The Thrill of Eating and the Agony of Defeat

Since moving considerably south of the friends with whom I have traditionally watched football, I’ve usually been on my own for the Super Bowl – and this year was no exception. But I wasn’t going to allow that to get in the way of planning and executing a menu that would be worthy of the Big Game. While my wife is nowhere near being a football fan, she was happy to get in on the food side of the day.

I began the preparation early in the week by making a red gravy with hot Italian sausage. That involved sautéing chopped onion and garlic before adding red wine, a can of San Marzano tomatoes, various herbs and seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese. Here is a link to an older post that goes into the process in greater detail for those who are interested. 

The first step in making a good gravy.
The pouch contained fresh Italian parsley and bay leaves.
Ready to simmer while awaiting the addition of sausage.

Once I had the gravy simmering, I browned a pound of sausage links in a frying pan before adding them to the sauce pot. 

Browning a pound of hot Italian sausage to add to the red gravy.
I let this go about four hours before taking it off the stove.

I let that remain on simmer for a few hours, then, after letting it cool, split the gravy and sausage into two batches, freezing one for later in the week. I didn’t need all of it for game day, so the portion that didn’t go into the freezer was mixed with pasta and eaten over the next few days.

I mixed in the pasta with a little less than half of the gravy and sausage to eat during the week and froze the rest for the weekend.

The frozen batch was thawed in time for Sunday. To begin the day’s eating festivities, I heated one-and-a-half sausage links with a little gravy in a pan before placing them on an Italian roll with grated cheese and throwing that in the oven for a few minutes to create a sausage grinder.

I began Sunday’s eating festivities during the afternoon with a sausage grinder. This shot was taken just before I stuck it in the oven for a few minutes.

As good as the sausage sandwich was, it was just a warmup for the pre-game main event. That would be an array of pizzas on crust made by my wife. She prepared two different types of dough; Detroit-style and a more standard thin crust.

The two Detroit-style crusts just before cheese and sauce were added to the one on the left.
One of the thin crusts. We spread garlic-infused olive oil on all of them before adding the other ingredients.

We didn’t use any toppings on the two square Detroit-style pies, which received a layer of Monterey Jack cheese and a separate red sauce. But the thin crust pizzas – two rectangular and one round – had a nice variety of them, including onions that I had caramelized earlier in the day.

The round one was turned into a white pie with mozzarella and caramelized onions on half and goat cheese with mushrooms and caramelized onions on the other side. 

I cut up the rest of the sausage and used that and the remaining red gravy with mozzarella and caramelized onions on one of the rectangular crusts. My wife created a white-veggie pie with the other one, which had mozzarella on one half and goat cheese on the other. 

The thin-crust pies needed to go into the oven for 5-10 minutes with just the toppings – and sauce for the one that had it – but without cheese. They were then placed back into it after the cheese was added

The rest of the sausage and gravy went onto this thin crust.
My wife’s colorful white-veggie pie
This one, which would also be white, had caramelized onions on both halves and mushrooms on one side.

They all came out looking and tasting very impressive. The one issue was that the two Detroit pies weren’t quite done enough near the center, but after taking off the outer slices, we stuck them back in the oven for a few more minutes to take care of that.

I’ve never ordered a Detroit-style pizza while dining out, so I can’t say how authentic our version was, but the crust and overall flavor profile were fantastic.

One of the Detroit pies. We cut off the outer slices and stuck the center portion back in the oven for a few more minutes.

As always, my wife did a sensational job with the thin crusts. They were sturdy enough to hold their toppings without sagging and met at the junction of crispy and chewy; something that is highly desirable, but not easy to achieve.

I was quite smitten with the half of this white pie that was topped with mozzarella and caramelized onions.
The sausage pie. I let the cheese brown before taking it out of the oven.
The white-veggie pie

I sampled slices from each pizza, although I didn’t have any from either of the halves with goat cheese. While I liked all of them, the round white pie half that was topped with just mozzarella and caramelized onions was my favorite. There are enough leftovers to keep any residual pizza cravings we may have over the next few days satisfied.

While the food side of Sunday was a rousing success, obviously the game didn’t turn out as I had hoped it would. In fact, it ended in brutally painful fashion for Eagles fans. And that leads me back to the post I wrote in October of 2021 about being conditioned to expect the worst after seeing my teams fall just short of ultimate glory so many times during my formative years. 

On the bright side, I now recover much more quickly from such losses than I did back then. In fact, it only took me about 15 minutes from the end of the game to be able to refocus on finishing this post. I was blissfully unaware of what was to come when I wrote roughly the first half of it.

I’m giving the post a final edit now – the following morning – and I am in a surprisingly good mood. I’d have been depressed for weeks after such a loss during my teens.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

6 thoughts on “The Thrill of Eating and the Agony of Defeat

  1. Magnificent! What a feast!

    And it was a great game, despite the outcome, well-played on both sides. But did the half-time show last longer than usual. I kept checking to see if it was over and it seems to go on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When the Chiefs lined up for that final FG, did you think back to the playoff game between the Eagles and Bears a few years ago?

    Great job with the sausage and pizzas! I can only imagine what you might do if you were feeding more than 2 people.

    And it was a nice change of pace. I’m sure there were quite a few parties that featured KC-style barbecue and Philly cheesesteaks.


    1. I was honestly surprised to see how many crusts my wife made. I had no idea she was making the Detroit-style crusts in addition to the thin ones.

      I shut it off after that penalty was called.


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