Written by Catherine Gelera.
I’m not who you would describe as a big sports person. Don’t get me wrong—I am all in like any proper red-blooded American when the Olympics or World Cup roll around—but sports and I are more acquaintances than friends, with one major exception: my undying love for the Dodgers. I bleed Dodger blue.
But this isn’t an essay about sports. What I’m here to talk about is my favorite sports-related topic: food helmets.
Marrying the worlds of food and sports via food grade-level plastic helmets is a gold medal idea and one supported by diehard and fairweather sports fans alike. I’m a lifelong Dodgers fan, but only started collecting food helmets after college. I don’t even think Dodger Stadium offered foods in helmets until well past my teenage years. Like many of my stories, it all began when I was hungry.
I was at a Dodgers game craving a snack (I wanted something more than just peanuts but not as big as a Dodger Dog) when I decided on nachos. While in the concession stand line, I learned that for a nominal fee I could get said nachos in a souvenir helmet. Nachos? In a souvenir Dodgers helmet? SOLD. And the rest? Is helmet food history.
Here are some of my favorite helmet foods to eat, whether at a game or on the comfort of your couch:
The smallest of food helmets is the best receptacle for a cold treat like soft serve. The helmet’s brim serves as a built-in handle, plus the helmet itself holds just the right amount to leave one satisfied. Be sure to eat quickly, as the uninsulated helmet leads to rapid melting time.
Be they garlic or plain, French fries make excellent friends with food helmets. A helmet on the smaller side easily serves one person, while a larger helmet serves as a communal bowl. I like that the helmet’s depth allows for any seasonings to reach the bottom fries. However, the brim makes a messy condiment holder. I speak as someone who absentmindedly grabbed a fries-filled food helmet by the brim and ended up with a handful of ketchup.
I always eat popcorn in my largest food helmet, which holds a surprising amount. Because popcorn is almost always served at room temperature, you are not at the mercy of it getting too cold and losing flavor or texture. As with fries, the food helmet’s deep container means that salt or any other toppings reach the bottom level of popcorn. Bonus: the helmet’s flat bottom allows for easy table placement, while the curved shape turns it into a lap bowl.
Oh, glorious nachos, the crunchy, salty, cheesy gateway to my love of helmet foods. They, too, can be shared with friends or eaten alone while sitting on the couch watching your games or stories. (I don’t judge.) Be aware that objects in food helmets are larger than they appear: I often find myself full after making my way through just half of a nachos-filled food helmet. Also, watch out for any cheese sauce that may congeal after a few minutes. [Editor’s Note: Remember, if you’re making helmet nachos at home, you’re restricted to microwave nachos or cheese sauce nachos, as plastic and toasters or broilers don’t mix!]
Go forth, snack eaters and sports lovers! I’ll see you at the game, food helmet in hand.