A Pre-Pigskin Party With the Pros

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By Cindy Edwards

Tailgating prior to a football game is an established tradition throughout the country.  I recently traveled back to Oxford, Mississippi, to get the lowdown on tailgating from a group of pros: the “Yoste Circle of Family and Friends.”  I had the pleasure of joining this eclectic cluster of football fans for their tailgate party before the Texas A&M-Ole Miss game.

The robust Geoffrey Yoste and his lovely wife, Julie, welcomed my friends and me with open arms. The Yoste family has been gathering in the same tailgating spot in The Grove, the legendary tailgating area on the Ole Miss campus, for many years. With a core group of 50 family members, it is not surprising that at some of the games they have 200 guests throughout the day. It is the perfect place to watch fans of all ages—and both teams—come and go.  It was a special treat to meet Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who brought Texas Governor Rick Perry to the celebration. They had a grand time greeting the fans from both teams and it was great to see them relaxed before the big game.


Governor Bryant, Cindy Edwards, and Governor Perry.

Tailgating of this magnitude requires major organization.  The entire Yoste family is very involved in keeping this tradition going. Everyone has a “specialty:” Colonel Florian Yoste and his sweet wife, Jesse, bring all of the paper products; cousin Jessica always brings her delicious pimento cheese sandwiches; and they can always count on Uncle Bill to pick up the fried chicken. Geoffrey Yoste used to do the setup, but now he hires a company to set-up and break down the tent.

Ole Miss tailgates are known for their beautiful tents, tablecloths and flower arrangements.  Jesse Yoste always brings cute table accessories, and Julie Yoste supplies the floral arrangement.  For this particular weekend, she created a beautiful arrangement of oak leaf hydrangeas that she gathered from her yard.


I enjoyed sampling all of the delicious food.  My particular favorite was the “Yoste Roast.”  It is a staple at Yoste tailgates, and unlike some cooks, Julie Yoste loves to share this recipe that she received from a dear friend many years ago. She calls it “comfort food with a kick.” It is delicious and super easy!


Yoste Roast

1 English roast (also called a chuck arm roast, cross rib roast or chuck eye roast)
1 package of dry Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 jar of pepperoncini peppers (with juice)

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Serve on toasted French bread with provolone cheese.

Here are a few tips for creating the perfect tailgate

1.Organize your group and divide the responsibilities.
a. Setup/cleanup
b. Food
c. Drinks/coolers
d. Tables/chairs
e. Paper products
f. Decorations/flowers

2. Create a menu that is easy and will appeal to a crowd.
a. Fried chicken
b. Sandwiches
c. Chips/dips
d. Fruit and cheese
e. Brownies/cookies

3. Prepare for inclement weather.  Take a few extra towels and sets of rain gear.
4. Have fun!!


  Traditions like tailgating keep us close to the ones that we love.  As Julie Yoste says, “There are so many wonderful things to say about The Grove: family, tradition, memories, wins, losses, food, fellowship, cocktails, cheers and big family hugs!”

I would like to extend a special thanks to all of my new friends at Texas A&M and at Ole Miss.  The hospitality was simply amazing!!

As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:


I love you Paula Dean! WP

By Anonymous on December 08, 2013


Great article on one of the best pleasures in the South. Nothing like tailgating on a football Saturday!!!! Super blog, Cindy. Somehow, you always know the right topics for your blog. Good football, good food, and good friends. Who can ask for more?!

By Sandra on December 06, 2013


Terrific recipe! It will be a mainstay for our Arizona Wildcat tailgates.

By Cassa on November 18, 2013


Great hints for tailgating! Love that everyone helps!

By Linda Parton on November 14, 2013


Great tailgating ideas. Good that everyone helps. Will try the roast recipe for sure!

By Linda on November 14, 2013


Cindy, Very, very good posting! I enjoyed reading it very much and the pic of you and the governors are great. I like Rick Perry very much. Blessings to you and yours and keep blogging!! Ann

By Ann Price on November 13, 2013


Great tips for tailgating. Dividing the responsibilities will provide more time to enjoy family and friends. The menu is very southern and delicious and the roast is easy to prepare. Children and adults enjoy the outdoor and casual dining that tailgating provides. The Yoste family seem to be enjoying themselves and have certainly created a wonderful family tradition. Thanks, Cindy, for an interesting post.

By Anne on November 11, 2013

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm