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Coin Toss Cookin’: 10 Recipes for the Big Game


Ready . . . set . . . HIKE! Or HUT! Or something like that. The point is, y’all, the Big Game is upon us, and whether you’re a football fan or just lookin’ for an excuse to throw a party, it’s time to get ready.

Y’all may not believe it, but I’m a fan of game day. Tossing that coin for the Rose Bowl back in 2011 was just about the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. Course, I have no axe to grind when it comes to choosin’ sides, but I get involved all the same. And I especially like game-day cookin’ because everybody likes it cozy and casual. Nobody wants a fancy-schmancy table setting or hard-to-eat snacks. Hardcore football fans won’t lift their behinds off the sofa and walk five steps if it means they might miss a single play. It’s a hostess’ dream, really. If it can’t be served in a bowl and set within reach, it’s gonna go to waste. And nobody wants to bother with keepin’ track of a fork for hours on end. Fingers work best in this kind of situation, and you never have to worry about misplacing them. Remember, I raised two boys. Half the time, the food doesn’t even get to their mouths. Jamie will sit frozen, holding a tortilla chip with a heap of my South Georgia Caviar right near his mouth, waiting for a play to end. If it ends in his favor, the chip (and dip) goes flying. As long as I keep a stack of napkins handy, my sofa and I just may survive this Sunday!

If your house is like mine, half the family prepares for the big game by making bets, and the other half is making dip—every kind imaginable. And the more variety the better because I like a little something for everyone. No one wants to spend four hours eating plain ol’ chips and salsa. Worse yet, if your idea of an appetizer is cheese puffs and pre-sliced salami, y’all need to think outside the plastic container. Serve up a big pot of soup, some easy appetizers, and any number of my favorite dips. With little-to-no effort, your guests will think they ate a five-course meal, and you’ll earn yourself some high-fives of your own.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do get into the game. I get in on the betting pools (I choose my team by the color of their jersey), and that ol’ high school cheerleader in me can’t help but break into a cheer when things get exciting. But just when I think I got this football thing figured out, Bobby informs me that those boys are just runnin’ to the locker room for halftime. It’s just as well, really, because the halftime show is my favorite part. That’s when us girls push the boys off the sofa and dance along in the living room. After all, this ol’ cheerleader still has some shake in her!

The Big Game is an American tradition, and it’s always been one that my family celebrates together. We huddle around the TV yelling and screaming, eating ourselves silly. And there’s laughter—lots of laughter. I may not be able to tell you with certainty what teams are playing, and the next day I’m bound to ask, “Who was it that won again,” but for me the game is really beside the point. The point is that we’re together being a little bit loud and a little bit crazy. I say, “Game on.”

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

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