It was evident when I first arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee yesterday, and my cab driver did three things you don’t find in LA: he helped me into the cab, called me ma’am (definitely not necessary, but very indicative of the South) and even engaged me in friendly conversation (beyond asking me where I was going and arguing about the rate).
Albeit not a Southerner myself, my Mississippi roots, family in New Orleans and many a trip to the Carolinas, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana have definitely familiarized me with the culture, which boasts friendly, polite folks; slow, Southern drawls; sweet tea; rivers (I swear – there are always rivers in the South); barbeque and – my favorite – a deep, ingrained passion (borderline obsession) with college football.
I happen to share that obsession, though mine is driven by the perks that come along with football season – i.e., tailgating.
(I’m a firm believer that anticipation is usually better than the event you’re actually anticipating.) Case in point – I went to Kansas State University and, although our once storied football program has been shaky – at best – for a few years, we definitely excelled in tailgating. The games were always more bearable after a few adult beverages.
Therefore, being in Knoxville – home to another big football school, University of Tennessee – on the brink of football season – akin to Christmas Eve – has made me positively giddy, with tailgating on the brain. (To see how much I love tailgating, see picture above – at the USC/Ohio State game last year. Did we go into the game? Absolutely not. But, we sure did tailgate.)
Tailgating is one of my favorite pastimes for several reasons:
1.) A reason to throw back a few PBRs on a Saturday afternoon. Yes, I said PBR…I am from Kansas, remember?
2.) The atmosphere – it’s positively electric. The sights, the smells, the noises…thousands decked out in school colors, people tossing the ol’ pig skin around, the smell of barbeques, Jimmy Buffet or 50 Cent bumping in the background (depending on your age range), the deep red, orange and gold hues of fall leaves (unless you live in LA – then the deep greens of the palm trees)….Ok, you get the idea.
3.) I feel like I’m back in college for a day…then, on Monday, realize I’m not when I’m suffering a two-day hangover.
4.) TAILGATING FOOD – arguably my favorite part.
This is where California heirloom garlic comes into the equation. Did you know it can be incorporated into nearly all tailgating dishes? Well, it can.
To prove it, we gathered up some of our favorite tailgating recipes. Or, ones that sounded particularly appetizing. We also wanted to put a new spin on traditional tailgating food, as we’re bored with the same old cheeseburgers, potato salad and beans.
We know you’ll have a good time in the parking lot – as long as PBR is available – but to make sure you’re having a tasty time, get yourself some California heirloom garlic, and try out these recipes.
Let us know what you think! Better yet, feel free to chime in with your own.
Now, back to my Southern activities…..time to go drink sweet tea with friendly people by the river and talk college football.
Happy Tailgating Season!