Commentary Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
“Well, we really over did it this time!” How many times have you said that to yourself? Remembering times when we overdid it, it would be wise to look at some history so we don’t repeat our mistakes.
One of the joys/curses of a modern smart phone is that little weather icon. It seems we start to click it 10 days ahead of our next tailgate party. Then as we get a few days away from the game we click it and look at the hourly temperatures and rain possibilities. If you count the times you check the weather it can be into the dozens. Ah, technology!
We once experienced tailgate preparations where the weather forecast worsened all week. On game day the temperatures were below 50 degrees and there was occasional rain. Early on, as we planned our menu, we thought that our chicken noodle soup would be a warm treat for our guests. Later, we had to decide on how we were going to get our soup to the game and have it be piping hot. Since we are “professional tailgaters” we have all the gadgets. So when we finally made our trek to the game, our car was packed with every imaginable item to keep soup hot. Rube Goldberg would have been proud of us, but he wouldn’t have been able to fit into the vehicle. We had heated coolers, grills, crockpots and a bunch of other stuff like chairs and tables. We really had to juggle all these gadgets, in the light rain, just to fit them into our car and later to fit them into a setting so we could serve our guests and keep them dry.
Our website, tailgatershandbook.com, has a 1950s photo of a tailgate picnic at Colgate University. The folks in that picture had only a picnic basket and a thermos bottle. They had no need for a crock pot or thermoelectric cooler/heater even if these were invented back then. Maybe we would have been better served, considering the weather, if we had prepared like those folks did more than 60 year ago.
Speaking of chicken noodle, here is a gourmet soup recipe for your cold- weather tailgate party that can fit in a simple thermos bottle.
Chicken Noodle Soup
8 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
4 skinless chicken thighs w/ bones in
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup chopped onion
8 oz. uncooked egg noodles
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1. Combine the chicken, wine and stock in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer the ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from pan and let it cool for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from bones and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones.
2. Add the carrots, celery, and onions to the pan. Cover the mixture (w/o chicken) and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add noodles/pasta, and let it simmer for 6 minutes. Add chicken, salt, and black pepper; cook for 2 minutes or until noodles are done.