It is said that patience is a virtue, but for football fans it’s a test of endurance. Oh sure, other sports and celebrations fill the void throughout the off-season, but there is no substitution for the excitement, the revelry and the thrill of football season…and tailgating.
The wait is almost over, the excitement is palpable, and this Saturday college football games will bring it all together. Don’t forget the big boys of the big leagues on Sunday!
Grab the team gear, plan the menu and set the tablescape- It’s Tailgating Time!
Our LSU Tiger tailgating times will be super special this year as we now have an extra special reason to head south to Tiger Town.
Remember the vintage Esso now Exxon ad slogan “Put a Tiger In Your Tank?” It’s the required catch phrase for traveling tailgaters toting tricked out trailers to Tiger Country. Say that three times!
The prep and process ritual gets easier this year due to the gracious invitation extended from our son to use his kitchen. All the conveniences of home less than one mile from Tiger Stadium. It will give me the chance to broaden the range of menu offerings. Being so close to the stadium will free up concerns of food safety and transportation issues. Making sure to keep food items at the proper temperature is part of responsible tailgating.
Tailgating Food Safety Tips
Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks. The temperature should be kept below 40º F. A cooler placed in the back seat of an air-conditioned vehicle vs. a hot trunk will ensure cooler storage.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Two hours is the max time foods should be allowed to sit out. If it is an exceptionally hot day or evening I would adjust the max time to one hour. Our tailgating mantra is “chunk it” when the party is over. Food poisoning is never a welcomed guest at any party.
A balance of pre party and at the party fits well with our tailgating routine. I prepare feature dishes and advanced recipes at home and leave the whip it up, grill it up dishes for on location cooking. Regional favorites, hearty soups, cocktail finger foods and basic desserts with a tailgating twist keep fans satisfied. A request to add fried onion rings to the menu is the inspiration for a new sweet and spicy dipping sauce recipe.
Hold That Tiger Dipping Sauce
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup Creole mustard or good spicy mustard
¼ cup ketchup
3/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon LSU kickin’ hot sauce or to taste. Any brand hot sauce will work, but when at LSU…
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients together in medium mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight allowing the flavors to marry. This is a great dipping sauce for fried onion rings!
Tailgating tablescape ideas generally revolve around tried and true staples. Team colors can take center stage or provide accent decor. Strike a balance between formal and casual with natural and burlap accents. Durability, affordability and neutrality makes decorating with burlap a big winner, and it goes so well with the feel of fall. Planters, crocks and baskets filled with fresh or dried flowers, magnolia leaves and pine cones, boxwoods, crotons, pumpkins, miniature footballs, branches from the yard in their natural state or spray painted in team colors- all great ideas for centerpieces. I use burlap bags from Tractor Supply as placemats ($1.00 each) and burlap table runners from Save On Crafts ($3.99 each) as base decoration. Give me a L! Give me a S! Give me a U! What’s that spell? Great looking centerpiece accent! Bronze letters from Hobby Lobby make it possible. Don’t you love the crock from Ace Hardware? Use it for flowers, utensils, as an ice bucket or wine decanter. The silverware caddies from Target are on clearance, as is the copper planter. I like one time investment pieces, and a little post game packing TLC will seal the deal on them lasting all tailgate season long.
I hope these ideas come in handy for all your tailgating times. Happy tailgating and Geaux Tigers!