I have to admit something, Dear Readers, I am not the hugest fan of football. I just don't get it. The bashing and smashing and short actual playing time are lost on me. I cringe when the quarterback gets sacked or the wide receiver gets tackled, really, really hard. I thank God I never had any sons because, undoubtedly, they would have played the sport. I don't think I have the personality to watch my child get beaten to death, while others watched and cheered, at least not without sedation.
Here in the East, football is more than just a game. Unless you live here or have visited during game season, you do not know what I am talking about. The whole football experience transcends normal here in the East; in fact, it takes two rights, a left and a sideways jump straight to Crazyville. I DO NOT mean this disrespectfully, just making a point. Maybe I do not understand football but I do understand food and food and football go together. If you put fans, football, food and cars together, you get a uniquely American experience called, tailgating. The tailgate party goes back 100 years or more. Tailgating may have begun at either college games or at the first Green Bay Packers game but either way, it boils down to food and drink and the fans that consume both before a game begins. Fans come together, in parking lots or fields, before a game, open up their car trunks, set up tables, cook food and in general have a raucous and crazy time, before they ever step into the sporting arena. That doesn't sound so bad does it? I think it sounds more fun than the game itself personally.
What to do? What to do? (What to bring more like!) Classically, dips, chips, burgers, hot dogs, sausages and of course desserts like cupcakes, cookies and brownies should be on the "Bring List." Beer is essential and sodas and water should be packed as well. (Probably sunscreen should be on the list too.) Think of a tailgate party like a picnic with team jersey-clad nutters (sorry Dear Reader football fans.) Our local area rival football teams play this afternoon and it is an enormous affair with, you guessed it, tailgating. Current and former students from both schools, going back generations, attend the game. They paint their bodies in team colors, wear team logo clothing, root, boo and yes, tailgate in the parking lot of the school. The first time I ever saw tailgating happening at a high school game I was in culture shock. The concept of high school football tailgating was completely foreign to me and still is a bit. It really is just great fun with rivalry yes, but also mutual support of the players and the bands and a feeling of family. Football really is like family anyway, just with helmets.
Share your favorite tailgating foods in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor