“Football food” is that universal code that anyone who loves a college or professional game understands. Melted cheese is almost always involved. Deep fried is a general requirement. Raw vegetables and hummus need not apply.
Football food is that great uniter. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the North, South, East or West. In this year of great political divides, perhaps the country should rally around some Rotel Velveeta Dip and Pigs in a Blanket.
My daughter-in-law, Tammy, understands football food better than anyone. She loves it so much she doesn’t limit herself to serving it in the fall. By design, football food is not fancy or fussy or hard to prepare. Since Tammy is not an enthusiastic cook, this plays to her strengths.
Every year at our family reunion, Tammy is in charge of snacks and the array of artery clogging tidbits lovingly prepared by TGIF Fridays, Jose Ole and Totino’s is impressive. Who does not embrace a pizza roll, loaded potato skin or extra crunchy taquito?
I’ll tell you who. King Daddy. KD is the biggest football food party pooper around. If you hit him with snacks in the first quarter of a Vols game, you might get a glimmer of enthusiasm as he rages at the screen thinking if he simply yells loud enough the coaches will hear him from 186 miles away. But after that, offering King Daddy some nachos is like giving him a beaker of poison.
After 26 years of marriage you would think I’d have figured this out. Yet every year I enter the fray with cocktail meatballs, pimento cheese puffs and ham dip hoping against hope that the Vols are up 120-0 in the first quarter.
One of my favorites is Alabama Firecrackers. One would think soaking Ritz crackers in oil and highly processed dry dressing mix would be the least appetizing idea on the planet. But it is not. These crackers are highly addictive.
Alabama Firecrackers with Zesty Dipping Sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes (crushed)
1 pound Ritz crackers
Whisk the vegetable oil, dressing mixes and red pepper flakes in a bowl to combine thoroughly. Put the mixture in a 2-gallon plastic zipper bag. Place the crackers in the bag, seal, and turn the bag over to cover the crackers with the spice mix. Let the bag sit for about 1 hour, then turn again. Repeat several more times until the crackers are well-coated with spice mix, and allow the bag to sit refrigerated overnight. Remove crackers and serve.
Zesty Dipping Sauce
16 ounces sour cream
1 package taco seasoning mix
Combine thoroughly and chill for at least an hour.