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By Bob Fortunato

Tailgating season is upon us.  College football comes to mind when you think of tailgating, but many sporting events have tailgating - professional, college, and high school football, soccer, and baseball and also auto racing, horse shows, three day eventing, etc. 

Where did tailgating begin? Maybe as a party at medieval jousting tournaments?  How about during the Civil War where families followed the troops and fixed food for themselves, some even cheered at battles.  Or was it during the early months of the Civil War when crowds gathered to watch early battles around Washington, D.C.? Some people believe that eating off of the wagon tailgate at the 1869 Rutgers vs. Princeton football game was the beginning of modern tailgating. 

Now tailgating is big time and an integral part of college football games.  It can be an all day or weekend event for avid fans.  It is food, drink, friends, family, fun and socializing at its' best.  Many tend to stick with normal grilling fare; such as hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, chips, etc.  But, whatever you serve and there are no limits, enjoy the spirit of the sporting event; and live in the moment. 

No wonder that tailgating has become a great tradition at sporting events.  Here are a few easy ideas for tailgating food.


Ham Salad

1lb. ham sliced (deli) chopped into small cubes    

8 to 10 small Spanish olives stuffed with pimentos sliced thin.    

2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley     

2 Tbs. chopped small celery or 1 Tbs. celery seed    

2 Tbs. onion chopped fine    

2 Tbs. mustard    

3 Tbs. Mayonnaise   

pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate. Add more mayonnaise if needed.  Spread on crackers or make finger sandwiches. 


Couscous Salad

1 medium cucumber cut into small pieces    

1 medium onion chopped.     

1 large tomato diced      

1/4 cup vinegar          

1/4 cup water

2 - 3 Tbsp. sugar     

1 cup cooked peas     

1 4oz. jar chopped pimentos    

2 cups cooked couscous


Mix vegetables in large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine vinegar and water and pour over vegetables.  Sprinkle with sugar and stir. Allow to marinate for fifteen minutes. Mix in couscous. Serve chilled.


Chicken Pasta Salad


2 cups cooked skinless chicken, chopped or torn (get a Costco or Kroger broasted chicken, pull off two cups of chicken)    

4 cups small cooked pasta ( elbows, shells, etc.)    

3 cups small broccoli florets     

1 large red pepper cut in strips.    

1 cup peas    

1/2 cup chopped green onions.   

2 Tbsp. sesame oil    

1/4 cup wine vinegar    

2 Tbsp. honey     

2 tsp. sesame seeds    

1 tsp. minced garlic    

1 tsp. hot sauce   

1/4 tsp. salt     

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

   Combine first six ingredients and toss gently. In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients thoroughly.  Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Cover and chill before serving.