It’s no secret that food and football belong together, but according to the self-appointed Commissioner of Tailgating, Joe Cahn, who founded Tailgating.com, your buddy’s killer Buffalo wings aren’t the only reason to pack up the portable grill this weekend.
“A tailgate party is like an old-fashioned community social,” he says. “Every weekend in the parking lots, people get a sense of community that is lost in this country.”
Cahn sold his New Orleans School of Cooking in 1998 to purchase a motor home, score some corporate sponsorships, and travel from coast to coast, keeping tabs on America’s best parking lot parties. “Just think about it,” he says, sounding more like a sociology professor than a football fan, “when a stranger comes up to you in a city park and says hello, you worry that he wants to steal your money. When the same guy comes up to you at a tailgate, you hand him a hot dog.
The guy’s got a point, and in the past ten years, tailgating has blossomed into an American institution. Even for fanatical fans, it’s more than just a pit stop before the game. “We always fire opposing fans a good bit of boos and catcalls,” says Cincinnati Bengals aficionado Jason Boberschmidt, “but we also welcome them to enjoy our tailgate with us. As far as we’re concerned, it’s much more than just a bite to eat before the game; it’s an experience in its own right.”
Over time, tailgaters have gotten increasingly serious about their pregame eats—so it’s no surprise that bookstores are stocking their shelves with an array of tailgating cookbooks.
I spend days before each home game hovering over cookbooks, trying to figure out something good and easy to prepare for the tailgate parties before and after the game. It’s especially important to find something I can’t goof up. Here’s a good crockpot recipe from Kathy West of West Point, formerly of Phoenix. Therefore, I call them….
Old West Taco Fingers (sorry Kathy – you’re not really old)
1 lb. ground beef
1 (15-16 ounce) can refried beans
1 small jar Pace Picante Sauce
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 chopped medium onion
1 tsp chili powder
1-2 cloves garlic chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion and garlic, add meat and brown. Stir in the Green chilies, Picante Sauce and beans. Plug it up and cook on low heat for 30-40 minutes while you get ready for the game. Add salt and pepper and if it’s not hot enough for add some chopped jalapenos. Serve right out of the crock pot with diced green onion, sour cream, salsa and chopped cucumber packed in ziplock baggie. Let your guests serve them selves with tortilla chips – appoint someone to police the double dippers.
Death by Chocolate
My friend Mark always makes Death by Chocolate for all our tailgates or cookouts. Here’s a version I really like
8 Butterfinger candy bars
1 box brownie mix, baker per package instructions
1 3-5 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix, prepared per instructions
1 12-ounce carton whipped topping
stemmed red cherries for decoration
Crumble candy. In trifle bowl, break half the brownies into pieces and place in bottom of bowl. Cover brownies with half of the prepared pudding and half of the whipped topping. Repeat. Decorate with a few candy pieces on top and the red cherries.
I need some ideas for two weeks down the road when the Bulldogs return to Starkville. Anyone got some hot new recipe I can spring on my gang?
She asked me to help her find some and I bet she thinks I’ve forgotten.
P.S. – Ruthie I chanced to see some stick-ons yesterday at CVS – just the right size. – check it out at your store or call me and I’ll get you some here.