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Mascot and Team Color themed tailgating cuisine


B-Rich

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With tailgating season officially underway this weekend for me, thought Id share a little odd thing I do.

Opponent-themed tailgating fare

Up to when I was in my early 30s, I hadnt really tailgated at LSU games much; I went to maybe a game or two a year if I was lucky and I was content to get to the campus just in time to get to the stadium before kick-off. Any tailgating was liquid in nature.

But for an early game around the 95 or 96 season, a coworker and I made plans to go to the LSU-Rice football game with our wives, and we decided to cook out / tailgate before. In deciding what to cook, we noted that since Rice was the Owls, and as one of the more popular cheers for LSU being eat em Tigers, eat em up, we decided that the Rice Owls were the fowl and that wed barbecue chicken. His wife even made a creamy white pasta salad with small bits of purple cabbage and yellow bell pepper bits in it. Over the years, as I have acquired (1) season tickets, (2) other tailgating friends, and (3) children, the tailgating has become a given and the tradition has jelled. We try to match up the main meat fare with the mascot, and match the colors of the opposing team to the dessert.

Its been interesting to say the least. Nautical/water themed teams get seafood, avian-named teams generally get chicken, bulldogs get hot dogs, and hard-to-pin names wind up with hamburgers. Weve had turkey for Virginia Tech, improvised pork loin as beaver tail for Oregon State, and thankfully live in South Louisiana so every other year we can easily get some kind of alligator for Florida. My two daughters have fun helping coming up with the color-themed desserts (oreo pie crust RULES for teams with black in the color scheme). Of course, weve pretty much got the SEC teams down to a routine by now, but just to show you what we do, here are the two tailgating menusthe one from last year, and this years planned menu schedule:

2008.JPG

2009.JPG

Super Bowl Regional Cuisine

In a similar vein (and actually it happened first) it was in 1989, for the Super Bowl featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, that I first got into this idea. In the food section of the paper, they noted that each Super Bowl city had an interesting cuisine item: Cincinnati-style chili (which is features odd spices such as cinnamon, is served on top of spaghetti, and topped with grated cheese, onions, etc.), and San Franciscos Italian-based cioppino (a seafood stew). The article had recipes for each, and I remember at the time thinking that would be great to make them for a Super Bowl party, though I did not do so.

A few years later in 1994, we DID throw a Super Bowl party, when the Cowboys and Bills played. Remembering the regional cuisine idea, for the party food main dishes (in addition to chips and the like) I made a big mess of Cowboy Chili and also a big platter of Buffalo wings. Since that time, for several parties and more often just for the family and friends who come over for the game, weve done the same cuisine theme thing.

Here is a list as well as I can remember:

1996 Cowboy chili and Steeler Sausages (party)

2000 St. Louis Toasted Ravioli and Tennessee Barbecued pork ribs and butt (party)

2001 Baltimore Crab cakes and N-Y cheesecake for dessert.

2002 St. Louis Toasted Ravioli and New England Clam Chowder

2003 Tampa Bay Grilled Gulf Shrimp and Raider Taters (my own concoction of fried potato skins stuffed with crumbled bacon, cheese, and jalapenos)

2004 New England Clam Chowder and Carolina-style barbecue.

2005 - New England Clam Chowder and Philly Cheese Steaks (partya big one in conjunction with a Mardi Gras parade)

2006 Seattle grilled salmon (with Washington apple relish) and Steeler Sausages

2007 nothing - I was too peeved at the Saints not making it to the Super Bowl

2008 - New England Clam Chowder, NY strip steaks AND NY cheesecake for dessert

2009 Arizona tacos and Steeler Sausages.

Any way, just thought Id share my wacky habits and processes.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

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Would you mind someone in a Tulane shirt tailgating with you before the Tulane/LSU game? That looks like an awesome menu.

Its at the dome this year right? I know 07 was the dome, 08 was at Tiger Stadium.

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You need to work on the burger thing -- for example, something Greek like dolmas or gyros for the Trojans -- but that aside, this is one of the awesomest bits of sports fandom that I've ever heard of. You can really sense the enthusiasm and spirit, but it's completely positive and free of the negative vibes that can be too common at tailgates. Plus as a foodie, many of these menus are simply inspired. And there's a deep cultural resonance to the idea of symbolically (well, in this case, literally) eating your opponent.

By the way, I regard the "rebel ribs" as something close to a genius improvisation. It's one of those things that's so perfect that it seems obvious, but never in a million years would I have thought of it.

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Would you mind someone in a Tulane shirt tailgating with you before the Tulane/LSU game? That looks like an awesome menu.

