If there's anyone who should know how to enjoy the Super Bowl, it should be Donna Kelce. After all, she is getting ready to attend her fourth Super Bowl in five years to once again watch one of her children play in the big game. You likely already know Donna, though. As Travis and Jason Kelce's mom and occasional seat-mates with Taylor Swift at Chiefs games, she's become one of the more recognizable faces in football, both to long-time fans and new fans who may have gravitated toward the sport due to this year's Travis and Taylor romance.
To help these latter, newer fans find their footing ahead of the 2024 Super Bowl, Donna has teamed with Barefoot, the official wine sponsor of the NFL, to offer Super Bowl party hosting tips, plus wine and snack pairing ideas. In an exclusive interview, we spoke with Donna to learn not just about this, but also about what it's like watching your sons play in the biggest football game of the year, what it was like cooking for Travis and Jason while they were growing up, whether or not the two men have any skills in the kitchen, and much more.
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The Super Bowl At The Kelce Household
You're about to head to your fourth Super Bowl in five years. How does that feel for you? Are you able to eat and drink and enjoy it, or are you nervous?
No, I really do enjoy football. I can honestly say that I'm a true fan and I can compartmentalize. I can pull myself out, [and] not even think about my kids being out there. Half the time, I'm not looking at them unless they get the ball thrown to them, and I don't follow them all around the field. I just look at the whole game and I really enjoy it.
In the past, when you've watched the Super Bowl at home, what was on the menu? Did you cook? Did you prefer to order in? What did that look like?
I probably haven't done it for over 20 years, because I've been at the game or trying to be at the game, but I do have some Super Bowl dishes that I'm partial to, and they pair really well with some of the Barefoot wines, too. I have a particular one — old-fashioned hot dogs. I absolutely love them. I pair [them] with Pinot Grigio and you have a simple classic.
Travis' favorite dish was always chicken wings. It still is. You add some Kansas City barbecue sauce and pair [them] with a glass of Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc.
Then Jason's favorite dish is another local classic, a Philly cheese steak. The best way to enjoy that is with a glass of Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon. Your [readers] can visit Barefoot Wine's Instagram page and they can get my full [Super Bowl] playbook there.
You want to make it easy. You want to make it as fun as you possibly can. People don't want to be in the kitchen cooking all day long, so you do whatever you can to make it simple [and] easy, [so] you can enjoy it too.
When you're cooking Travis and Jason's favorites for the Super Bowl (or really anytime at all), is it easy to cook for them? Do they have similar food and drink preferences?
No. Jason can eat anything and drink just about anything you put in front of him, but Travis is a little pickier, so I try to make his favorites, and that's basically what [I did] in the past.
[For the Super Bowl], you just have to ask. You have to know your room. If there are kids there, you're going to have chicken nuggets. You just have to know who's there. Some of my friends, they're just going to want some baked brie and a vegetable party tray. It just depends on who's there. You don't want to spend a lot of time. You just want to make it as easy as you possibly can, so everybody can enjoy the day.
The Kelces' Favorite Foods
Did Travis and Jason have any particular foods growing up that were favorites that maybe they still ask for now, or anything they particularly loved?
Mostly baking. They loved my baking. I did some blueberry muffins. I also would do some rolls that they absolutely loved. We would only have those at Thanksgiving or Christmas, because ... they were a little on the sweet side, so I tried to stay away from those. Baked brie — I did that a lot. Chicken wings, pizza. It was the simple things that you could do quickly and get it in front of them, because they were always hungry. They would have just come home from a sporting event, so it was never something where I had toiled all day long. It was just the dynamics of the family.
There is a video that has been going around of Travis on the sidelines calling you to ask for gnocchi. Have you seen this video?
Oh yeah, I've seen it.
So tell me about the gnocchi.
Yeah, that was a joke. That definitely would never happen and he would never ask for it. I don't make gnocchi, but I know he loves it.
When it does come to cooking, is that something that Jason and Travis ever help with? Have they ever developed any skills in the kitchen?
Mostly barbecuing. They would be outside with their dad barbecuing, so whether it was ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, whatever, they would be out there helping him with that.
I know that you have mentioned in previous interviews that [Jason's wife] Kylie is a really good cook. Have you had many experiences cooking with Kylie or with, now, Taylor [Swift]?
With Kylie, basically she and her mother take over the kitchen and they don't want anybody else in there — and for good reason. It gets complicated when you have a lot of cooks, making changes and this and that. They have their favorites. They know what they want. We're always at their house, so we just let them have at it, and they're very, very good at it. They make all the basic Thanksgiving Day fare. [It's] very, very great, and they know how to cook for large families. In my family, there were only two boys. Even though there was a lot of food that had to be prepared, [it was] not as much as Kylie's family ... so she's used to doing that. So I stay in the background. I just watch because it's amazing. It really is amazing.
And does she have any specialties that she makes?
Oh, geez. The stuffing, the green bean casserole —which is I think a favorite for a lot of people — the turkey, the mashed potatoes ... There are just so many things that are so good. She just cooks them up right.
Super Bowl Tips
For an occasion like the Super Bowl, do you make those sweet rolls that you mentioned that you would make for Thanksgiving, or do you have any other desserts that are your go-to for the Super Bowl?
More like dips, Chex Mix... That's pretty much what I would do. Things that are very, very easy that you could pick up, put on a plate and go and sit down and watch the game.
Since Travis and Jason grew up outside of Cleveland, were there any particular regional foods that your family really liked from around the area?
Not really. I know there are lots of regional foods ... but no, they were pretty much right down the line — steak, hamburgers, spaghetti. They liked things like that.
For someone who's hosting a Super Bowl party and kids are going to be there, do you have any tips for hosting or any game day foods that you'd recommend? Or game day foods that your grandchildren like or ask for?
When hosting a Super Bowl party, it can be complicated at times, especially with the amount of differences in people and their likes and dislikes and what have you, but I don't think it has to be. You just need to get things that you know they're going to love to eat, and kids love things that are sweet and they love things that are easy that they can pick up and chew on. So I would imagine some chicken nuggets and just pizza, chips, dip, whatever. That's what they're going to gravitate towards. They're not going to be eating huge meals. They're going to be running back and forth. I think that would be the best. Just make it easy. Make it fun. They'll eat whatever they usually eat. They're not going to eat something new. That's just not going to happen.
Final question: If a Super Bowl party, say, gets a little bit rowdy, what should you do if a guest or a son takes their shirt off and starts celebrating very enthusiastically?
I just think that people should enjoy themselves and have fun, and try to be themselves — unapologetically themselves.
Anything else that you wanted to mention?
There are so many more fans now than ever before, and that's one of the reasons why I'm partnering with Barefoot Wine. They're the official wine sponsor of the NFL and Super Bowl LVIII. I just want to offer my playbook and help new fans host their first Super Bowl party.
Visit Barefoot on Instagram to get Donna Kelce's full Super Bowl playbook.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Read the original article on Mashed.