Of the Earth: Making peace with Super Bowl Sunday


For the Recorder
Published: 1/29/2019 4:48:21 PM

I’m not sure I’ve ever watched an entire football game.

The fact that I’m not sure isn’t a good sign. I am not proud of it. It’s not that I dislike football, or that I have any principled reason for failing to pay attention. In fact, it’s unnerving when I find myself at the YMCA on Monday as folks hold forth learnedly about OT’s and coin tosses and bogus calls and conversions. These pronouncements — which, as often as not, come from the women in the room — all sound so exotic and interesting.

Our son, Nick, who lives in Los Angeles, isn’t a natural-born fan either. Growing up, he always wondered why everyone else was having Super Bowl parties with all that food, and we weren’t. Why were we different? I never had a good answer for him.

This is why I’ve decided to make a change. I am gearing up to get absolutely stoked about this Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII, having already sat out all LII of them. I’m not sure that “stoked” is the right word, as it is more often applied to surfing and big wall climbing (which I do follow), but it will have to do. I am getting stoked about the Patriots and I’m even getting stoked about the Rams on Nick’s behalf.

In short, I am going to make peace with the Super Bowl and with football in general. And I’m going to make Super Bowl peace with Nick.

This is all by way of introducing what seems to me to be the ultimate Super Bowl party food, which comes once again from David Fersh of Charlemont. It’s called “The Peacemaker.”

Fersh points out that while The Peacemaker in the Old West referred to the Colt 45 (the revolver, not the malt liquor), it had a different meaning in colonial New England. “Innkeepers,” Fersh insists, “created something for men to take home with them when they had stayed too long at the tavern, something to smooth ruffled feathers, a delicious dish no mate could resist. It came to combine oysters, onions, bacon, peppers and a tasty horseradish sauce (to awaken sleepy brides) in a pocket of crusty bread.”

A distant cousin of the New Orleans Po-Boy sandwich, The Peacemaker is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, according to Fersh, who notes that it has been known to “cool heated arguments during the game.” And since it can be prepared in advance, he adds, “hosts aren’t tied to the kitchen. So enjoy with your friends and loved ones, and toast your favorite team.” With a Colt 45, perhaps. The malt liquor, not the revolver.

For my part, I’m going to make up a Peacemaker, call Nick to share the experience, and otherwise pay close attention to the game. All of it. The whole game. Go Pats! Whatever that means ...

The Peacemaker

Ingredients (in free-style quantities):

Oysters, shucked and drained (you can also use shrimp or scallops, or offer all of them)

Yellow onions

Red peppers

Mushrooms (optional)

Horseradish (sour cream or yogurt may be substituted)

French, Italian or sourdough bread

Sauté the onions and peppers in butter. Add the shellfish; do not over cook. Cut the loaves in half, scoop out the filling and replace it with the sautéed mixture in the bottom half. Heat at 350 degrees until nicely warm.

Alternatively, you can prepare the ingredients and let guests toast the sandwiches while you relax in front of the television.

The Cutting Board

You’ll recall the column regarding “Field Notes: An Afternoon of Storytelling,” CISA’s November event at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Now, the whole event, featuring 10 local storytellers sharing their moving, hilarious and enlightening local food and farm stories, is available without interruption on YouTube at bit.ly/2SjBlKc.

Don’t forget this weekend is the 97th annual Greenfield Winter Carnival, which includes the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market at Four Corners Elementary School. CISA’s complete listing of farmers markets can be found at bit.ly/2TjhS9C.

Please let David Fersh and Sara Cummings off the hook for a few weeks, and contribute your own hidden recipes. And don’t forget, Super Bowl LIII is Sunday starting at 6:30 p.m.

Wesley Blixt lives in Greenfield. He is a longtime reporter and is the author of “SKATERS: A Novel.” Send him recipes, stories and suggestions at wesleyblixt@me.com.

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