Get your game on: Area tailgaters share recipes -- let the feasting begin

September 8, 2010 10:56:00 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Saturday''s kick-offs heralded more than another autumn of gridiron action; they launched a fresh season of tailgating, too. Mother Nature bestowed a gorgeous gameday on thousands of football fans filling Mississippi campuses to meet, greet and eat. The Southeastern tailgate in particular, some would say, has evolved into a religion. More than a game, this is a ritual, a party, a homecoming, a social event for you and a few hundred of your best friends. 


In Starkville at The Junction -- the area by Davis Wade Stadium designated for tailgating -- Mississippi State University alumni Vivian and Tommy Yeatman of Columbus, and Teri (Tommy''s sister) and Bruce Blaise of Starkville were among the sprawling army rolling out maroon and white for the Bulldogs'' match-up with the Memphis Tigers. For each home game, the couples join up with friends in a four-tent base that often flies the banner, "Absolut Dawgs."  




Family affair 


"We love MSU and MSU sports," Vivian said. "Tailgating is a family event as much as anything, and we wanted to establish some family traditions with it." The Yeatman''s oldest son, Luke, is a former Bulldog. He and his wife, Laura Catherine, live in Madison now but rarely miss a home game gathering. A younger son, Trent, is an MSU senior. 


Several other friends, including alumni Kathy and Roland Slover of Madison, are involved on a regular basis, but when it comes to deciding menus among the group, "it''s really not too hard," says Teri. "We just try to make sure nobody''s bringing the same main dish." For Saturday''s game, for instance, Teri and Bruce brought catfish; Vivian and Tommy provided ribs. 


For appetizers and side dishes, cookbooks, the Internet, Food Network and friends are bottomless resources. Teri likes Southern Living for recipes adaptable to football weekends. "And I''m always picking up cookbooks for their appetizer sections," she admitted. 


At The Grove at Ole Miss, Diane and David Earwood are one of about 27 families that take part in the Columbus Rebel Tent. There, pre-game feasting benefits from a successful system or rotating hosts. 


"A four-family committee is in charge of all food and table decorations for each game," said Diane, whose son Brad finished at the university. The Earwood''s youngest son, Kevin, is now attending. "It''s wonderful for your child to have a place to bring friends or dates on game days. Even if you''re unable to come, they have a place to have great food and see hometown friends." 


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.