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Preparing for the Feast of Football

Without a grass roots movement, petitions, marches on Washington or presidential proclamations, Super Bowl Sunday has apparently found its way into our culture and onto our calendars as an unofficial National holiday.

And what does our human nature prompt us to do when we are in celebratory spirits? We eat, of course. On our national “Days of Feasts” calendar, Super Bowl Sunday now ranks number two for food consumption, second only to Thanksgiving.

Such has been evidenced in newspapers, magazines and morning television broadcasts throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. From Emeril Lagasse in last week’s Parade magazine to every food and style writer and announcer in the country, each has shared his or her favorite “quick and easy” party-pleaser recipes.

Driving our collective passion for communal gathering and feasting on a cold winter’s evening each January (now February), is a chance to gather around the television set in anticipation of that “four million-dollar moment” that makes us all laugh together. That’s right, this year’s commercials go for nearly $4 million per 30-second spot. We all know the Super Bowl is as much, if not more about the commercials than it is the football.

So what’s on our collective snack plate for such an august occasion? According to the National Chicken Council, apparently chicken wings, and lots of them. The organization estimates Super Bowl partygoers will eat 1.23 billion chicken wings on this day. By my calculator, that’s 615 million chickens that won’t be flying the coup.

But what’s a chicken without wings? Unfortunately for the chicken, its contribution to this Feast of Football requires more than its wings, it’s a full commitment, the ultimate sacrifice. The availability of chicken wings is a derivative of the current supply of whole birds.

As we all learned in economics class, price is a function of supply and demand. With the demand for chicken wings at an all time high this weekend, chicken wings are currently the highest priced part of a chicken at more than $2 per pound.

While most of us will be dipping our wings in ranch dressing, it seems Baltimore Raven fans will more likely be serving up their wings with blue cheese – all the more reason to root for the Niners.

Complementing our wings and sauce will be chips – lots and lots of chips. Neilson, the polling company, estimates nearly 46 million pounds of the delicious and tempting snacks will be consumed during game time. According to the Calorie Control Council, we’ll be taking in nearly half of our recommended daily allowance of calories and three fourths of the recommended fat allowance in snacks alone this Sunday evening.

An alternative to all this gluttony might be to watch the game from the discomfort of your treadmill. But that would mean foregoing the fellowship, and you’d likely have to put away the clothes hanging from the handrails, waiting to be ironed.

So in the interests of National unity and pride, we should all gather together this evening to watch football the way it is supposed to be played, and celebrate good old American consumerism with the Feast of Football.

Enjoy the evening with friends and loved ones, but go light on the sweet tea. You don’t want to be the one who had to leave the room when that big $4 million laugh erupts. When you do go, don’t forget to say, “don’t get my seat.”

Rick Reynolds is president/publisher of The Daily Leader. Contact him at rreynolds@dailyleader.com.