When you grow up in a college town like I did, you end up spending all of your fall Saturdays in the stadium watching football games. That was fun…but let’s face it, the tailgate party before the game has always been the bigger attraction for me. I loved going to Spartan stadium with the whole family, bringing our tailgate lunch and walking around the parking lots sampling other tailgaters and chatting it up before the game. I have a particularly fond memory of my dad listening to the band playing out in the A-Lot at MSU before a game, standing there clapping to the music with his wool cap, red scarf, and coat on. That made me want to clap too.
Then there were the years when all of my siblings and I were in school in South Bend. The tailgaters we had there were outta sight. These weren’t the hepped-up-style tailgaters dotting the parking lot with tables and tablecloths and flowers. This was belly-up-to-the-trunk-style. My mom would load up the station wagon with every kind of delicious food you could imagine and she and my dad would pull her up to Green Field at Notre Dame. Five hungry college kids would come a-running, along with our friends, and we ate my mother’s food as though we had been starved since we left home. Which, in a way, we were.
Here’s our ever so fine tailgating menu, always with the Lebanese foods that require nothing but a hand to get it to your mouth. Yes, it is true that there was no way my mother would make from scratch every facet of the picnic. But one or two aspects she would.
Did I ask permission of my siblings to post this circa early-90s tailgate photo? Of course not.
Our Tailgate Menu
(Go Spartans! Go Irish! And when they play each other: eat another kibbeh football!)
Fried Chicken (Mom’s oven-fried, if you’re lucky)
Carrot and Celery Sticks
Lays Potato Chips
Little Bunches of Grapes
Bag of Apples (Dad wants everyone to tuck an apple in the coat pocket, for later)
Seven-layer Cookie Bars
Bag of miniature Snickers (not the miniature bites—too small—miniature bars)