As my trusted readers know, Sunday’s are usually reserved for my weekly “Sunday Scripture” blog about something spiritual. Well, today I am breaking tradition and am writing about that other church I worship in: the church of football!
Today is “Super Bowl Sunday” and I can’t even imagine not writing about the big day. I love football. I grew up rooting for the Denver Broncos so I couldn’t be happier than to root for them in today’s big game against Seattle.
There’s only one other team I’d rather be cheering on in a Super Bowl, and that would be the Buffalo Bills, Smitty’s beloved hometown team. When we were first married, the Bills were amazing. They had big name players and they went to four Super Bowls…in a row. Yes, they lost all four of them but no other team has accomplished the difficult feat of just getting there four consecutive times. Sadly, the Bills have never been back. In fact, in Kristen’s young memory, they have never even made it to the playoffs. Still, she roots for them and wears her Bills beanie proudly on cold Norman, Oklahoma days. Someday she says, someday.
Buffalo’s Anchor Bar & Grill
But, Buffalo is part of every Super Bowl, whether the Bills are playing or not. It’s all thanks to a woman named Teressa Bellissimo and a little thing called wings. You know them, you love them: chicken wings. They originated at Teressa and her husband Frank’s “Anchor Bar and Grill” in Buffalo on a whim but today they will be found at watch parties coast-to-coast. It’s estimated that just today, Americans will eat more than 1.2 billion of the little fried snacks. So many in fact, that a recent survey showed wings are the favorite Super Bowl food, beating even pizza.
On March 4 of this year, the Anchor Bar will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the wing. Legend has it that the late-night arrival of the Bellissimo’s son Dominic to their restaurant lead to the creation of the wing. Dominic brought with him several college friends so Teressa needed a fast and easy snack for them. She came up with the idea of frying the wings and tossing them in hot sauce. The wings, normally tossed aside and used merely for chicken stock, quickly became the stars of the place. Today they sit right alongside legs, garnished with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
In addition to the celery and blue cheese, there are other wing traditions. Number one, don’t call them “Buffalo Wings.” They are simply “wings.” Number two, don’t bake them. True wings are friend. Number three, they are never breaded, but rather simply coated in hot sauce and vinegar. Like Buffalonians themselves, wings are simple yet substantial.
Smitty and I have discovered a few local places that make good wings, but nothing compares to the real deals up in Buffalo. They are bigger, crispier and just better. They are also hot! Growing up, Smitty actually remembers putting his lips in snow just to cool them off!
I asked Smitty a couple of days ago if he wanted to grill steaks for the Super Bowl. Nope, he said. We’re getting pizza and wings. Of course. What was I thinking!?
On a side note, I’d like to congratulate former Bills’ player Andre Reed for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.
It’s about time.
Former Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly and two of his “wing men” Andre Reed and Bruce Smith