By SETH LEWIS
For Dave Zumbrennen, the Super Bowl is all about soup.
Wild rice soup.
Cheesy chicken chowder soup.
Lots and lots of it.
“So, what’ll it be?” Zumbrennen says to a stranger who has just crashed his apartment’s Super Bowl party Sunday.
With a ready smile and a Dixie paper bowl, he motions to the two cauldron-size pots simmering on the stove.
“Everyone’s been eating the chowder, but I think the wild rice smells better,” says Zumbrennen, 21, a sophomore from Provo majoring in political science and U.S. history.
Zumbrennen scurries into the living room, where a dozen friends are watching the closing minutes of the first half of the St. Louis Rams’ 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans.
He is a waiter, flight attendant and bellhop rolled into one.
“Can I get anyone anything?” he says. “More soup, something to drink?”
No, this isn’t your typical Super Bowl party.
Sure, Zumbrennen’s gathering had the requisite chips, salsa and soft drinks, along with such party oddities as carrots, corn bread and pudding.
But the crowd-pleaser, of course, was the soup.
“I’ve never watched the Super Bowl, but I’ll do it for soup,” said Jared Tarnasky, 22, a junior from Salem, Ore., majoring in management information systems.
Zumbrennen has made soup his specialty since he was a sophomore at Provo High School, where he would help put on the “Souper Bowl” as a member of the Future Homemakers of America Club.
“On the Friday before the game, we would cook soup for 400 as part of a contest,” Zumbrennen said.
While he stayed busy dishing seconds and thirds of soup, others didn’t find their Super Bowl parties so exciting.
Abby McCutcheon, 19, a sophomore from Elk, Wash., majoring in art history felt she and her handful of friends were “the only ones apostate enough” to party at Glenwood Apartments.
Logan Barrowes found much the same across the street at Riviera Apartments.
“I was walking around, looking for people who were watching the game,” said the 22-year-old information systems junior from Spanish Fork. “There were two people here, one person there, but most had turned it off because they were bored.”
Craig Vainleuven, though, wasn’t complaining about the Rams’ 16-0 lead in the third quarter.
“I’m about to make $10,” said the 19-year-old freshman from Seattle who hasn’t declared a major.
Vainleuven and friends reclined on couches in the basement of Deseret Towers’ W-Hall, surrounded by wrappers of anything they could buy from the vending machines with their Dining Plus cards.
“We’ve been paying more attention to the commercials than the game,” said Maximiliano Zambrano, 18, a freshman from Washington, D.C., majoring in computer science.
Across 900 East, Geoff Howard’s house party had also lost interest in the lopsided game, focusing on, well, other things.
“A moment ago, the girl-to-guy ratio was three-to-one,” said Howard, a 25-year-old journalism graduate from Virginia Beach. “Those are the best odds we’ve ever had.”
Over at Liberty Square, the men in Yorktown No. 1 were equally indifferent to the game.
“The problem is, it’s St. Louis and Tennessee,” said Lance Christensen, 23, a junior in English from Aurora, Colo. “No one connects with them.”
Maybe so, but Christensen and Co. were pulling for the underdog Titans, and slammed the remote and pounded pillows when Tennessee failed to tie on the game’s final play.
They were mad . . . well, sort of.
Seconds after the game ended, they changed the channel and popped in a tape to record “The X-Files.”
No biggie. After all, it’s just a Super Bowl.