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THE INSIDE TRACK

The Hot Corner

September 17, 1998|LARRY STEWART

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "John Madden's Ultimate

Tailgating," by John Madden with

Peter Kaminsky

Publisher: Viking

Price: $24.95

Food and football go hand-in-hand with John Madden. So why not a Madden cookbook for football tailgaters?

Madden teamed up with Peter Kaminsky, New York magazine's Underground Gourmet who writes an outdoors column for the New York Times. He is also the author of "Fishing for Dummies" and "Fly Fishing for Dummies."

This 288-page book is chock full of recipes, but it is more than just a cookbook. The final chapter deals with where, when and how to tailgate in the NFL, with a stadium-by-stadium breakdown.

Although Madden didn't invent tailgating, he is one of its most ardent proponents. "I got into tailgating because of football," he writes.

The book has Madden's light touch. "I divide the world of tailgate food--make that all food--into floaters and sinkers," he writes. "Floaters aren't tailgate. Salad is a floater. Sushi is a a floater. I have never eaten sushi. It's light. It stays up there.

"Tailgating food is all sinkers. Chili is a sinker. Pork chunk stew is a sinker. Burritos are sinkers. They sink down there and keep you on the ground."

It's easy to see this book is definitely not for health food nuts or people with cholesterol problems.

Here's Madden's take on barbecuing: "You don't have to barbecue everything you eat at a tailgate, but you can't have serious tailgating without barbecuing. There's something about making a fire and gathering around it that brings people together."

Besides more than 80 recipes Madden has gathered over the years, the book contains 32 pages of color photographs of Madden and friends tailgating and of food that will make your mouth water.

Madden's Big Cuts of Meat Food Group comes with two commandments of grilling: "Low and slow" and "bigger and thicker." The group includes smoked prime rib, garlic-stuffed fresh ham roasted on a spit and suckling pig. There are also chapters titled Big Birds, Good Sandwiches, Seafood, Mostly Mexican, and Stews, Soups and Other One-Pot Meals.

It's a fun book, but after examining some of the recipes, here's a word of caution: moderation.

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