Sports and food combine for great cooking opportunities

Wednesday is upon us, which means that the wonderful halfway point in the week has happened, and the weekend is coming fast. Weekends bring a couple of things — free time, sleep, relaxation, sports, parties and food.

As a sports fan, I believe it’s imperative that the right food and drink be provided at sports parties — otherwise, what is the point of going, right? Kidding. Two of my favorite things are sports and food, so to blend them both has to be good. But if that said sports game is anything like the Super Bowl that just happened, the food better make up for the deficit.

This past Sunday I hosted a little get-together with my friends for the Super Bowl and served some delicious eats. I planned a menu ahead of time of the five essentials that should be at a college Super Bowl party — warm cheese dip, guacamole, chips, a main course and, my personal all-time favorite, jalapeño poppers.

Planning a menu and shopping for the groceries seems to always be the most tedious part of the party planning process because you have to consider the occasion, your guests and, ultimately, how much you want to spend in one sitting because the costs of groceries definitely add up.

The usual USC student grocery store, such as Superior Groceries or Ralph’s, sometimes don’t offer the best deals when it comes to produce, so recently I have been buying my produce at the Grand Central Market (located on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles). Sure, it may be a little removed from campus, but if you have a car or know someone who does, you are set to go.

Menu planning gets really simple when you can purchase six avocados and a 12-ounce package of raspberries for only a dollar each. In the name of food parties, here are a few tips on how to get your fiesta going with a smooth take off.

Grand Central Market is a go-to attraction if you’re not from the L.A. area, so yes, it is a little touristy. But if you’re a local, it is a great place to get fresh vegetables. While walking around you can see all of the different Mom n’ Pop vendors. Try some of the unique food all while getting inspired to create heaping dishes you can serve yourself.

Ever heard of Eggslut? DTLA Cheese? What about Press Brothers Juicery? Loads of foodie inspiration can be found at these places — though a wine and cheese plate may not be something that you should serve at a football or basketball-related party, mini sliders or cheese and crackers are very appropriate.

Okay, so we have some basics covered — sliders, guacamole with chips, cheese and crackers, juice. One main course dish is always a bonus — an excellent way to show off your culinary side.

But if you aren’t the biggest fan of cooking, a fun thing to do is have a potluck-style party — everyone contributes and brings one dish. Potlucks can be great when you have friends who bring too much because usually you get to keep the leftovers.

Great main courses don’t need to be fancy; they can be as simple as an arugula salad with tomatoes and some vinaigrette, or pesto pasta.

Avoid having friends bring chips and dip and tons of soda – that doesn’t really get you anywhere and people’s stomachs won’t be happy if the game isn’t going too well. As humans, we love to wash away our sorrows with delicious food, so make sure that if the team your group is rooting for is losing, you can cover the loss as much as you possibly can with something good.

Dessert — you can never have too many. I had a friend bring Oreo Balls — crumbled Oreo mixed with cream cheese and covered in chocolate. And yes, it was better than it sounds. Cookies are great if you are attending someone else’s potluck as well.

Planning ahead is key and when you pull from all of your resources it is also a breeze, like the winds of change headed in the San Diego Chargers’ direction for next year’s Super Bowl -— maybe it’s unlikely, but a girl can dream.

Here’s to you and your party. May it be a merry good time filled with good conversation and full bellies.


Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing.  Her column “In Love With the Edible” runs Wednesdays.