Last week I talked a little about getting organized and the main meats that are popular at tailgates. This week I will talk a little more on organizing and then on food safety, side dishes and, of course, desserts.
Some tailgating groups I know sit down and plan the whole season out before it even starts. They decide menus for each game, who is responsible for what each game and how the finances (costs) are split. Some tailgaters will have themes for each game. What theme comes down to what foods everyone likes, what team they are playing and/or what the calendar has to offer. They may do a Mexican Fiesta or a Halloween themed party. Whether the game is a day or night contest or a home or away game influences what you plan for that game day.
Football seasons usually start out warm and can work towards cold snowy days. That makes chili a popular item for late season games. Another help to planning menus is grocery store specials on items. Doing something with shrimp might come into play if there's a good deal on them. Remember that if you do plan out the season, try and leave yourself flexible to good opportunities.
A very important area to be careful about when tailgating is food safety. You don't want to get anyone sick because you didn't follow good food safety habits. Keep hot foods "Hot", cold foods "Cold" and if foods are set out too long - get rid of them. Coolers can be used to keep foods both hot and cold. They won't keep them that way forever but should be able to handle your normal day. Just remember to think about what you're doing and use common sense in making food decisions.
When thinking sides dishes to support your meats, remember the weather. Hot days in early season are hard on dishes with mayonnaise in them. Also sides dishes most of the time can be done ahead of time and brought to the event later than the meats being cooked. Try to expand your horizons and try some dishes that aren't your usual tailgate fare. Variety is part of the spice of life so give it a try.
When it comes to desserts, everyone has a special dessert that they do well. Take advantage of your group and this gives you good variety too. Desserts that can be eaten with ones' hands are a heavy favorite at tailgates. However, cakes, pies, etc. are nice surprises as you find room to eat a little more.
Tailgates are not for dieting. They are for fun, enjoyment and camaraderie. Diet during the week before the game so on game day you don't have to worry about anything but the opposing team. And have fun!
This week's recipes include "Deviled Egg Bruschetta" and "Grilled Chicken Wings" and lastly "Deep Fried Snickers" just for fun.
Have a great week and I hope your team has a super season.