The top 5 Super Bowl party fouls

    Consumer Reports News: January 31, 2011 09:08 AM

    Super Bowl Sunday is all about suspense. What big play will top New York Giant David Tyree's "helmet catch" from Super Bowl XLII? Can a scandal ever rip through the halftime show like Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" from Super Bowl XXXVIII? Will any TV commercial surpass the sentimentality of "Mean" Joe Green's Coca-Cola spot in Super Bowl XIII, the one where he tosses the kid his jersey (sniffle sniffle)?

    More water-cooler moments no doubt await Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. But if you're hosting a party for the big game, you want to make sure the drama comes from the field and not from sick guests or post-game home repairs. With that, Consumer Reports has compiled its list of top Super Bowl party fouls—and how to avoid them.

    Illegal use of hands. This is most likely to occur during the party prep if you touch food with unclean hands. Always wash with soap and warm water for twenty seconds before handling food. And prevent juice from raw meat, poultry, and fish from cross-contaminating other foods by cleaning cutting boards, knives, and countertops when switching from one food prep to another.

    False start. Referring to meat dishes—whether chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches, or Philly cheese steaks—that aren't cooked to the USDA's recommended safe minimum internal temperatures. Check our report on meat thermometers if you don't own one of these kitchen essentials. Once served, perishable food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours, so plan your menu around first-half and second-half courses. One of our top-performing slow cookers could give you one less dish to worry about.

    Tripping. With all those limbs flailing in front of the TV, someone is bound to take a tumble. Let's hope they're not holding a bowl of chili or a bottle of chocolate stout. But just in case, keep a roll of paper towels (Walgreens Ultra Quilted and CVS Big Quilts combined strength and absorbency in Consumer Reports latest paper towel tests) to quickly blot stains until dry. For stubborn spills, have a container of carpet-stain remover at the ready. Seventh Generation Natural Carpet Spot and Stain Remover is a CR Best Buy, but Bissell's OxyPro Carpet Spot & Stain Remover did slightly better with red wine (though for best results, you can limit the party to white wine).

    Holding. As in your guests' bladders, after the halftime rush to the toilet (apocryphally known as the "Super Bowl flush") causes your home's plumbing system to fail. Give your toilet a check up to make sure it's ready for the workout. If the toilet runs nonstop, you're probably ready for a new flapper or valve, while leaks are signs of faulty water-supply connections. Need a new throne? Check our toilet buying guide for recommended models. Come game day, make sure you have a plunger handy, preferably a newer, bellow-style model, which Consumer Reports has found to be as effective as chemical drain cleaners at clearing clogs. 

    Delay of game. As in delay of game food. If you're serving serial pizzas or baking a ham, your oven will get a workout. To expand your cooking capabilities, leverage the strengths of your countertop appliances. Many toaster ovens can serve as a second oven and help you heat chicken wings, pigs in blankets and other finger foods. If your microwave has a convection mode, you can use it to brown and crisp food or to quickly heat a platter of nachos. But before you plug in your high wattage helpers, make sure they are running on separate circuits or at least not at the same time. You don't want to trip a breaker switch in the middle of the big game. That could result in some unnecessary roughness.

    —Daniel DiClerico


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