My office’s football pool this year has been a disaster, having managed the neat trick of being both not fun and miserly with the payouts all at once. It’s a “survivor pool:” every week you pick a team you think will win on the coming Sunday, regardless of the spread. Then once you end up being be wrong twice, you’re out of the pool for good. The last player with fewer than two losses wins the entire pot.
Sound like fun? It’s as if the people who dreamt the scheme up didn’t realize that betting on football is supposed to be entertaining. I won’t bore you with the full list of objections I made (like, what’s the point betting on a game you’re not going to watch?) when it was somehow decided a survivor pool this year would be a good idea. Let’s just say the list was long and highly compelling.
I might’ve then simply sulked my way through the season, as is my wont when I don’t get my way, except for the occurrence of what I’ll call the “Week 2 Burn-Down.” Do you remember? That was the weekend that fully nine of 16 NFL underdogs actually won–some against double-digit favorites–with the aggregate result of all those upsets being the collapse of survivor pools from coast to coast. To an anti-survivor-ite such as myself, it was a highly gratifying moment. In our pool in particular, no one got his pick right that Sunday. Amid the general gloom in the office on Monday morning, I tried to keep my whistling to a minimum, and only reminded everyone ten or twelve times that I’d said survivor pools were a dumb idea in the first place. By week 7, enough additional losses had piled up that our pool was more or less defunct. The pool may have turned out to a disaster, but schadenfreude has never been so much fun.
Chips and Chili con Queso
Anyway, enough about the betting. Even absent it, one can still enhance one’s football-watching experience with the help of those two standbys that fans have been enjoying since the invention of the personal foul: beer and salty snacks. I’ll leave the choice of beer to you, but on the salty-snack front—perhaps because I don’t have the frisson of having any capital at risk on game day and so prefer munching on something extra-tasty—I find myself regularly having some chips and chili con queso. No, not the stuff out of a jar, or the fancied-up versions recipe developers have come up in order to avoid the indignity of having to call for Vel***ta. I mean the real thing. I’m amazed that the following recipe isn’t better-known here in the Northeast. It’s a staple especially in Texas. The people there will hopefully forgive me for sharing their little secret:
1 pound Velveeta
1 ten-ounce can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies.
Cut up the Velveeta into cubes and put them into a sauce pan. Add the contents of the can of Ro-Tel chilies. Heat until the Velveeta is melted and contents are combined. Pour into a bowl and serve with tortilla chips.
Stop making faces. This is one dip recipe that is guaranteed to dazzle your guests, especially the men. Every chili con queso recipe you’ll ever run across aspires to taste like it. So cut out the busywork, I say, and go with what’s really authentic.