29 September, 2009

Rewind: Tailgate Entertaining by Southern Standards

This weekend is the Auburn vs UT game and as Auburn Alums, Mr. M and I are beyond psyched that the game is being played in Knoxville this year. WooHOO!!! We've got amazing tickets on the 40 yard line, 50 rows up from the the field so we will be in rare form in our orange and navy, Auburn shakers, and Beam & cokes in hand.

Naturally, this means I am in full-on tailgating mode. What to wear, what to cook, what to pack, and will we even be able to utter a complete sentence after 7 hours of tailgating before out 8pm game? [Answer: Probably Not]

So, in honor of all the SEC excitement in our house this week, I thought it timely to do a Rewind of my post from September 27th, 2006. Enjoy and WAR EAGLE!!

Tailgate Entertaining by Southern Standards
I am fortunate enough to have attended a big SEC college. Trust me when I tell you, this is truly and experience like no other. And in the south, the most important and highly anticipated event for our colleges in the SEC, is college game day. And what defines our college game days at our colleges and makes them like no other game days in the country, is our tailgating. You see, tailgating in the south isn’t just a mere tradition. Oh no, no, no, my friends. It isn’t something we do to pass time before the game begins (you see the game is actually quite often the afterthought). It’s a gift that we pass down from one generation to another. Its social fanfare at it’s finest. It’s the epitome of southern hospitality showcased by good graces, good manners, good southern bar-b-que, and greeting strangers not with a “hello!” but with your school’s battle cry. I mean, don’t dare approach Mr. Monogram or I on a game day with a “Hi there!” as you’re going to receive back a “War Eagle” instead from us. Just like the UGA fans shout out “Go Dawgs” or the Alabama fans shake hands with a firm “Roll Tide” as a prelude to catching up on the latest news. This is just the way it is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In college, game days meant getting dressed up in Sunday dress in hose and high heels (or at the very least, a cute little stacked loafer and a pair of tights and skirt, and I mean at the very least), and always wearing your sorority pin. Lord help the girl who went to the game on the arm of her date without her pin, I tell you! And as for the boys, well they always wore their standard uniform of khaki pants, loafers, a white button down, a tie with our school colors, and of course, fraternity pin as well. Although as I side note, I must mention that under these cute outfits, double –bagged zip lock bags of our faithful friend, Mr. Jim Beam, was always tucked and hidden somewhere in our undergarments (I recommend the bra, honestly). And yes, as briefly mentioned, you always go with a date, who will pick you up at your dorm at 9am to start tailgating for a 1pm game. I know many of you are sitting there thinking this is ridiculous and that this can not possibly still happen. But it does! And if you don’t believe me then I encourage you to turn on the next ESPN game day at an SEC school and look real closely and take good notes as the camera spans the crowd. You see this isn’t the way it used to be; this is the way it STILL is and always will be. Southern tradition at it’s finest.

So for those of you who went to one of our fine southern institutions, you are likely shaking your head with a smile on your face, re-living your own fond memories of dressing up for football games and waiting with giddy anticipation for your date to come pick you up, and of course, wondering what you’ll wear to the band party later. But for those of you who are reading this as if I’m speaking some foreign language, you might still be wondering what in the world makes our tailgating so spectacular. Well, where do I even begin?

