By Tom Perry
Des Moines Register
January 28, 2009

The beauty of home Super Bowl parties is that they do not come with traditional food rules attached.

Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals (kickoff will be around 5:20 p.m.) in Tampa is the 44th Super Bowl, and after all these years, the presence of at least one working television set would be the only essential common denominator of every Super Bowl party.

Still, some culinary preference patterns have emerged. Chili is the most popular Super Bowl snack, according to a 2008 national study by, an Internet search engine Web site. Pizza, meatballs, salsa and ribs rounded out the top five in this particular study.

Sandwiches were absent from the list of top 10 foods, but anecdotal evidence suggests they do find their way onto home party tables in and around Des Moines.

“Super Bowl Sunday is the only Sunday during the year that we open,” said John Brooks of B&B Grocery Meat and Deli. “We open for a couple of hours so people can come in and pick up their sandwiches.”

B&B, an old-school-style grocery at 2001 S.E. 6th St. on Des Moines’ south side, is legendary for its fresh hoagie sandwiches. The deli’s Italian-ring sandwich has become especially popular on Super Bowl Sunday. Featuring Italian roast beef, smoked provolone, spicy capicola, hot pepper cheese, hard salami, banana and roasted sweet peppers and Tuscan Italian dressing all on Italian ring bread, the sandwich is cut into 20 pieces and sells for $37.49.

“We hope to sell at least 44 of them in honor of this being Super Bowl 44,” Brooks said.