I'm not ashamed to admit that I have never watched an entire football game. I know it's a tradition for most Americans. But no matter how many times I've had the rules explained to me, it just doesn't seem to make sense.

And it's not for lack of trying.

In my senior year at the University of Minnesota, I thought I should at least see the newly built TCF stadium from the inside. So I bought a ticket and tagged along with a couple friends. I spent the next three hours confused, sunburned and half-heartedly shaking my keys along with the cheers. To me, watching Goldy Gopher spin his head was more entertaining than the players on the field.

For last year's Super Bowl, I joined friends in a bar to watch the Packers play some other team that I don't remember. I ended up taking multiple walks around the block to pass the time. The commercials didn't even hold my attention.

So this year, I've decided that I'm not going to attempt to watch the Super Bowl. It's just not worth it.

If you're anything like me, maybe your Super Bowl is more like "Souper" Bowl.

We've put together a starting lineup of bread bowl worthy soups from around Red Wing. Smokey Row Café, Subhouse, Randy's and Hanisch Bakery all have a variety of homemade soups, many of them changing daily.

The bread bowls are a perfect way to serve soup. Make the bowls, if you're ambitious. Hanisch Bakery will make them for you if you order about a day in advance.

And, if you do actually enjoy football, these soups will make a nice addition to the chips and wings on your coffee table this Sunday.

If you're feeling more adventurous, we've included three recipes from the Republican Eagle's cook book collection.

Spending Sunday in the kitchen doesn't sound all that bad, either.

As for me, I won't be anywhere near a TV set this Sunday.

Cincinnati Chili (Five-Way Chili)

From Beth Luikart, Ballwin, Mo.


1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon

1 teaspoon salt

Tomato juice, if needed

9 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained

16-ounce can kidney beans, heated

2 onions, chopped

1 pound cheddar cheese, grated

Oyster crackers

Brown meat with garlic and 1 onion; drain off fat. Add barbecue sauce and water; bring to boil. Add all spices. Cover and simmer at very low heat 30 minutes; stirring and tasting occasionally. Add tomato juice if it is getting too dry to ladle easily. Layer a portion of cooked spaghetti on a plate; top with hot chili, then a sparse layer of heated beans, then some chopped onions. Top with grated cheese while chili is still warm and serve immediately with oyster crackers on the side. Yields 4 large servings.

(If desired, omit the beans or onions or both for three-way or four-way chili (known in Cincinnati lingo as a "hay wagon.") Chili is best if reheated after "aging" 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

From Martha Mensing, Cannon Falls


1 cup sliced green onions

1 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup light cream

1 cup shredded Jarlsburg or Swedish Fontina cheese

In large saucepan, sauté onion and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add flour and cook, stirring until bubbling. Remove from heat and gradually blend in chicken broth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring, until thick and smooth. Add broccoli. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Blend in cream and cheese. Simmer until heated through. Makes 4 main course servings or 6 cups soup.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Janet Unger, Cannon Falls


3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, diced

1 rib celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups undiluted chicken broth

1 1/2 cups reserved rice stock

2 cups half and half

3/4 cup diced ham

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Parsley for garnish

Sauté rice in vegetable oil. Add the water and salt. Cook until 3/4 done.

Drain and save 1 1/2 cups rice stock. Sauté onions, celery and carrot in butter in a soup pot until onion is transparent. Turn heat down. Mix flour in thoroughly and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not brown.

Using wire whisk, blend in chicken broth and rice stock. Cook, allowing to thicken slightly. Add half and half, blend in thoroughly. Add rice and ham, pepper and more salt, if needed. Simmer 20 minutes. Makes 10 6-ounce servings.