It’s easy to be a Super Bowl party guest. Just offer to bring beer, and don’t mock the football shaped serving trays and you’re good to go, but if you’re the host it’s an entirely different matter. Your friends can get soggy hotwings and chewey pizza from any bar in town. If you’re hosting, do them one better and take our advice:

The 15 Dos and Don’ts for Super Bowl XLV Food:

  1. DO serve Pittsburgh foods: pierogis, a cookie table, and black and gold tortilla chips are a must. Pittsburgh’s Primanti Brothers inspired sandwiches topped with french fries, cole slaw and tomatoes are a necessity.  
  2. DO serve regional Wisconsin foods: cheese, brats, and beer.
  3. DO serve a variety of beer: lagers, pilsners, porters, and stouts. Each compliment food differently, and everybody loves a good variety.  
  4. DON’T serve cupcakes with team logos on them. Cupcakes are over. Consider donuts, pies, homemade pretzels or flavored popcorns.
  5. DO have a buffet. You shouldn’t spend the entire party serving your guests. You’re a host, not a waiter.
  6. DON’T try to please every person with everything you make. If a guest is a vegetarian that’s their choice. You can, and should, serve brats.
  7. DO have a coffee table with extra snacks in front of the TV. Football fans don’t like snack-y people walking in front of the screen every two minutes, and non football fans don’t want to play cater-waiter for a three hour game.
  8. DON’T serve finger foods only. Three hours of play, plus half time, and pre-game requires substantial food as well.
  9. DO plan separate food for children if they’re invited. Five year olds want chicken nuggets, not pierogis and a cheese plate.
  10. DON’T let your pets get in the way. Begging dogs stand a chance of getting grilled next to the brats.
  11. DON’T try out a new recipe day of. Its pig skin, not guinea pig. If you haven’t made it before, don’t make it at all.
  12. DO make sure you’re guests arrive home safely. Have a time when you're going to close the bar, and start serving coffee.
  13. DON’T serve food that’s unattractive no matter how good it tastes. You should never say “take my word for it” about anything served at a party.
  14. DON’T overreact if someone spills food or a drink. Keep quick clean up supplies around. Food will spill, and a shrieking host concerned about the rug will really kill the party.
  15. DON’T brag about how good your food is. That’s just tacky. Let your guests brag for you. 

Jana Erwin is the primary chef and writer of, a non-profit venture combining the love of fine desserts and feeding the impoverished in Washington DC.