Tailgating for me goes back to my very early childhood and had nothing to do with food or football!
It did have to do with having older brothers that played Little League Baseball and a dad who was the umpire dressed in all black from his head to his toes. After every game there was always a celebration (no matter the score). This celebration took place at the end of my dad's pickup truck on the actual "tailgate"! Glass bottles of Pepsi Cola bobbed up and down in an old metal ice chest filled with melting chunks of ice.
Everyone would gather around and fortunately for me, you didn't have to be an actual player to share in this bit of deliciousness. My dad always let me help serve those iced down drinks which was part of the fun. The tailgate "became the table" and a place where we all communed over those icy drinks and shared the highlights of the game. It seemed magical to me.
Fast forward to the "Millenial now" and tailgating is almost always all about food and football - and the celebration comes before the game not after! There are more Pinterest pins, cookbooks, and decor ideas that one could imagine on this subject alone.
My first encounter with Arkansas and the beloved Razorbacks came my freshman year in the fall of 1973 at Oklahoma State University where it was mostly a sea of orange as it was a home game for the Cowboys. Those Arkansas fans actually began "calling the hogs" with their woo pig sooie chatter - sounds of which I had never heard! At the time, I could not imagine that doing such would ever be in my future. In fact, I don't remember anything about that game except how passionate the Hog fans were! Little did I know then that I would move to Arkansas, raise my family here, have two children graduate from the UofA and call the Hogs with gusto!
But, our love for the Pokes has never waivered - which leads me to the two tailgates...one for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the other Arkansas Razorbacks. I love them both and always feel like I have one foot in each region when it comes to food - the South and the Southwest. So, I'm sharing a recipe that is a winner at any tailgate celebration - Pimento Cheese. Who doesn't love pimento cheese!!!!! In the Southwest you'll find versions with roasted green chiles and the like, and in the South we love to enjoy it best in it's classic style.
Pimento cheese can be eaten with crackers, celery stalks, chips, baguette slices, stuffed in jalapenos and grilled, topped on hamburgers, slathered on biscuits, put between two slices of bread as a traditional sandwich, stuffed in cherry tomatoes, a filling for deviled eggs....whew, can there be any more ideas with this delectable treat?!!!
Whatever you decide to cook and share at your "tailgate" celebration - just remember to not take the game too seriously, that it's okay to have more than one team you love, but most of all be sure you savor all that delicous food and the memories you'll be making with your family and friends!
from my tailgate table to yours,
Pimento Cheese Classic and Southwest Version
16 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
Two 4 oz. jar pimento, drained
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
2/3 cup mayonnaise
freshly ground pepper to taste
crackers or baguette slices for serving
For Southwest version:
16 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
Two 4 oz. jar pimento,drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup My Brother's New MexicanGreenChile Salsa
2-3 roasted, seeded and chopped green chiles (or 4 oz. can drained)
Choose a top quality white cheddar for best results. I love this Balllyshannon found at Sam's Clubs.
For the classic southern pimento cheese, shred cheese, drain pimento.
Combine the shredded cheese, pimentos, 2/3 cup mayonnaise and 3/4 tsp. dry mustard in mixing bowl.
Mix until well blended.
Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
For a Southwest Green Chile Pimento Cheese:
Shred white cheddar cheese.
Drain pimentos. Add 4 oz. roasted/chopped green chiles. 1/4 cup My Brother's New Mexican Green Chile Salsa, 1/2 cup. mayonnaise.
Mix until well blended using a stand mixer.
Serve with My Brother's Corn Tortilla chips and New Mexican Green Chile Salsa, celery stalks, or baguette slices.
Enjoy and go teams!