One measure of how far tailgating has come is that it rarely involves an actual tailgate these days. Even those fans who drive trucks to the game typically set up folding picnic tables or other buffet surfaces, the better to accommodate the entrees, salads, snacks, booze and bubble water necessary to prepare the modern-day enthusiast for 60 minutes of football.
Although some features remain constant across every tailgating venue in America--bottled beer, sausages, licensed apparel costing half a paycheck--no two experiences are exactly alike. Regional culinary traditions (if you can characterize Green Bay's Lambeau Field bratwurst thusly) are shaped by the demographics of a team's fans and the images they carefully cultivate. Here in California, team rivalries are neatly delineated by tailgaters. That makes sense for a state in which Northern versus Southern, urban versus rural and logger versus tree-sitter are dwarfed only by Bruin versus Trojan and Raider versus 49er.
Ethel Cullom's Stuffed Sandwiches
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8-inch round loaf of sheepherder bread
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 pound thinly sliced ham
1/4 pound baby spinach (about 6 cups loosely packed)
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
Blend together the cream cheese, walnuts, green onion and garlic powder. Set aside. With a serrated knife, slice off top of bread about one-third of the way down. Set top slice aside. Cut out the center of the loaf to within half an inch of the sides and bottom, creating a shell. Butter the cavity and underside of the top slice. Line the cavity with ham, letting the slices overlap the edge of the crust. Top with half the spinach, then half the Swiss cheese. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the Swiss cheese layer. Top with sprouts, then the remaining Swiss cheese and spinach. Fold the ends of the ham slices over the spinach to cover. Put the top slice on the loaf to close. Place stuffed loaf on large sheet of foil. Bring the sides of the foil up over the loaf and fold down to seal tightly. Fold ends and crimp to seal. Chill several hours or overnight to blend the flavors. To serve, remove foil and slice into 8 wedges with a serrated knife.
Ethel Cullom has missed one Bruin home game since graduating in 1966.
Makes about 17 3-inch-diameter cookies
1/4 pound butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease the cookie sheets. Cream the butter and then gradually add the brown and white sugars, beating until light and smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda together with a whisk and add to the sugar mixture, blending well. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Using a 2-inch-diameter scoop, drop the dough onto the cookie sheets, making sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Jeff Oto graduated from Troy in 1988. He can name almost every USC assistant football coach for the last 30 years.
1 bunch of asparagus (asparagus should be about 1/2 inch in diameter)
Garli Garni or other garlic seasoning
Trim the white ends of the asparagus, then wash and dry. Place in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with Garli Garni or other garlic seasoning. Remove from the bag and place on the grill over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, until tender.
Howard Hall's Barbecued Lobster Tails
1 8-ounce Australian lobster tail per person
Garli Garni or other garlic seasoning
Thoroughly wash the tails (wear gloves because the tails have tiny spines). Using kitchen shears, cut off and remove the membrane from the underbelly. Place the tails in a baking pan and drizzle each with 1 to 2 tablespoons butter and Garli Garni or other garlic seasoning. Store in refrigerator until ready to cook. Place the tails (shell side down) on the grill over medium heat. Cook until they start to turn white, about 13 minutes. Turn the tails over and cook for 5 more minutes. Turn the tails over again (shell side down). Baste each tail with 1 to 2 tablespoons butter and garlic. Cook until the tails are firm and white, about 1 more minute. Remove from the grill. Place a big spoon between the shell and tail and slide it down the shell. Remove each tail from its shell (if it doesn't come out easily, it's not done and might need to be grilled a bit longer). Serve with melted butter.
Howard Hall is an original member of the Napa Valley Raiders Booster Club.
Renee and Roy Chernus' 'Beat the Panthers' Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Sauce and Slaw
Serves 6 to 8