Tailgating 2013: Why are tailgaters eating spicier food?

2013-09-14T10:45:00Z 2013-09-16T15:53:03Z Tailgating 2013: Why are tailgaters eating spicier food?Joe Drozda and Bob Bley nwitimes.com
September 14, 2013 10:45 am  • 

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.

Up until the 1990s, people in this area had two options to spice up their food. One was salt and the other was pepper. Burning one’s tongue usually only came from hot coffee or cocoa. Today, however, we have experienced demographic changes with more Asian and Latino immigrants expecting, but also providing more diverse eating options for other Americans.

This trend has introduced spicier foods that bite the taste buds of baby boomers. Also as people age, their sense of smell and taste begin to deteriorate; to compensate they generally shake on more salt and sugar. But this combo frequently leads to high blood pressure and diabetes, which people are much more aware of now. Therefore, baby boomers are looking for healthier alternatives, and are realizing that spices and herbs are the answer.

Capsaicin (a healthy buzz word these days) is the active chemical component of chili peppers and is an antioxidant. Hot peppers also release endorphins, a “pleasure” hormone – at least, once one’s tongue gets used to it.

The “hot food” revolution in the U.S. is frequently credited to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, where Frank’s RedHot (cayenne pepper) Sauce and butter were combined in 1964, and used to coat deep-fried chicken wings, hence the “Buffalo Wing”. In 1982 the Buffalo Wild Wing chain began and today you can find Buffalo wings almost everywhere. If you want to make your own, here’s one of our favorite recipes.

Buffalo Wings


2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings and/or drummettes

1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Sauce

1/3 cup melted butter


Deep fry wings for 12 minutes or until fully cooked and crispy. (You can bake the wings 1 hour at 425 degrees, or grill them 30 minutes if you want, but be sure to get them crispy)

Combine the Frank's Sauce and butter.

Dip the wings into the sauce and then serve with celery and blue cheese or ranch dressing.

4 servings

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