Eric Ripert may be an icon of French cookery, but he also knows his way around a Super Bowl party.
The food has to be able to help you to drink, says Ripert, chef and owner of Le Bernardin, one of the best-known French restaurants in the United States. It has to be filling and rich, so you can drink but not be drunk.
Which means a bag of chips isnt going to cut it.
In his native France, fans of le football thats soccer to you and me fill their party coolers with wine and their tables with succulent roasts, carefully selected cheeses and whatevers in season, says Ripert, whose new book Avec Eric offers a companion to his television series.
But while pear and endive salads may be too froo-froo for watching grunting titans butt helmets, why not sub out the chili and pizza for slightly classier fare thats still casual enough to enjoy with beer (albeit imported beer)?
Instead of chili, Ripert suggests a Tuscan bean soup flavored with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese rind. Crusty tomato bread with Iberico ham stands in for pizza. Ordinary deviled eggs can be dressed up with smoked salmon, and pistachio-sprinkled cheese straws make the perfect finger food.
And instead of sliders, why not try that roast, say a pork loin served warm or cold alongside cornmeal biscuits?
No matter what you cook, Ripert has a few pointers for keeping the party fuss-free:
b Prep everything in advance. That means even lining up the serving platters.
b Create mini-stations around the room for cheese, sweets and savory items. This encourages guests to graze and mingle.
b Dont forget to watch the game! The idea is to be with your friends and definitely not to be in the kitchen turning your back on them, Ripert says.