I had planned to write this column about how awesome it is to live in a city that is so pumped to be on the verge of winning a seventh Super Bowl. I’d have shared some warm story about watching football with our Paraguayan exchange student and our fourteen year old son. I’d have cheered the grey slushy beauty that is Pittsburgh in February. I’d have shared some pretty cool tailgate food recipes.
But alas, we live neither in Philadelphia nor Boston. The Steelers will be watching the game on their own big TVs, just like we will. I have, however, pledged a two week allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles. It stems partly from lifelong Pennsylvania state pride, partly from the fact that we have a couple of Mad Mex Restaurants in Philly and some really awesome people working there (although I know of one Patriots fan cooking in Willow Grove who I hope is scheduled to work Sunday night), and partly from the Steeler fan resentment of the Patriots and their evil coach and poster boy Quarterback.
Fly Eagles (cough) Fly! See, I did it.
Living in Pittsburgh has always felt to me like living in a city constructed by—then abandoned by—giants. The massive bridges with huge arches and grand sculptures seem fit for armies of giants marching back from war. Tunnels, bored through the thick base of Mount Washington at the cost of much sweat and blood feel un-creatable in this modern era of local governmental fiscal paucity. The cavernous mills, open structures four stories tall suspending massive cranes for hauling the huge machines these giants constructed, whisper silently of the ages of giants dwindling to fairy tale. The city is haunting and beautiful.
I think the practical immensity of these structures affects the Pittsburgher’s daily outlook. While we believe in things being big; MOST SUPERBOWLS EVER, Mario Lemieux, having ALL the robot cars, and even our local grocery store is GIANT Eagle, we also like them practical. The Steelers need to be accessible and mortal and participate in local charities, Mario is most loved because he stayed in his new home and saved the Penguins, the robot cars companies are harassed by the Mayor for not playing nice with us, and Giant Eagle is homey, goofy, and friendly. Big, but reasonable. The Pittsburgh Way.
Putting the big in big Burrito
Putting the big in big Burrito
As a company, we try to reach the inner Pittsburgher in all of us. We believe that dinner needs to fill you up, hopefully even spinning off some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Drinks need to be full, tasty and strong. And the music has to be awesome and as loud as possible (but not too loud). But we stay reasonable too. We agonize over prices to keep dishes accessible to as many fellow Pittsburghers as possible, the drinks are never too bizarre and are well-founded in fresh ingredients and classic mixers, and the music is painstakingly researched for maximum fun.
We love things huge yet friendly. It is the Pittsburgh Way. Way better than the Patriot Way. In a way, the Super Bowl is somewhat un-Pittsburgh. Huge is great, and the Super Bowl is the hugest of sporting events, but all that glitz is a bit much. I propose that next year, when the Steelers are back in it, they play the game at Cupples Stadium in a proper Pittsburgh driving sleet storm and give half the tickets to kids from both Pittsburgh and whatever sorry NFC victim comes our way. That would make the Super Bowl more Pittsburgh.
But it is not to be this year. Try to have some fun cheering for the Green and the Blue as the battle for supremacy of the Upper I-95 Corridor. I’ll try too. I’ll be slow-cooking a pork butt for tacos. I love a whole pork butt – impressively awesome, but warm and homey. Like Pittsburgh in a pan!