-to-Z Bar Guide by Sharon Tyler Herbst.