The countdown until kick-off: Super Bowl prep in Hamden
By Andrew Weiss
As Sunday creeps closer, America steadies itself for an annual Sunday ritual. Super Bowl Sunday stands as an essentially religious holiday for most of the nation, from the most zealous of fans to the newest sheep in the gridiron flock. While the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots prepare for battle in Minneapolis, another sort of preparation is made some 1,052 miles east.
“You could make football pancakes,” Linda White said.
“I could do that,” said James Ford with a hint of curiosity. “I could do that (Sunday morning).”
White and Ford are a tag team duo behind the Breakfast All Day stand at Quinnipiac University’s Café Q, the main source of on-campus food for students. The two coworkers have different plans for Sunday, as well as different teams.
“I believe Philadelphia is going to win by three,” Ford said.
White delivered a look of disgust.
“The New England Patriots are going to win, and we’re going to beat (Philadelphia) by 14 points,” she said. “That’s my opinion.”
The two aren’t the only ones around campus, or Hamden, readying for Sunday.
The area is split among those rooting for New England, those for Philadelphia, and those that are simply rooting against one team for their own reasons.
“Eagles,” Austin Fraser said. “I don’t like the Patriots.”
“Our one rule,” Patriots fan Pat Pitts said, “is that (my roommates and I) are only watching with people (that support New England). We don’t mind if you don’t like the Patriots, just don’t say it out loud. Keep it to yourself.”
Game day planning for students and Hamden residents alike remain similar: what is the best place to watch the game?
Quinnipiac student Brianna Robinson is looking for a good spot to enjoy the atmosphere. “I heard of a party. I might go and hop around (some) parties.”
“There’s going to be a riot at the Bobcat,” said Lauren Shanley, referring to the statue near the residence halls on Quinnipiac’s main campus. “We’re going to break s— down again. I know of a few parties though.”
Fandoms may be split, but the one thing anyone watching the game Sunday can agree on is that preparation is key. Preparation, of course, meaning party food.
Nachos, chicken wings, pizza. Find it on tables, couches, and laps around Hamden as Sunday evening approaches. Per thedailymeal.com, all three rank in the top five most commonly eaten foods on Super Bowl Sunday.
The same ranking has chicken wings reigning supreme among Super Bowl snacks, and the numbers back it up. In the United States this year, more than 1.35 billion chicken wings are expected to be served, hor d'oeuvre’d, and eaten over the course of Sunday’s main event, per the National Chicken Council. That is enough wings to put 625 wings on each seat in every NFL stadium, or enough to circle the Earth three times.
Even with an increased number of wings and food being prepared for the weekend, Ryan Currier of the Quinnipiack Valley Health District is confident Hamden can chow down without concern.
During times like the Super Bowl or around certain holidays, the number of people dining out or ordering take-out increases, and as such, the possibility of illness extends further,” Currier said.
“Interestingly enough, the food-borne illnesses I have seen through the years have largely not been linked to these busy times as one might expect, and have rather been sporadic. This is a credit to the food service establishments, that they are able to continue to operate safely while dealing with the dramatic increase in traffic.”
Most people interviewed for this story recommended the same three restaurants in Side Street, Eli’s and Droogies.
Side Street is commonly referred for its wings, Eli’s for its nachos and Droogies for its pizza and ability to deliver.
Quinnipiac students are more likely to spend their cash instead of their meal plan, despite a food service that tailors the game-day menu.
“Our sales are half of what we usually (get on a Sunday) during the Super Bowl,” said Leann Spalding, the director of dining services at Quinnipiac. “They don’t come to the cafeteria because we’re not set up for (watching the game).”
However, Spalding said there are options in place for students looking for some Super Bowl goodies on campus.
“At the Bobcat Den, from four to five on Super Bowl Sunday, we’ll be giving away free appetizers,” Spalding said. “I know it (will include) wings, among others.”
Side Street will crank out tubs of wings, while Droogies will toss dough more than Tom Brady and Nick Foles will toss footballs. There won’t be a coin toss to see who gets their food first, just a battle for placing orders earlier and earlier. There is no Lombardi Trophy for eating the most food, but come Sunday, America will be consuming.
That is a guaranteed Super Bowl prop bet.