Tailgating- the New American Block Party

It’s that time of year again- as summer starts to fade; an autumn chill brings about the beginning of the much anticipated football season – time for the faithful to start grilling and the beer to start chilling. Nothing kicks off the big game better than the time- honored tradition of tailgating.

The first tailgate “party” took place at the first every intercollegiate football game between Rutgers and Princeton on November 6,1869 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Fans traveled by horse drew carriage to the game, grilling meats at the “tail-end” of the horse. A lot has changed since then, and tailgating, as we know it today has become a cultural phenomenon.

The term tailgating takes it’s name from the “tailgates” of cars and trucks- which makes an ideal place to enjoy a picnic/ BBQ, but tailgating is also enjoyed under tents and out on the decks of luxury RV’s. Large or small groups of football friends gather to share a common bond under the shade trees on the stadium lawn or pavement parking lot.

Beyond the gas grills and lawn chairs, fight songs are playing in the background, team colors blazing and foam fingers waving- the enthusiasm fills the air. The heat from a brat fresh off the grill can only be rivaled by the heated discussion regarding the season ahead, and the passion seen in the devotion for this sport can only be quenched by an ice cold drink. With a handshake in one hand and a hot dog in the other, camaraderie is even shared by fans of the opposing team, all too soon to be divided by the gridiron.

There are many different ways to celebrate football, and the pre-game tailgate personifies this unique American experience in it’s own right. This integral part of football tradition has fans and Alumni united in a social occasion. It’s evolved to just more than a pit stop before the game. Ah football and food, hand in hand- it’s the perfect way to get you in the mood for the “big” game. Tailgating festivities usually get underway about 4-5 hours before the game, so come early and just enjoy!

No matter of kick off time, gathering for this fall ritual of eating, drinking, socializing and eating some more, is open and accessible to everyone Tailgating is indeed a community event. It brings together people to meet and food to eat. You can keep the menu simple with the basics- burgers, beer, brats, however the fare can also be as diverse as the fans. Food such as gumbo, sushi, lobster, tofu burgers, etc. can be seen at different Collegiate and Pro-football tailgates across the Country. This variety is a reflection on the unique flavor of the fans, and it’s a fun way to sample and swap various recipes with your tailgating neighbor.

Here is a Classic Bloody Mary recipe- a great way to start an early morning tailgate!

6 ounces of Vodka

16 ounces tomato juice

3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

�½ teaspoon pepper

�½ teaspoon salt

Celery ribs

Lemon wedges

Green olives

In a 32-ounce pitcher add ice, then the Vodka and tomato juice. Followed by lemon juice, Worcestershire, 2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly. Garnish each glass with lemon wedge, celery rib and green olive. Makes 4 drinks

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