First of all, what other colleges consider early tailgating (Friday or even Thursday), at my Alma Mater (Auburn University) and a few of the other big SEC colleges (i.e. Georgia, Alabama, LSU), it starts at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday before the game, when the massive caravan of RV's pull into our quiet little town on the plains (by massive I literally mean hundreds). And I’m not just talking your every day, run of the mill RV’s either. I am talking million dollar, fully outfitted, top dollar luxury RV’s that most of these people own SOLELY for tailgating and entertaining purposes. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the professional grade big black bar-b-que pits that many of them tote behind them as well. Because, you see, tailgating is an open door policy of booze and food and football and music. The food, if not authentic southern bar-b-que with all the fixings (or “finxin’s” as you will often hear it pronounced), is also often times catered. Sort of a come one, come all! But really I’m getting off the subject as I have heard from a few of you from various parts of the country who want some suggestions on jazzing up your own tailgating.
Now, if you don’t happen to have a million dollar RV at your disposal, then you will no doubt be either walking around, drink in hand to enjoy everyone else’s’ Southern Hospitality, or you will be throwing a bit of your own tailgating party right at home. And while I do not throw a football party with football shaped bowls and dishes and banners, I tend to use the colors as my theme. Or, pick a meal to be my theme. For instance, when Mr. Monogram and I were planning our Fall tailgating party (which we’ve since had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts), my theme was Ears & Beers, Chili & Cheer.
The invitations were very simple with my theme stated as shown in a really cool font and work layout, then followed by all the pertinent information such as time, date, location, etc.. Now, just for fun, at the bottom of my invitation it had read, Attire: Traditional Preppy Southern Sorority/Fraternity Game Day attire Requested, Greek pin optional! Cute, right? Mr. Monogram and I were going to break out our fraternity and sorority pins to wear with our cute little preppy college game day attire, and we were going to do a huge projection screen in the back yard and project the game from a projector. The lawn would be covered in quilts, scattered with pillows and chairs and even some large hay bales for sitting on, and the back deck would be set up for our plentiful buffet. The buffet would consist of mounds of corn of the cob, a half dozen different types and flavor of butter for the corn, and we would have our huge deep turkey fryer filled to the brim, cooking my chili over the burner. All the chili fixings (er, sorry, I mean finxin’s) and side dishes would also be laid out on the table in pretty bowls and different height levels, on top of quilts or table linens to match my team’s colors.

Now, if you are tailgating on campus, then these same entertaining ideas can still apply and it will be a tremendous treat for your tailgating companions and guests. You can even go to Kinko’s and have a banner made for your tailgate location with your party theme on it, to tie in with your invitations. Go to your local fabric store and pick up cute patterns and plaids and solids in your school colors and drape your tables with them to create interest. Whether you tailgate on campus or tailgate in the back yard or front porch, it shouldn’t mean skimping on your entertaining. There is no skimping at monogram mommas! It’s Fall! And what have we started talking about? Pumpkins! That’s right! So incorporate your pumpkins into your fall tailgating. Make a topiary like I showed on Tuesday, but use florals with your school colors instead of fall colors, and try putting your school logo on the top topiary pumpkin, and there’s your centerpiece. Again, instead of monogramming your pumpkins, incorporate your school spirit and school colors into them and onto your tailgating tables. Heck you can even cut off the top of a few synthetic pumpkins and drop a clear or white bowl into them (to make it look super cute, use different size pumpkins so it will also appear like you have different heights on your table) and they instantly become cute and decorative dishes to hold dips and side dishes.

Now, let’s talk about drinks. Now you know I insist on using your monogrammed galvanized drink tub, or even doing another one still with your monogram, but with your school colors. Naturally, beer is a staple for every tailgater, but that means a koozie is too. So bring along or have on hand cute colorful kozzies so your guests can cover up those unsightly beer bottles which you can literally pick up at your local craft store for about 50 cents each in an array of solid colors, and then I would also have some plastic stadium cups printed up with my theme and date on them. I like these from Shindigz and they have a great price too that you can’t beat. Of course, these cups are most helpful for mixed drinks, which in the South, this means two ingredients: Jim Beam and Coke. This is like our game day fuel and is a strict requirement along with the music selection of the Allman Brothers and Lynard Skynard.

As a final parting note, I leave you with these final parting words, sent to me in a timely email that does a good job of summing up College Football and Tailgating in the South. So grab your beam and coke, give it a good stir, and for those of you who are planning a football trip South, here are a few helpful hints that were sent to me, and do a good job summing up our fine tradition and staple of SEC Football.

