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When the National Football Conference (NFC) champs Los Angeles Rams take on the American Football Conference (AFC) league leaders New England Patriots at Feb. 3's Super Bowl LII, in Atlanta, one thing will cross the minds of millions of people from sea to shining sea.

These great Americans will be asking themselves: hey, where's the grub?

Hut-hut-huh?

It's true. Super Bowl Sunday is as much about the food as it is about overpaid athletes playing a game with pigskin inside a stadium with a retractable roof on the day after Groundhog's Day.

Indeed, it is routinely touted as America's second largest food "holiday" after Thanksgiving.

So take that, you Fourth of July picnic fans and you Christmas dinner devotees! There's another seasonal playa and he's wearing shoulder pads!

If you're smart, you'd do exactly what Palmer Specialty Foods' Katie Bay is doing. Throw yourself a party.

SUPER BOWL PARTY 101

"My husband and I rotate between three or four couples," Bay said. "This is our year to host."

Even though she's still working out the game plan for her Super Bowl feast, Bay knows it will center around finger food faves.

"Super Bowl Sunday isn't a sit-around-the-table sort of occasion," she said. "The cook doesn't want to be stuck in the kitchen and the guests don't want to wait around for something to eat."

This is why she will likely go with an ever-popular meat-and-cheese buffet. Plus if she's feeling really ambitious, why not make some beer bread?

"(At Palmer), we have beer bread mixes that even the least-experienced baker can make," Bay said, inside the 405 Wesley Parkway store. "Plus you only have to sacrifice one bottle of beer for the recipe."

Well, if a bottle of beer had to be sacrificed, we guess it's alright. But baking ain't our bag. Barbecue is.

PROPANE PLUS DRINKING EQUALS A GOOD TIME

Next to Independence Day, Super Bowl Weekend is the second busiest time for home grillers. 

Yup, you read that right. Even folks in the Midwest are willing to freeze their weenies to char-broil some weenies. In addition to hot dogs, steak and other grill-ables, Americans will be barbecuing nearly 14 billion burgers!

DON'T SKIP THE DIP

We know you don't to hear about the dreaded "v" word but vegetables are popular Super Bowl finger foods, especially when veggies are deep-fried in order to get rid of all the nutritional values.

It is estimated that we will eat around 11.2 million pounds of potato chips and 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips on Super Bowl Sunday. And what are we using as dip? Americans will be going through 8 million pounds of guacamole. Avocados are healthy, right?

Mostly, we will be eating out -- or ordering in -- for Super Bowl Sunday

ON THE GO GRUB

About one out of seven Americans will be ordering takeout on Feb. 3. Approximately, 60 percent of those orders will be for pizza.

If pizza's the go-to Super Bowl Snack, chicken wings represent a respectable number two.

SOMETHING TO CLUCK ABOUT

According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will be eating more than 100 million pounds of chicken wings during the Super Bowl. That adds up to about 1.25 billion wings.

This is a figure that will bring a smile to Dan Lewis' beak ... er, lips.

Lewis, owner of Eddie's Tavern, 407 D St., Sergeant Bluff, loves to make his wings sweet, moderately spicy and heavily sauced. 

"I can deal with some heat," he said, holding up a sample of the sports bar's signature hot wings. "But they have to be meaty and have tons of flavor."

On the other hand, Joe Junck, owner of the Junkyard Pub n' Grub, 1116 Starview Drive, Hinton, Iowa, prefers a dry rub wing.

"Nothing can be better than eating wings and drinking a beer on game night," he said, chowing down on some Caribbean jerk wings.

Far be it for us to disagree with our experts. After all, Americans will consume about 1,200 calories when snacking on Super Bowl foods. 

Here's one more figure to chew on. Antacid sales will increase by 20 percent come Super Bowl Monday.

Huh, we started this column by asking where's the grub? Maybe, we should've been asking where are the Tums?

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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