Get In the Game!

Get In the Game!

Carla Hall of Top Chef Season 5 helps you get in the game with fun football party ideas.


When you're hosting a party at your house or a bar, how can you make it fun and get everyone involved?

Like I said before, I love games, so creating any game around "The Game" would be a good time for me. Pools are popular, and money has a way of hooking any and everyone in. Afterall, we're all being reminded these days that money really doesn't grow on trees. Pools could be created for just about anything - the quarter-end scores, how many times a particular company runs its commercials (Budweiser comes to mind), how many times a particular player does one thing or another. Make it up! This is a great way to get non-sports folks involved and really into watching the game.

Another fun thing to do, which involves food, is to have an easy cook-off. The operative word being easy. Have your guests create a sandwich that is inspired by the teams. I'm suggesting a sandwich, or something room temperature, so they're not spending so much time preparing. Chili would, of course, work. (I love chili. Can I say that enough?) I question various folks wherever I go about these things, and it seems the quality of food is secondary to the game.

Invite a variety of people - sports and non-sports folks alike. People-watching is fun, and obviously meeting new people is fun as well.

A lot of bars allowed food — what’s good to bring?

I don't know many bars that allow outside food, but I would think anything that's easy, and travels well, would be acceptable. Items that don't have to be reheated would make the most sense. Things that have interesting flavors and textures. For instance, consider smoked salmon tartare with rye crackers or toast instead of smoked salmon mousse. For the tartare, dice up hot smoked salmon (the one that looks cooked) and mix in an equal amount of cold smoked salmon (lox, basically.) Combine that with capers (rinsed), red onions, chives, lemon zest, olive oil...anything that you may think to put on a bagel (sans the cream cheese and tomatoes.) Make sense? OK, so the salmon tartare may seem a little high brow, but I'm sure you get my drift. What about making a dish with white beans, tomatoes and Moroccan flavors (garlic, parsley, cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin seed, ginger, and cayenne) then serving it with a crusty bread for dipping? Do you still have your crock pot? Dump and roll baby, dump and roll!

If you're doing this at someone's house, the same ideas apply. And you don't cook, make a signature drink to share with everyone. Think outside the box, and make it the kind of fun you would like. Others will probably enjoy it too.

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