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Hunting for Big Game Cuisine

The Super Bowl of snacking pits the Pittsburgh Kielbasa vs. the Seattle Smoked Sockeye.

Picking Pittsburgh? Siding with the Seahawks? When it comes to your Super Bowl selection, don't forget perhaps the most crucial decision of all: What to eat?

As a Super Bowl spectator, it's not about which team wins or loses, it's how well you snack during the game.

If you're backing the black and gold (the Pittsburgh Steelers, for those unfamiliar), start old-world German style with a few yards of kielbasa. As any diehard fan knows, the kielbasa is best enjoyed with a rousing rendition of the Steeler cheer: "Ooh sa sa sa, ooh sa sa sa, hit him with a big kielbasa!"

To cook kielbasa, simmer it in beer on your stovetop, tossing in some sliced onions for additional flavor if desired. Once the kielbasa has cooked (about 20 minutes), give it some charred flavor and color using an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan. If you have access to neither, swirl some hot oil in a skillet, and sear the cooked sausage for about one to two minutes per side.

Wash it all down with some local brew like

Iron City Beer,

Penn Brew or

Rolling Rock, which is actually made in Latrobe, Pa. but happens to be the official beer of Heinz Field (the Steelers' home field).

For the handful of Steeler-loving vegetarians among us, a simple, classic soft pretzel should suffice.

If you're actually in Pittsburgh -- or in the mood for a road trip -- head down to the Strip District, and stop in at the original

Primanti Brothers. There isn't much they won't put on their Garbage Can sandwiches, which are layered with grilled meat, cole slaw and even fries stuck in between pieces of fresh Italian bread.

True to form, they're holding a pep rally for the Steelers on Friday night, and giving away black and gold beads and free face painting at their suburban locations.

You can also cruise over to The Original Hot Dog Shop, known as "The Dirty O" by locals; it's been around since 1960. Order some hot dogs and their fresh-cut fries. This, of course, should be accompanied by a vat or two of Heinz ketchup, also a Pittsburgh original. For those of you betting big on the game, The Dirty O is for sale. You could be comfortably in kielbasa for the rest of your life.

City by the Bay

Pittsburgh may have its three rivers but between Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Elliot Bay and average annual rainfall of 37 inches, Seattle is


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a water city. Not surprisingly, well-loved local treats are mostly from the sea.

Try a chowder with local Geoduck clams or Dungeness crab. Or leave the chowder making to the experts who have been doing for years,

Ivar's. Ivar's is everywhere: on Seattle's waterfront, at Qwest Field, even at the airport. They are the local favorite for fish and chips, chowder, and anything else you'd like to have done to a piece of seafood.

Or try some salmon jerky, which is just like your classic beef jerky, but made with the local protein. Enjoy authentic local-smoked goods from the area's top smoke houses,

Trident Seafood and

Jensen's Smokehouse.

Nothing says Seahawk support like ripping into a package of smoked Copper River or Sockeye salmon, which you can wash down with some Nut Brown or Winterhook brews from

Red Hook. Or mix it up with a Weizen or an IPA from

Pyramid. For those who prefer wine with their Super Bowl, Washington state is fast becoming a leading wine producer. Two of the best-known brands, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, can be found in wine shops across the country.

If the game's not working in your favor, get up and get screaming with a caffeine buzz from


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or the lesser-known but locally preferred

Seattle's Best Coffee.

If you're pretending to be healthy, grab an apple, as it's the largest agricultural product grown in Washington State. Washington apples can be found in most grocery stores, especially the ultra-sweet Red Delicious variety. Or try an outrageously sugary Rainier Cherry, which was developed in Washington in the 1960s. They're best known by their yellow-red skin and white flesh. You won't find them this time of year (they're strictly a summer crop), but you can always buy them dried from a local purveyor like

Chukar Cherries.

Super Bowl Classics

If you don't have the time or the inclination to prepare true supporter treats, you can also go with the classic Sunday duo: salsa and guacamole. These snacks are so simple you can even make them at the office.

Desktop Guac

By Allison Fishman,

The Wooden Spoon

Total time: 15 minutes

Makes: about 2 cups

2 avocados

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup finely chopped red or sweet white onion

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (use the seeds for added heat)

Salt to taste

Tortilla chips, for serving

Scoop avocado from shell. Cover with lime juice and mash. Stir in onion and jalapeno; season to taste with salt. Eat immediately or cover with plastic wrap, placed directly on the surface of the guacamole so that it does not discolor.

Salsa Fresca

By Allison Fishman, The Wooden Spoon

Total time: 15 minutes

Makes: 1 cup

4 large plum tomatoes, halved

1/2 a small Vidalia onion

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional

Salt and hot sauce to taste

Tortilla chips, for serving

Grate tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Discard tomato skin. Grate onion and add to tomatoes. Add cilantro if desired, and season with salt and hot sauce to taste.

To watch Allison's video take on this column, please click here


A New York-based cooking teacher and wellness coach, Allison Fishman is the founder of

The Wooden Spoon.