Friday, October 20, 2017


Tailgating in Connecticut, 1970  - Photos by Salt Water New England
Tailgating Tips from SWNE Readers:
How many folks are you planning to host for? Take that number and multiply by 1.5 to 3 because I guarantee that someone will know someone there and the party will grow. If you are serving food make sure you have trash bags,PLENTY of paper cups and plates, ice and the requisite amount of coolers. (John B )
Hot chocolate is always good and appreciated if it's a cold day.  (John G)
I personally don't bring alcohol when I host (only because I worry about liability), but it's not hard to find friends who will share! (SAJ)
The real trick is to slip away before the game begins. (Labrador )
I would also be very specific with your friends about how they can find you and your tailgate. "The parking lot behind the stadium" can be a big place! Ask around about local customs and traditions. There are times when it's great to be an outlier, but I'm not sure that this would be one of them. (The Wandering Wahoo )
My father-in-law was always in attendance at any Yale football game and loved nothing more than hosting tailgate parties which he did up until the end of his life. His delicious and oh-so-tender grilled flank steaks (which he had previously marinated in his special concoction) were much exclaimed over and devoured. My mother-in-law saw to the appetizers (cheeses and crackers, olives, shrimp cocktail), assorted side dishes and the wine and cocktails. There would always be a crowd at Papa Dave's grill. We miss him still as do many of his Yale tailgating friends.  We say, if you're going to tailgate, do it with a bit of panache and skip the burgers and hot dogs. (Alexandra)
The day before I will make a pot of chili in my 15.25 quart Dutch oven and several cookie sheets of cornbread dough. Bake the cornbread the morning of, and give the chili a head start heating up. Pack an LLB tote with toppings--hot sauce, sour cream, limes, cheese (if you're so inclined)--and coffee cups and about 1000 more plastic spoons than you think you'll need. I have a set of approximately 100 coffee mugs. They are the perfect vehicle for eating chili while standing around waiting for the damn thing to be over. It's not horribly fattening, there is little work done on-site, and it is much easier to run a sanitary operation if you're not doing any actual cooking there.  Taking grilled chicken from a drunk where there is no running water? No thanks. (SAJ)
Here in Northeast PA, in some combo, we do smoked salmon or chicken, cold salad (no mayo), sandwiches, a thick traditional or white chicken chili, good bread and butter, pitcher of cocktail, iced tea, wine, beer, water, coffee, a variety gluten-free chips and hummus or other interesting spread, olives and cheese. A pan of meat free lasagna is good, and can be eaten cold as well. Lots of disposable serveware, coolers and ice, and of course, a wine opener! (Holly in PA)
At the University of Southern California you can expect to find BBQs grilling up anything from hot dogs and hamburgers to chicken and tri-tip. Fruit plates and veggie trays as well as chips and salsa and/or guacamole are served as side dishes. If it’s an early game some people will throw a pan on the grill and make eggs and bacon to be served with coffee cake. Cookies and cupcakes make for great desserts that can be eaten while walking to the stadium. And of course the beverages. Beer is the most common, although you will see tailgates with wine and champagne. (Katie)
Brown Band Buttons - Useful for Taking the Sting Out of Epic Losing Streaks. Other Favorites, Misplaced: VE RI TASTY and CORN HELL.  These buttons were collected in Faunce House on the Fridays before games. 

From Hearthstone Farm:
I don't know if what follows counts as tailgating but this post dredged up some memories of cold days sitting in stadiums. 
When I was about six, my parents attended virtually every game of the season for a team on which my dad was a part-time staff member. Saturday morning out came the leather picnic kit, which they bought at Abercrombie and Fitch on Fifth Avenue in New York. My mom filled the thermoses with coffee and packed the tin boxes with lobster paste sandwiches. The paste, which I never see any more, was a gourmet treat and delicious. She added some apples, her homemade toll house cookies, and a bottle of sherry, and we were ready for “The Game.” After this feast, we trudged to the stadium in our heavy boots and coats and carried those gorgeous Scottish wool plaid blankets that Abercrombie's used to sell and banners and scarves for “our team.” No matter how cold I was, I couldn't be persuaded at six to take a swig of my parents sherry which tasted like gasoline. The worst day was when my team lost a heart breaker, heavy snow started falling before the game was over, and I lost my favorite mitten. I thought the world was coming to an end. But now even that sad day is a fond memory! 
And MGC:
The last time I tailgated was with a classmate and his father at a Harvard-Penn game in Cambridge, MA. The father brought sandwiches and a pitcher of sidecar cocktails, which must have been a generational choice, as I had never heard of them before. 
Once inside the stadium, we sat down directly behind a young fellow who had an empty seat beside him. An elderly man in tweed, probably in his early seventies, accompanied by his lovely white-haired wife, arrived and informed the young fellow they had tickets to his seat and the empty seat. The young fellow argued, and even after being shown the tickets, refused to move. People were paying attention now. Suddenly, the young fellow pushed the elderly man, letting out a stream of obscenities, at which moment the elderly man wound up and knocked the young fellow out cold. 
An usher arrived to escort the now semi-conscious younger man out of the stadium as the crowd cheered. The elderly man removed his hat, took a bow, and sat down, just in time for the arrival of the Harvard band. 
It was a great moment in sports history. 

The game is, of course, optional.



  1. What an absolutely marvelous lead photo!

  2. The Brown University Band Buttons are Great! I understand most of the slogans except the "Malice toward Nun" button? Help!

  3. As a southerner and avid reader of Muffy's blog, I would be remiss not to mention Ole Miss. It is truly the pinnacle of tailgating. To quote the NY Times, "In many tents, food is served on silver trays, drinks splash through fountains and chandeliers hang from the metal supports. Fur coats abound. Jackets and ties are common.
    Prominent chefs are hired to cater meals, and chicken is a favored entree. “You don’t want to be a chicken in northern Mississippi on game day,” said Tim Walsh, the executive director of alumni affairs.
    The tents themselves can be fashion statements. Some fans hire interior decorators. One tent on the Walk of Champions (the Grove’s Main Street) is painted with zebra stripes. One of its owners is Jane Foster, a converted Mississippi State fan. She brings in a rock band once a year."

    1. That is fabulous!!!

    2. As a Bama guy I confess, we usually win the game but Ole Miss never loses a party.

  4. I completely agree. Hard to beat tailgating at the Grove, or in the SEC generally.

  5. The first picture could be of my parents and friends at a Yale game. Everyone in their country clothes, corsages with blue ribbons for the ladies. The kids would be dressed in kilts, knee socks and polo coats- and our raccoon coats later in the season. How I miss those good times! The food and drink was very incidental. What I really miss are afternoon games on a nice sunny day. I am not a fan of "Friday Night Lights."

  6. A 'Regional' difference and the close proximity of my university to the Louisiana border.....tailgaters will have boudain and gumbo.( Normally chicken, sausage gumbo.....but if it is homecoming, shrimp\crab)

  7. I was curious, so here is a little more information on the sidecar. The sidecar is a cocktail traditionally made with cognac, orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Dry Curaçao or another triple sec), and lemon juice This is according to Wikipedia so others may have variations. Wonder how it would be with bourbon.

  8. There is rarely a connection between the team and tailgate status.
    Though one car in distant parking lot may have a great tailgate the best are in areas naturally conducive to the effort.
    Certainly the tree lined boulevard at SMU is a distinctive venue. It begins later in the afternoon as games are played in the cooler Texas evening.

  9. We didn't have a tailgate until father got our first Range Rover in 1973 . LOL . Up until then it was the trunk of a Jag and a blanket !