Friday, February 5, 2016

A Playbook of Football-Watching Snacks
What’s cooking? The Kitchen Goddess's Top 5 Noshes for Super Bowl Friends

Hut 1, hut 2,... What the hell does “hut” mean anyway? (And you thought you’d tuned into this blog for the cooking.)

It’s the sort of question I ask myself now and then, when I come upon a word used in a way that doesn’t make sense to me. After all, a hut is a small dwelling, usually of a rough or simple construction. But that’s obviously not the way it’s used on the football field. So I wandered out onto the interweb to see what I could find.

The answer came from an article by linguist Ben Zimmer, executive editor of and a language columnist for The Wall Street Journal. According to Zimmer, monosyllables like “hip,” “hup,” and “hep” have been used for centuries by coachmen and herders as a short, sharp sound that would get the attention of their animals. Early in the 20th century, drill sergeants in the military began to make similar use of these sounds to establish a cadence for marching. One usage in particular was of “Atten-hut!” as a call to attention. It’s not easy to get that last “-shun” sound in “attention” to be loud and forceful, so the substitution of “-hut” gives a natural accent to the syllable.

At about the same time – and with a similar result in mind – these grunt-like interjections were also being adopted in the world of football. John Heisman – yes, that Heisman – in his quarterbacking days (1890-91), introduced the word “hike” to signal that the ball was being put into motion. Next up, Knute Rockne – as a coach in the 1920s – introduced shift formations in which the quarterback first called the signal, then yelled “hip” to initiate a shift by the backfield to new positions.

In the post-WWII era, among the many ways in which the language of war and the military were absorbed by the general public, “hut” spread from the drill sergeant to the quarterback, though more as a signal for the snap and not necessarily for a shift by the offensive line. Today, though much about the game has changed, “hut” retains its use at the line of scrimmage.

In preparation for this day of days in the football world, I had planned to look around for a new and exciting snacky thing for you to serve as you watch. But nothing seemed as good as the “playbook” of noshes I’ve already got. So here are what I’ll call my Top 5 What to Serve for Super Bowl 50. [KG note: Click on the recipe titles to go directly to the post with the recipe.]

Cheesy Black-eyed Pea Dip

Nothing beats this dip. Nothing. I’ve served it time and again, and it always disappears faster than you can say “forward pass.” Serve it with chips. Use a chafing dish because it’s infinitely better warm and when the cheese is runny. And be sure to try it before you put it on the table, because otherwise, you won’t get any.

Artichoke Pesto

At the healthy end of the spectrum, this one works with chips and crudité veggies. Easy to make ahead of time, and if you have any left over (doubtful), I mix it with scrambled eggs for breakfast, or roll some up in a lettuce leaf for a low-cal lunch.

Corn & Black Bean Relish

Gluten-free, low sugar – so healthy looking you might think it’s not even fun. But it is. And easy to make – just throw everything into a bowl and stir. Sweet and crunchy from the corn, tart from the lime juice, and a hint of smoke from the black beans. If you start tasting it to correct the seasoning, don’t be surprised if you look down and find that you’ve eaten half the bowl. It’s that addictive.

Sausage-Stuffed Dates 

[KG note: You'll have to scroll far down on the link to get to the recipe for this.]
Right – not a dip. But easy to make a bunch of these ahead of time and cook them in batches. The last time I served these, I heard moaning from the crowd.

Mexican Shrimp Dip

There’s no photo for this last dip – shame on me. Something I’ll have to do this spring. But you can trust the Kitchen Goddess, can’t you? Shrimp, tomato, avocado, lime, and a bit of cilantro – what’s not to like? If you’re not dieting, this stuff is great on chips or pita crisps; for the dieters, health nuts, or gluten-avoiders, it’s equally good on bell pepper scoops or cucumber slices.

Bonus item: Greek Almond Cookies

As you know, the Kitchen Goddess wouldn’t feel right without including something sweet here. These cookies are amazingly easy – the whole process, including gathering your ingredients, takes less than an hour. They’re also gluten-free and low cal (except that it’s hard to stop eating them).

Go team!


  1. Add my favorite--"Quesadilla Casserole." Take a 6" or 9" casserole dish then build layers: one tortilla, salsa (your preference mild, medium or hot), sour cream, shredded jack & cheddar cheese--repeat to height of casserole dish. Last layer ends in the cheese, stick it in a 350 degree oven until top layer starts to bubble and brown. Slice and serve.

    1. Wow -- sounds delicious, Steve. What a multi-talented guy!

  2. How I adore this blog...not only a quick-but-thorough education in some football terminology and it's derivations, but five, count 'em FIVE delicious looking recipes to nosh on while sharing this new found football lingo info. What more could a girl need? Why, nothing at Super Bowl time! Y'all Yell! (A chant from the cheerleaders during my high school days.)
    Eileen in Atlanta

    1. Thanks for the compliments, Eileen! And enjoy the game tomorrow -- no Falcons, no Cowboys -- you and I can just enjoy the food!

  3. Loved the Greek Almond cookies. Served them with Central Market sorbets and they were yummy. My friend who is gluten intolerant loved them.


    1. I agree -- it's always nice to come up with a recipe that's actually worthy on its own AND gluten-free.