Being green


Today we are bombarded by the thought that it’s good to be “green.”  This doesn’t mean you are a Dartmouth or Michigan State fan or even a Zionsville or Valparaiso high school supporter. Being green really means that you care about preserving our God-given resources. As a tailgater, you can be green, too. Over my years of tailgating, I have learned some conservation tricks that save me money and time.

To set the stage, I’ll review some problems encountered in my years of professional tailgating. Every time I brought chili to a game, it stained my serve and seal containers. Also every time I packed a cooler, I needed to put in a block or bag of ice to keep things cold. Late in the season, when it got really cold, I needed to build a fire using lighter fluid or fire starters.

Here are some green tips:

  • Save your plastic, gallon size, ice cream containers (tubs).  On game day, you can pack them with your favorite chili, and after warming and eating chili, dispose of the tubs, stain and all.
  • Save those half gallon or 1.75 liter plastic juice or milk containers.  The day before the game, fill them an inch or two short of its top with water and then freeze.  These replace blocks or bags of ice.
  • At your tailgate, have a paper grocery bag for burnable trash like paper and cardboard.  Use this material to start and boost your fire.
  • Make your own fire pit with a metal garbage can lid (or other disc) and three bricks, stones or other non-flammable supports.

Speaking of cold weather and chili, here’s a turkey chili recipe that will warm your heart and soul. A different award winning chili recipe is also available on my Web site,

Turkey Chili

Made with ground turkey, this chili avoids a little of the fat of ground beef without losing any of the flavor we require for pre-game and post-game meals.


2 pounds ground turkey

3 packages McCormick’s chili mix (or your favorite)

3 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (un-drained)

4 15 ounce cans dark red kidney beans (un-drained)

To Prepare

Brown the turkey in a large pot, then drain it if you must. Now add everything else. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to allow the chili to simmer for one hour. Stir the mixture occasionally. Let the chili cool and store overnight in plastic containers.


Serve with oyster crackers or French bread.

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