It’s February. As always, panic has set in.

Soon, folks everywhere will be mobbing the grocery stores for necessary supplies and stockpiling items in their cabinets, pantries and refrigerators. Is another Herculean Arctic superstorm headed our way? Is a typhoon spinning eastward across the Pacific? Is a deadly combination of high- and low-pressure systems colliding in an apocalyptic whirlwind over our nation?

Well, no.

But since Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption after Thanksgiving, there is a perfectly good reason why people are shoving old ladies out of the way to grab the last jar of queso dip. After all, a Bowl Day without the traditional football-watching foods would be downright catastrophic.

So, as the mother of an Eagle Scout, I feel obligated to warn everyone to “Be prepared.” You only have a day or two to ready yourself for the mandatory feast that will take place on February 3 in homes across the United States. Consider yourself warned.

Before you take on the pre-Bowl crowds at the grocery stores, be sure to ready the home front. Clear the refrigerator of useless items such as milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Other than a few sticks of celery to accompany the wings, toss any unprocessed foodstuffs that are taking up precious space needed for Bowl Day essentials.

Once the kitchen has been purged of all healthy, vitamin-fortified, unprocessed, fiber-rich foods, it’s time to mentally prepare for what you might encounter at the grocery stores.

Like a Roman gladiator ascending from the catacombs of the Colosseum, like Muhammad Ali entering the ring to take on Joe Frazier, like the Greek soldiers climbing out of the wooden horse inside the gates of Troy, like the Duke of Wellington about to face Napoleon’s army at Waterloo, like “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” sitting down to dinner — you must be ready to wage a battle of epic proportions.

As you jot down the arsenal of foods needed for Super Bowl sustenance, breathe deeply and meditate on the past. Gone are the archaic Bowl days of yesteryear, when football fans survived on outdated canned meat party sandwiches, pimento cheese spreads and gelatin salads. Thanks to modern advances in processed cheese technology, the invention of Buffalo wings and the mass production of tortilla chips, we are fortunate to have many delicious modern Bowl Day snack foods at our disposal.

Presuming you can find an available shopping cart without committing aggravated assault, enter the grocery store with a strategy. Don’t just join the stream of shoppers; strike out on your own and hunt down your targets.

Unlike every other grocery store trip, it is actually a good idea to bring the kids. As your secret weapons, they will enable you to divide and conquer. Send each child on a mission, e.g., “Lilly, you’re going in for three jars of salsa. Anna, you’re in charge of peanuts. Hayden, you’re a young man now, so I’m trusting you to find those little smoked sausages for pigs in a blanket. Can you do it?!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

“Now, GO, GO, GO!!”

With your grocery cart filled to the brim with every snack food known to modern man, head to the checkout lanes, but do not waste precious time standing in line. Simply feign some kind of cardiac episode — a la Fred Sanford’s “It’s the big one, Elizabeth!”— and fellow shoppers will surely let you cut in line so you can get to the glycerin pills you “left in the car.” Initially, your display might appear to be far-fetched, but when the other shoppers see all the pork products and processed cheeses in your shopping cart, they’ll be convinced that your arteries are harder than a coffin nail and guide you straight to the head of the line.

Finally, at home with your football snack foods stockpiled and beverages chilling, you can finally breathe easy, knowing that you’ll soon be able to stuff your face.

Disaster averted.

Read more of Lisa Smith Molinari’s columns at: Email:

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