When my cell phone chimed the other day to let me know a text message came in, I expected it to be from my friend, Nancy. I read it and then wondered what the heck she was talking about.
"Eleven more days!" the text proclaimed.
Eleven more days until the trash man came? Eleven more days until September? Eleven more days until the end of the world? About to text back and ask what we were anticipating, I glanced at the name on the text. Now it all made sense
"Going to Castleton?" I texted back.
"We cannot wait, It will be great to see both of you!"
In other words, let the tailgating begin! Plymouth State University will open its football season on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Castleton (Vt.) State University.
Our son, David, could never meet the weight limit for youth football, which never bothered me because like all moms, I didn't want him playing such a dangerous game.
On the night before the opening of the fall sports practices at Drury High School his freshman year, David informed us that after playing soccer for nine years, he wanted to play football in high school.
"I need some football cleats," he told me at 7 that night.
I had the perfect excuse to end the football issue. "Where do you expect me to find size 14 football cleats in North Adams at this time of day?" I countered. Score one for moms everywhere.
Well, it wasn't easy and it involved a trip to the mall and then Pittsfield,
He put his heart and soul into learning and playing the game. There were some great moments, like when he intercepted the ball and made it almost to the goal post before anyone realized he had the ball.
There also were some bad moments, like the sickening crack as he and a player from St. Joseph's High School hit each other head-on, helmet to helmet, and David stumbled off the field.
The best part of high school football for me was always hanging with the other parents and working in the concession stand or being together at a booster club meeting. The moms and dads in the booster club will always have a special place in my heart.
When David joined the football team at PSU, we were the rookies all over again. Due to an attack of appendicitis, he was sidelined through almost half of the season. We went to the first game he could play very unprepared. What did we know about tailgating? We brought a small cooler with soda and nothing else, figuring we would buy food at the concession stand.
Not at Plymouth State!
We were quickly adopted by four or five families who were tailgating. By the end of the day, we were planning what we would bring the next week and exchanging cell phone numbers.
We partied with those parents for two years, until their sons graduated. They really knew how to tailgate. They had awnings, tents with heaters and a generator to keep the crockpots going. There were shaved steak sandwiches, pizza, calzones, jambalaya and for the last game of the season, boiled lobsters and scallops wrapped in bacon.
Over the years, we've acquired our own propane gas slow cooker (a misnomer because it goes from cold to cremate in less than 5 minutes), a small propane grill, a very large cooler, a folding table and an awning, Not to mention a huge Rubbermade container to lug all the other necessities.
Although I've never brought this to a football game, mainly because it has to be baked, I love this grinder for "tailgating" in the living room during games on TV.
News Channel 10 Opening Kickoff Flat Grinder
2 packages lavosh Armenian cracker bread
2 large eggs, beaten
3 4 pound salami, sliced thin
3 4 pound ham, sliced thin
3 4 pound bologna sliced thin
1 2 pound provolone cheese, sliced thin
1 2 pound pepperoni sausage, sliced thin
For the relish:
1 2 cup red onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
3 4 cup pickles, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1 4 cup calmata olives, chopped
1 2 cup pickled hot peppers, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay four slices of the lavosh on a flat surface. Brush lightly with the beaten egg. Place another piece of the lavosh on top. Press firmly.
Arrange the meats by folding each slice in half with the cheese and arrange across the bread until all is used.
In a bowl, combine the relish ingredients and mix well. Top each sandwich with this mixture and take 4 more pieces of the lavosh and brush with the egg and add another piece of lavosh and press together and top the sandwich with the lavosh.
Place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to email@example.com.