Q. What's your go-to dish for the big game?A. Since we live in New Orleans, it's all about jambalaya. I make a pot, serve it with a big salad and French bread, and I know I'm going to have some happy boys.
Q. Are you a nervous wreck when one of them is playing?A. Yes. I have these little superstitious rituals that get me through. If I'm sitting in the stadium and Eli or Peyton scores, that becomes my lucky seat and I can't move from it until the game is over. They've played against each other twice, and that's extra hard. If I had it my way, they'd tie!
Q. Who's MVP in the kitchen?A. Neither, which is my fault because I never taught them to cook. Peytie Pie and E—that's what I call them—love food, but they'd rather sit and chow down than whip something up themselves.
Q. In what ways do they make you proudest off the field?A. When they give back, especially to children's charities. Peyton has a children's hospital named after him in Indianapolis, and Eli has raised money for the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Mississippi.
Q. Any advice for moms who don't love football?A. The more you go to games, the more you'll want to watch them on TV. And the more you learn, the more you'll enjoy it. Just have fun!
Olivia Manning's Ultimate Jambalaya
Jazz up your own Super Bowl party by letting guests mix it up themselves.
Bring 2 1/2 cups water and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir in 1 package (8 ounces) Zatarain's jambalaya mix. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork. Serve with chopped chicken, beef, ham and andouille or other smoked sausage; peeled shrimp or crawfish; sautéed bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and zucchini; and fresh chopped tomatoes. Serves 6.
Originally published in the February 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.