There was a time when the Grey Cup was one of the most highly-anticipated sporting events across the land. Between the 1950s and ’80s, family and friends would gather to watch the biggest Canadian football game of the year, a celebration fuelled by high-calorie food and plenty of booze.
Sadly, with declining interest in the game coupled with a new emphasis on healthy eating, the Grey Cup party just isn’t what it used to be. For those who want to keep the fine old tradition alive, here’s a suggested bill of fare for a truly Canadian old-school Grey Cup party.
1. Pre-game cocktail
Serve only the classics, either that timeless Canadian cocktail, a Caesar with Mott’s Clamato (invented in Calgary) or the once ubiquitous rum and Coke. Avoid anything trendy like Champagne sangria or lemon-drop martinis.
2. Pre-game snack
Nothing says football like salty, cheesy and ultra high-fat munchies. We suggest cocktail weenies, guacamole and Bugles or Ritz crackers with Philly Cream Cheese dip. Avoid sea salt kale chips and eggplant dip.
3. Main course
Stuff your face with linebacker-sized portions of nachos, poutine, back-bacon sandwiches, chicken fingers, hamburgers and pizza. Avoid butternut squash soup, vegan chili, smoked trout and sweet-potato fries.
An all-Canadian lineup: butter tarts, Nanaimo bars and carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Avoid chocolate-dipped apricots and avocado ice cream.
Thirst quencher Legendary sports writer Dick Beddoes always referred to the big game as Canada’s Grand National Drunk. Keep that spirit alive by offering sesquicentennial themed-beers, like Labatt 150 or Molson Canadian – better if it comes in stubbies, which are still available in some parts of the country. No self-respecting CFL fan would ever bring craft beer to an old-school Grey Cup party.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2017 issue with the headline, “Party Like It’s 1979,” p. 52.