Joe Drozda and Bob Bley are writing the third edition of The Tailgater’s Handbook which will be published in 2014. Drozda is considered the “Father of American Tailgating” by many including The Wall Street Journal. Drozda and Bley both grew up in NW Indiana and attended Indiana University together.
A question that frequently comes to our web site, tailgatershandbook.com is, “What foods should I serve this week?” Actually, the answer depends primarily on the weather. Early in the season (August and September), we football tailgaters experience much hotter weather than we do around Thanksgiving.
It’s not uncommon to be so hot in September that you don’t even want to cook at the game. Later in the year we probably want to be warmed and offer hot foods like soup or chili. Always searching for new recipe ideas, we have conducted tailgate-lot as well as on-line surveys across America to find out what tailgaters prefer most for each season of the year.
Detailed surveys for all times of the football season are published on our web site tailgatershandbook.com. To help figure out a menu that’s sure to please, check out our results for the warm weather part of the tailgate season:
* Favorite warm weather main course? (1) Sausages (Bratwurst or Italian) 32 percent. (2) Assorted other sandwiches 28 percent. (3) Chicken 20 percent (4) Hamburgers 13 percent
* Favorite warm weather side dish? (1) Chips/ dips 20 percent. (2) Green Salads 18 percent. (3) Potato Salad 16 percent. (4) Pasta Salad 15 percent (5) Veggies 12 percent
* What is your favorite warm weather dessert? (1) Bars 40 percent. (2) Cookies 25 percent. (3) Fruit 13 percent. (4) Cake 10 percent
Here’s a great menu item for warm-weather tailgating. It’s a salad - great for hot weather - that will take the sharp edge off of bratwurst or hot wings:
4 large Cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
16 oz. container Sour Cream
Place the cucumber slices in a large bowl that is wide enough to hold a dinner plate for the pressing stage. These slices should be salted to keep in their crispness and to help remove the water. The evening before game day, cover the slices in the bowl, weighted with a dinner plate to press the cucumbers and remove the liquid. It helps to occasionally drain off the liquid.
On game day remove the weighted plate and drain the liquid again. Add 3/4 to all of the sour cream to your desired consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. of the rice vinegar to remove some of the creaminess. Mix all this together gently. Place into a Rubbermaid re-sealable container and pack chilled into your food cooler.