This is not about the game.

I don’t have a favorite, and I’m not going to talk about it at all.

Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at robinjm@earthlink.net.

This is only about the accompaniments to the game — that is, the props, the décor, and specifically, the food that complete the experience and make the recreational viewing of the game so enjoyable.

This is about an architectural feat so grand that I must make mention of it in this column, even though I did not have a hand in its creation.

This is about Snackadiums.

And this is about my friend and neighbor, Cathy.

Cathy was hosting the Super Bowl party last year and asked me if I would like to help her cook for it. Since Cathy has five children at home, and since my nest is practically empty, and since Cathy is also excellent company, and since, as we all know, it’s more fun to cook at your neighbor’s house than your own, I agreed.

Then the week before the game I received a text from Cathy informing me that she was thinking about arranging the game-food into the shape of a football field — a current trend of which I was unaware — and so I did a quick Google search and discovered the world of Snackadiums and quickly texted back that I was in.

I spent the rest of that week proudly announcing to my kids that I was going to build a Snackadium.

Now here’s the thing. Cathy can do anything she puts her mind to. She could make an Eiffel tower out of cream puffs and pretzel sticks. She could make the Taj Mahal from Cheez Doodles and Ding Dongs. She could recreate the Matterhorn using a Toblerone bar and a few jars of marshmallow fluff.

Robin, left, and friend Cathy enjoy the “Snackadium” for last year’s Super Bowl.

Basically, Cathy is extraordinarily capable, whereas I am not. I, in fact, need help opening a bottle of wine.

So my kids may not have believed me, but the extent of my incompetence is precisely why I was so stoked about having a hand in the creation.

I arrived at her house on the Saturday before the game and found, to my amazement, a fully constructed Snackadium. She was correct, of course, in not waiting until the day before the game to build the thing. Why, I have since learned that grown men spend months planning and building their own food-filled-fields.

She soothed my ego by stating that she needed help decorating it and filling it.

OK! I’m still in!

We focused on the field. We nixed the guacamole green AstroTurf, opting instead for a very tasty dead Bermuda, in the form of Velveeta dip and my Vidalia onion dip (derived from a recipe which I’m sure you’ve tried, but which I have tweaked to perfection).

But her teenage daughter made the compelling argument that Cathy’s outstanding structure would not be complete without a green football field, and this we could not deny.

So Cathy whipped out her X-Acto knife and cut a foam board to the exact dimensions needed, then whipped up some guacamole schmear and topped the field with mayo lines and olive and onion helmets. At pregame, she covered the dead-Bermuda dips with the avocado football-field for the photos, and at game-time we removed the field and dug into the underlying dips.

The whole thing was a sensation.

The point is, I can’t take credit for any of it; I can only take credit for having a very clever friend. I did, FYI, glue-stick some decorative logos onto the side of the stadium, and I also provided some carrots and the onion dip, so I guess you could say that I was an accomplice.

And because I’m very fond of you, dear reader, and because I know you’re wondering, I will now share my recipe for Sweet Onion Dip:

■ 2 cups roughly chopped Vidalia
or sweet onion

■ 1 cup shredded Swiss
and Gruyere cheese, combined

■ 1 cup grated Parmesan and
pecorino Romano cheese, combined

■ ½ cup mayo

■ 1 tablespoon hot sauce

Mix together. Pour into baking dish and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and beginning to brown on top

And so, as Cathy dusts off her Snackadium and prepares to fill it for another game, I hope I have inspired you to create one of your own. If not, you can still make onion dip.

Robin Conte

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.

One reply on “Robin’s Nest: Celebrating the Super Bowl with a ‘Snackadium’”

  1. I feel like this is the type of thing that other countries look at and say, “Americans are insane”, but I’m not going to lie- I would totally eat that.

    Barring her hideous choice in t-shirts, your neighbor seems pretty cool. 😀

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