Want to watch the year’s biggest game with some of football’s biggest stars?
Fat chance, unless you’ve got deep pockets or know the right people. More likely, you’ll tune into the Super Bowl like everyone else — on the couch.
But if you can’t party with gridiron heroes like Dan Marino, Drew Brees and Mike Ditka, at least you can eat like them.
Dolphins great Bob Griese and his wife Shay have put together a cookbook packed with recipes from some of their best friends — who also happen to be some of the top names in sports.
The 168-page anthology, published last year, is aptly named the Griese Spoon Cookbook, a labor of love whose proceeds benefit cancer research and grief counseling.
“We talked about how it would be fun to get together with some of our good friends — like Coach [Don] Shula, [Larry] Csonka, [Dan] Marino, [John] Madden — and find out what they like to make,” Bob Griese said recently from the couple’s Jupiter home.
Turns out, Shula serves up a mean steak soup (made from 40 pounds of Angus beef stew meat). Csonka, the ultimate outdoorsman, probably hunts the moose called for in his Alaskan chili recipe.
And Marino, a proud Italian-American, offered up his Bolognese sauce recipe.
“It has to be simple, has to be easy, and has to be sports-related to keep [people’s] interest,” Shay Griese said. “It’s done really well.”
And it supports a cause that’s of great importance for Bob Griese, Hall of Fame quarterback and TV analyst. His first wife Judi died of breast cancer in 1988. Their son Brian Griese — a former NFL quarterback in his own right — created Denver-based Judi’s House in her memory. The foundation helps children and family members who are grieving the death of a loved one “find hope and healing within themselves,” its website states.
Shay Griese, meanwhile, serves on the board of Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center, a research facility committed to the prevention and cure of cancer.
All proceeds from the Grieses’ book go to these organizations.
Beyond football stars, other recipe contributors include country star Kenny Chesney (Key lime pie), newscaster Sam Donaldson (enchiladas), hockey great Bobby Hull (chicken dip), baseball manager Don Mattingly (bird nest) and golfer Jack Nicklaus (red velvet cake).
In all, the book includes more than 100 appetizers, meals and desserts.
My wife Lauren (an attorney and pretty good cook) and I were tasked with picking five recipes to prepare and eat. Tough assignment, we know.
Shay Griese likes to brag that her recipes are quick, inexpensive and healthy. And while the latter might be true with most of the dishes, we went the other route. Our picks probably won’t make Weight Watchers: Buffalo chicken dip, macaroni and cheese, stovetop steaks, crab cakes and, yes, a salad (tomato and mozzarella).
We started with Hull’s chicken dip. As if the cream cheese, rich dressing and shredded mozzarella wasn’t enough gluttony, we decided to double the recipe. Plus I like spice, so we upped the amount of hot sauce.
It was a delight, and a nap-inducing complement to playoff football.
Later that night, it was on to the steaks, which we broiled instead of cooking in a frying pan. The book leaves gaps in certain recipes that we had to fill in with our imagination (like using cabernet and lots of grain mustard in the steak’s sauce). The leftover wine helped wash it down, and we paired the dish with tater tots (classy, we know).
Next up was crab cakes. I’m a bit of a snob on this matter, having spent four years in Baltimore. And these fell short of those lofty standards. We followed the directions but ended up with crab mush, not cakes.
The from-scratch mac and cheese, however, was far more successful. Gale Sayers knows (at the very least) two things: how to run the football and how to fatten us up. This dish was pure decadence, although we probably should have stuck to the recipe. We freelanced on the cheeses, using Colby instead of American, and the taste wasn’t as sharp. Still, it got the job done.
As for the salad — well, it’s a salad. Healthy and crisp, it served its purpose, which was to not take up too much room in our bellies before the true gorging began.
The Grieses would recommend these and many of their book’s other dishes as Super Bowl party pleasers, but naturally, they have their favorites. Bob Griese loves the Cuban sandwich, while his bride raves about her ribs.
“I take a lot of pride in this book,” Bob Griese said. “Everything goes through me. It’s amazing I didn’t gain 50 pounds while writing it.”