Super Bowl dips and spreads

Your Super Bowl party isn't complete without a dynamite crock of beer-cheese spread. This one is just that.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez, for the Gazette- Times

Too many hosts and hostesses have become cavalier about their vegetable dips and spreads — considering a plate of crudites nothing more than the token health food — an offering to the Spa Gods, if you will, not to be taken seriously. And so, in the party-prep stage, mixing up a bowl of vegetable dip ranks barely ahead of straightening the cushions and ordering pizza for the kids. They think you can stir any ol’ thing into a pint of sour cream and call it good.

But good? Much of it isn’t even palatable. So, with this Sunday’s Super Bowl in mind, here’s your chance to really shine in the dip department.

Besides, this is a perfectly good time to be eating more fresh vegetables anyway. Particularly if you weren’t eating enough of them during those social events you attended last December. The following recipes might not be as labor-free as scraping 16 ounces of vegetable dip-like substance from a carton into a bowl, or ripping open a package of soup mix and stirring it into sour cream. But they do have one thing going for them: they’re good.

For the rest of the repast, there are only a few important basics to consider:

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• Easy-eating foods. In other words, foods that make it from platter to mouth without the diner having to exhibit an abundance of dexterity in the process. Your carpets will thank you.

• Variety. Even if popcorn is your main event, you sort of need to round out the menu with nuts, crackers, cheese and chips.

• Let’s hear it for manly foods. Roll out your zesty brats, rip-snortin' chili, pile 'em high heroes, chunky cheese spreads and anything boiled in beer.

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, artist and author of “Oregon Hazelnut Country, the Food, the Drink, the Spirit,” and four other cookbooks. Readers can contact her by email at janrd@proaxis.com or find additional recipes and food tips on her blog at www.janrd.com.

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