NORTH: Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
SOUTH: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance
by "Dave Matthews' Band," who comes over during breaks and ask for a hit off bottle of bourbon.

Women's Accessories:
NORTH: Chap Stick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket.
SOUTH: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara, and a fifth of bourbon.
Money not necessary - that's what dates are for.

Stadium Size:
NORTH: College football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
SOUTH: High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.

NORTH: Expect their daughters to understand Sylvia Plath.
SOUTH: Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.

Campus Decor:
NORTH: Statues of founding fathers.
SOUTH: Statues of Heisman trophy winners.

Homecoming Queen:
NORTH: Also a physics major.
SOUTH: Also Miss America .

NORTH: Rudy Giuliani
SOUTH: Archie & Peyton & Eli Manning

Getting Tickets:
NORTH: 5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus.
SOUTH: 5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus, make a
large financial contr ibution and put name on awaiting list for tickets.

Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game:
NORTH: Students and teachers not sure they're going to the game, because
they have classes on Friday.
SOUTH: Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don't want to see the
few hung over students that might actually make it to class.

NORTH: An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.
SOUTH: RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for the weekend
festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.

Game Day:
NORTH: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
SOUTH: Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and Rushes over
to where ESPN is broadcasting "Game Day Live" to get on camera and wave to
the idiots up north who wonder why "Game Day Live" is never Broadcast from their campus.

Getting to the Stadium:
NORTH: You ask "Where's the stadium?" When you find it, you walk right in.
SOUTH: When you're near it, you'll hear it. On game day it becomes the state's third largest city.

NORTH: Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.
SOUTH: Drinks served in a plastic cup, with the home team's mascot on
it, filled less than half way with soda, to ensure enough room for bourbon.

When National Anthem is Played:
NORTH : Stands are less than half full, and less than half of them stand up.
SOUTH: 100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.

The Smell in the Air After the First Score:
NORTH: Nothing changes.
SOUTH: Fireworks, with a touch of bourbon.

Commentary (Male):
NORTH: "Nice play."
SOUTH: "Dammit, you slow sumbitch - tackle him and break his legs."

Commentary (Female):
NORTH: "My, this certainly is a violent sport."
SOUTH: "Dammit, you slow sumbitch - tackle him and break his legs."

NORTH: Neutral and paid.
SOUTH: Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.

After the Game:
NORTH: The stadium is empty way before the game ends.
SOUTH: Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker, while somebody goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, and planning begins for next week's game.


Blackeyed_Susan said...

Perfect! Great Post!

stb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stb said...

Hey - I'm one of those northern tailgaters and while I have chapstick tucked in my pocket, our stadium holds 100K+ people and (when not pregnant or nursing), I'm the designated jello shot maker.

And I'm proud to say that me & my two kids (2yo and 6 mos) are usually the last to leave our group's tailate :-)

Southern games sound like fun though...

Go Blue!

KKB said...

I love this!!

kp said...

Oh Ciarla, you make me laugh. I went to UF and we would die walking by the Bull Gator parking lot with the RVs and the little old ladies with the orange and blue alligator dangle earrings. I should make some navy and orange crystal necklaces and send them up to you to sell for me!

The Hoodies said...

War Eagle! I will be watching every minute on TV. Have a great time and enjoy the Tiger Walk!
When Auburn play UGA it gets brutal around here. My husband is from GA and loves UGA and of course being an Auburn girl you could see where the conflict comes in ;)

Enjoy every minute!

Lauren said...

Truer words were never spoken! I am from Alabama and moved up to North Carolina, ACC Country, and they DO NOT get it. I am printing this out and handing it out to my friends. Thanks Monogram Momma!

Monogram Momma said...

So glad you guys loved this post! WAR EAGLE!!

The Hoodies said...

Hope you had a great time. My heart is about to leap out of my chest! So glad the boys pulled it off in the end.

Monogram Momma said...

WAR EAGLE, Hoodies! It was a fantastic game!

Leslee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.