Its at the dome this year right? I know 07 was the dome, 08 was at Tiger Stadium.

Mings, we'll see. The game is once again at LSU, but it's currently schduled for Halloween night. I'm not sure how that's gonna work-- I have kids and there's trick-or-treating and the giving out of candy to consider.

- - - - -

You need to work on the burger thing -- for example, something Greek like dolmas or gyros for the Trojans.

That's not a bad idea, but I'm kind of limited by the fact that I prefer/need to grill. If there was any way I could grill gyro meat, I think I'll go that way. At the very least, I could grill lamb and serve it on pita bread... Also, I think I'll pick up some dolmas (stuffed grape leaves for the uninitiated like me) as a side next time we play Trojans, Spartans or the like....

By the way, I regard the "rebel ribs" as something close to a genius improvisation. It's one of those things that's so perfect that it seems obvious, but never in a million years would I have thought of it.

Yeah, something about it just seemed right-- ribs are always good, very southern/Mississippi. My friend Mark and I were going to see the Tigers play Ole Miss; he loves ribs, so that's what we were going to grill, and I think I just thought "Rebel Ribs"..... I alway make a special sauce myself and bring it in a mason jar-- I go with "country style" pork ribs (lots of meat) par-boiled the night before, then grilled and basted during the tailgating time.

- - - - - - - -

By the way, this past weekend was rainy and messy, but we went anyway. Had tuna steaks and my daughter picked catfish fillets instead of salmon. That and the banana cream oreo-crust pie was GOOD.

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  • 1 month later...

Just a photo update from the 1st few games:

VANDERBILT:

crust.JPG

pouring old gold banana filling into a black (oreo) pie crust...

pie.JPG

My daughter Elisabeth holding the finshed product-- the star is on the Vandy helmet logo..

fish.JPG

grilling the fish with "Commodore" glaze

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UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA_LAFAYETTE:

cake.JPG

My daughters holding up our finished cake.

sausage.JPG

Andouille Sausage and Corn Maque Choux-- yum!

FLORIDA:

gator.JPG

My friend Jack and I tending the gator sausage.

orange.JPG

Vanilla ice cream cup with orange sauce-- served in a blue bowl (yes I'm that obsessive).

That's all for now-- may have a bit more to add and share, particularly from last weekend's game, in a week or so.

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Not weird at all. Someone at the Rock Band forums threw a party for the release of The Beatles: Rock Band with a Beatles-themed menu.

Entree

'I Wanna Hold Your' Hamburgers

'Happiness Is A Warm' Bun

Toppings:

'Mean Mr.' Gulden's 'Mustard' or 'A Taste Of Honey' Dijon Mustard

'Glass Onion's

Sauteed Green 'Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band'

'All' Tomato 'Now'

'Baby's In Black And I'm Feeling Blue' Cheese

Sides

'I Feel' Fries

'A Hard Days' Rice or 'A Day In The' Rice

'Sea Of' Beans or 'Let It' Beans

Drink

Dr. 'Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band' (reprise)

Dessert

'Nowhere' Flan

'Strawberry' Shortcake 'Forever'

'Honey Pie'

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update.

I hadn't posted it, but through website master Chris, Uni-Watch man Paul Lukas got in touch with me about this wacky tradition. He in fact wanted to do a story about it for ESPN.com, so for the Auburn game on October 24th it was my pleasure to have him as a guest. He enjoyed our tailgate traditions, interviewed, videotaped, photographed and put together a great story.

As of today, the whole ESPN.com article is now online, complete with picture links and videos. Check it out:

Grilling up the competition

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  • 2 months later...

Well, Super Bowl time is here, and wonder of wonders, hell has frozen over and my team is in it!

As I mentioned in the original post, I try to do regionally-oriented cuisine for the Super Bowl. With my Saints in the Super Bowl, I have no shortage of local specialties as possibilities: jambalaya, gumbo, red beans & rice, boiled crawfish, blackened redfish, shrimp creole, shrimp or crawfish etoufee, po-boy sandwiches, beignets, king cake, etc. But what is a problem is finding something for Indianapolis. Gee, what in the world are they known for in terms of cuisine or name?

Luckily, I found a great article on ESPN.com (If the Saints Win, New Orleans Mayor Will Get Delicious Food That He Already Has). Using the usual mayoral bet, it describes a similar search for Indy cuisine, and provides the two options I think I will cook up on Super Bowl Sunday (after attending the two daytime Mardi Gras parades-- this WILL be a party day, fo' sho'). They are breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and a sugar cream pie. Both sound good and seem relatively simple to make. Paired with a pot of gumbo for New Orleans, I think I have the menu covered.

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