My favorite time of the year in the South has always been the fall. Now, we don’t get the explosive color change in our trees or the cooler weather that forces folks to change out their closet, but we do get college football. It’s one of the birthrights for us in SEC country. You say your prayers, go to work, answer “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am,” and choose a side. We choose the university in Athens, our Hairy Damn Dawgs.
Over 90,000 members of the Bulldog Nation gather on Saturdays in Sanford Stadium to holler, sing, pray and rejoice… it’s a lot like a revival. In fact, it IS a revival, a beautiful revival of one’s spirit.
Traditions are passed down through the generations, hand to hand. We wear what our grandparents wore, sing their songs, even park our cars in the same spot. One of the most prized and exciting traditions we have is the tailgate.
Make it Your Own
The tailgate can mean different things to different people. One person’s perfect set up may be seen by others as just a bar. That person may see the big, full-out spread as a pain in the neck to produce. I, as usual, find my comfort zone right in the middle of the two extremes. I want great food that’s as easy to clean up as set up… and I love me a good cocktail too! The perfectly mixed Bloody Mary on a Saturday morning in Athens is my favorite flavor in all of the world.
Grill, Grill, Grill
The grill plays a large roll in tailgating but it is hard to transport. I have a metal stand that hooks up to a propane tank, and I bring pots of chili that have been cooked at home so when I serve it up in bread bowls, clean up is easy.
Bring a Little Somethin’ Extra
I bring a variety of meats and salads (chicken, egg, tuna, pimento cheese) that I keep in the cooler so people can have a big fresh sandwich anytime during the day.
Keep it Clean
A tailgate must have is trash bags. I like the large, extra heavy-duty kind. Remember that you will not have water to clean up, so just load all the dirty stuff in a bag for clean up at the house later.
In the end, for me it doesn’t matter if its bologna or filet mignon. As long as I am with my friends and family at a ball game, I’m happy.
I’ll see y’all out there! Gooo DAWGS!