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Not often does the Super Bowl get outshadowed but it certainly feels that way this week.

As the sports world continues to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other passengers who died Sunday; Super Bowl LIV provides an outlet for escape and return to normalcy.

And what would a Super Bowl party be without a super spread?

There are many iterations of a food spread and they have definitely become a little more healthy over the years.

Although, the only healthy thing I want on my Super Bowl spread table is the veggie platter. I will also admit that I feel the veggie platter is very underrated and gets a lot of undue flak.

The star of the veggie platter is certainly the baby carrots. I love baby carrots.

Fun fact: baby carrots can also be a nice little projectile to shoot at your friends. Just eat half of it and the remaining half can be shot by squeezing your thumb, index and middle fingers together until — pew! — it flies across the room.

But be nice and clean up after yourselves! Don’t let your party host find baby carrots all over the next morning.

Before I delve into the essentials I need to see on a table for Super Bowl game day, I want to share some of the food items our Indian Country Today staff likes to chow down on while they watch the big game. (With the occasional recipe!)

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, reporter/producer: “PICKLES. HOT CHEETOS. BACON WRAPPED JALAPENO POPPERS. FRITO PIES.”

(She gets excited when she talks about food. And loves Hot Cheetos.)

I never heard it called a Frito pie, but I’m fairly certain that is like a taco in a bag, for those that are unfamiliar.

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, executive producer: “A Southwest favorite — seven layer dip with corn chips! Beans on bottom topped with hamburger, cheese, guacamole, onions, salsa, sour cream. Prickly pear margaritas or prickly pear lemonade to drink ... Delish!”

Got to have a good dip!

Joaqlin Estus, Tlingit, national correspondent: “Smoked salmon spread with sliced baguettes. Mix cream cheese with canned smoked salmon (drained - drink the canned salmon juice, it's delish!), chopped green onions, and a dash each of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. There are dozens of variations - use sour cream and mayonnaise or sour cream and Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese, add a tablespoon of lemon juice, add chopped dill pickles or capers, or use horseradish instead of hot sauce. Garnish the bowl with chopped dill. It's hearty and delicious -- everybody loves it.”

Had me at smoked salmon!

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, Washington editor: “My mom’s Super Bowl tradition became mine, cocktail smokies (love them!) with cheddar cheese slices, chips and salsa, buffalo wings, Lay’s wavy chips and green chile dip is always happening. Every now and then, she and my dad likes to get fancy and make cajun broil or crab legs!”

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Safe to say I would go to all of my colleague’s Super Bowl parties.

One major key that I’ve forgotten to mention is communication. If you’re going to a Super Bowl party you have to let people know what you’re bringing.

I went to a friend’s house to watch the Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers game a few weeks back and everyone brought chips and salsa. Which was hilarious, all things considered.

Let’s start with the basics, a spread isn’t complete without the aforementioned veggie spread. Don’t argue with me, it’s just essential.

There needs to be at least two types of chips and dips. Classic tortilla chips and salsa and the other can be your favorite brand, whatever that may be. Now the second dip is a wild card, some people pride themselves on their dip making abilities.

I gotta give a shoutout to my best friend’s fiancé, Sara, who makes a super-bomb buffalo chicken dip. I will say though, Patty’s Southwest seven-layer dip mentioned above does sound pretty enticing.

Next, and this is a personal favorite of mine to spice up the variety, is a shrimp ring. I know seafood isn’t everyone’s thing but hey, that means more for me!

The last dish in the appetizer section is a charcuterie board, to give your party a little dash of class. The nice thing is, a lot of stores have premade ones for you so you don’t have to go through the hassle of cutting your own cheese slices or having to make it look all fancy.

As we move down the table, we get into the good stuff. You could always play it safe and go with pizza but we aren’t here to play it safe. It’s one of the biggest entertainment events of the year!

Wings are a must-have, no questions asked. You can’t go wrong with classic buffalo or barbecue but don’t get too crazy with your sauces. Remember, K.I.S.S. — Keep It Simple Stupid.

The merits of ranch vs. bleu cheese can be a contentious topic among foodies but I prefer the former. Ranch won’t ruin your other plate items when they inevitably cross paths like bleu cheese will. Case closed.

I’ve always been a proponent of cocktail weenies or pigs-in-a-blanket. Doesn’t take a lot of effort to make them and they are sure to be eaten.

Sliders can also provide a nice touch but if you’re really trying to go all out, fire up that grill and throw down some ribs. Your guests are sure to love you for it!

Similar to Thanksgiving or other holiday meals, people will inevitably hit the wall but that doesn’t mean they are done eating! Some head back for seconds on what’s leftover from the appetizers and main courses but others head for the deserts.

I love my sweets but am not a baker by any means. Sweets are the best thing to outsource, either to incoming guests or your local grocery.

Personally, I’m a fan of cupcakes, cookies, and bowls filled with M&Ms. But if you know an awesome baker, it never hurts to ask them to bake a cake or pie.

There you have it, all the food to make your Super Bowl spread the best ever this year! Take from my list or go with your gut, either way, enjoy the game! 

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Kolby KickingWoman is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is Blackfeet/Gros Ventre from the great state of Montana and currently reports and lives in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email -

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