Did you know that today is National Tailgate Day? Since National Tailgate Day is observed on the first Saturday in September, obviously this in reference to College Football and not the NFL. No matter, it’s still a good reason to celebrate.
While no one knows when the tailgating tradition first began, we do know that the first football game in American History was played on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton Universities. We also know that spectators arrived early to enjoy the company of fellow fans and serve up some food before the game. While cameras were a fairly new sensation, no one thought to photograph this historic event. And for the record, Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4.
Some argue that American tailgating began at the Battle of Bull Run. After all, spectators did come out to the battlefield in their buggies to watch. And they did bring food and drink with them. It’s a valid argument, although in poor taste. Still others say the idea began with the Greeks and Romans.
Here in America, the art of tailgating began as an Ivy League activity. The opposing fans generally arrived by train hours before the game. Since they had to wait, they brought food and drink to occupy their time. Not to be outdone by the visiting fans, the home team came out as well and formed their own little camps of merriment.
Tailgating was and continues to be a community activity. Those who tailgate tend to come back weekend after weekend, year after year, building relationships with their fellow fans. Just as picnics once had a more elaborate presentation, once upon a time social events including tailgating were done with style and finesse.
In our desire to seem indifferent to social “norms” we have lost the art of reflection. The way in which we entertain is a direct image of who we are and what we wish to project. People once dressed for even the most casual of social gatherings. Now, to prove to one another just how unimpressed we are by “material” matters, we go out of our way to appear indifferent. How sad.
I say let’s take it all back. Just because it’s Tailgate Saturday doesn’t mean we have to serve bagged potato chips and jars of processed dip. Reflect and strut your stuff!
Yukon Gold Roast Beef Crostini
10 small (about 2-inch) Yukon gold potatoes
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared Horseradish
1/4 teaspoon Minced Garlic
Dash white pepper
1/4 lb thin-sliced Roast Beef, from a deli
30 slices pimiento-stuffed green olives
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off ends of each potato; discard ends. Cut potatoes into thirds, about 3/8-inch thick. Place slices on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush slices with oil; sprinkle each with garlic salt.
Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Remove from oven, loosen from pan and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine mayonnaise, horseradish, garlic and pepper; mix well.
To serve, place potato slices on serving platter. Top each with about 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture. Top with roast beef. Garnish each with olive slice.
Serve at room temperature.