Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tailgating Down South Preview

Ready for the Football Season Feast 

By Doc Lawrence

Cheerleaders & Tailgaters
It is a hallowed culinary ritual down here, inextricably tied to college and NFL football. Tailgating is core heritage, vital bedrock, and a supersized, high-octane picnic as Deep South as grits with red-eye gravy. Many wonder where it began. Frank Spence, a former top Atlanta Falcons executive and a respected student of Southern customs believes that the 1861 “Great Skeedadle” and the law of unintended consequences launched the first tailgating party. A native of Nashville, Spence was referring to the Union Army retreat after the first battle of Manassas. “Accompanied by beautiful women, Congressmen set up colorful tents for a fancy hillside picnic to view the assumed destruction of General Lee’s rookie army.
Jack: A Tailgating Essential

Unaware of the looming disaster, party wagons-forerunners of today’s caterers- arrived loaded with picnic baskets filled with fancy food, and cases of expensive French Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. Reacting to the sudden bad turn of events, lawmakers and their ladies fled back to Washington’s fortified safety, abandoning the delicious goodies. Exhausted Southern soldiers removed the food and wine from the rear of the wagons and celebrated, going home after the war to share the amazing memories with others.” Thus, claims the ebullient Mr. Spence, “tailgatin’ was born.”

New Orleans denizen and radio show host Tim McNally once told me that “no one tailgates like LSU. On game day, Cajuns and rednecks meet Creoles and urban dwellers. They consume countless bottles of very fine wine, Abita beer and Budweiser, accompanied by cochon de lait, jambalaya, oysters, hot sausage, crab dip and all the rest of the unique flavors of Louisiana. It’s bon appetite y’all.”

Great Food is Everywhere
In Dixie, college football reigns beginning Labor Day weekend. Nirvana is game day and on consecutive Saturdays, an outpouring of tremendous joie de vivre and spirit can be found in many places with huge parking lots with tents, grills and music. Happy people surrounded by aromas of barbeque and grilled food; pots of simmering gumbo plus fried fish, shrimp and oysters. Bottles of wine are uncorked until just before toe meets leather.
We’ll kick off Tailgating Down South in Orlando for the long anticipated game between Ole Miss and Florida State. We’ll have ample evidence that you can party down with Mickey Mouse no matter who is your favorite team. Like all other reasons before, we are looking for creative dishes-no hot dogs or burgers- and beverages that provide a lift to the great food. For those who like a libation, we’ll feature several memorable bottles of Rosé while the weather is warm. By Halloween, you'll taste some great reds: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel named Earthquake.

Whether it’s Louisville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Baton Rouge, Knoxville, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Oxford, Clemson or other college towns, count on serious tailgating every game day. Don’t overlook cocktails: Bourbon tastes wonderful on a Saturday and Jack Daniel’s is liquid Americana. Victory calls for Champagne, the greatest celebratory beverage of them all. Keep a bottle on ice and a few flutes for those magic post-game moments.

Wine in America began at Virginia’s Monticello. Almost a century later, tailgating first appeared a short distance away near Washington. Great cooks and chef’s like Lara Lyn Carter can produce a tailgatin’ feast to satisfy the best weekend gourmets. Everything this time of year comes together as a noble Southern tradition. 
NOTE: Send photos of your own party and share those delicious recipes. You'll always get full credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment