It’s almost here! You can feel the excitement! Tailgating season is upon us. With the season comes crisp fall air, gadgets and games, friends, gatherings and new delights on the grill. Get ready for the season with a few simple tips to make sure you make the best of it.
1. LOOK MA, NO HANDS!
Cheering on your fav team but not willing to give up the divine dining at your tailgate party? Go hands free. Food, plates, utensils, bottles or cups, they all take some balancing because rarely does a tailgate party involve a picnic table or outdoor patio set. If the weather is colder you may even be wearing gloves or mittens. Sure you may be able to hold a plate and feed yourself with the other, but now what about that all important beverage?
Invest in disposable or plastic plates that have a crevice or hole to pop in a cup. Can’t find them? Make your own. Grab a shot glass, trace a circle out into the middle of the plate (just press into a foam plate, no need to trace, you can pop it out) and cut out the circle by first inserting a knife at its midpoint and clive eight spokes like wheel out to the edge of that circle. Try a beer bottle under it by poking the bottle neck up through the spoked circle. the plate should rest nicely. Just overdo what you put on the plate so it tips. Use sporks, a combination of spoon and fork so there’s less cutlery to juggle. And of course, finger food are even better, no cutlery just delicious tailgate fair to your hearts content.
2. I GOT THE MUSIC IN ME
Everyone has an MP3 player. Portable speakers are cheap and getting a party playlist together will keep the party hopping. Remember, a party without tunes isn’t really a party! If you don’t have an MP3 player a radio will serve two purposes. If you’re in the back yard, or out in the parking lot, it will help you keep track of the game without having to go inside or having to leave the tailgating area.
3. I SEE YOUR TRUE COLOURS SHINING THROUGH
Get into team spirit! Napkins, table cloths, plastic utensils, cutlery, celebrate your teams colours and get into the game. Your local party store is a gold mine for every imaginable party item in every colour.
4. COMFY AS AN OLD PAIR OF SLIPPERS
our priority is comfort so you can enjoy the game. The weatherman isn’t always right. but then again, he isn’t always wrong either. Hope for a sunny crisp day but prepare for inclement weather. Keep in mind those team colours but be prepared with blankets and or towels, something to offer shade, umbrellas and even mitts if its the colder season. If it’s hot, fill that water cooler with ice or if it’s cold fill that thermos with soup or something warm. If you can, bring a tent or canopy for shade and protection from the elements. You might even be able to find one in your team colours or you can paint their logo on a white tent! Chairs and a place to sit and relax or eat the meal on your lap will help make your guests feel more at home.
Don’t forget sunscreen, bug spray, hand and feet warming packs.
5. HOT! HOT! HOT!
Food safety first! Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. That means chills, sausages etc need to be wrapped in foils and warming trays used or keep the slow cooker on low. Towels wrapped around the hot containers also help to maintain temperature.Keeping lettuce crispy and vegetables from going limp can also be a challenge. Keep them wrapped and avoid wiling by wrapping frozen gel packs with aluminum fill and layering them between vegetables. Use the same trick to keep potato salad, coleslaw and condiments at the right temperature as well. If warmers and coolers present a problem, keep it simple and serve room temperature foods such as dips, sandwiches and easy to eat snacks.
6. NO MORE SAME OLD SAME OLD
Expand that menu. Baked beans are good, but not every party. Try some rolled pitas or flatbreads stuffed with favs like pulled chicken or pork or chilli or even sausage and sauerkraut and wrapped with foil on the outside to prevent drips and spills. Add your condiments like mustard and sour cream just before serving or have them ready on the serving tray and people will be pleased with something new. Dessert too much to manage because it means more cutlery and plates? Nothing says I love my team more than team themed cupcakes. Take peanut butter cups and top them with your team colours from smarties and other candies. Try cookies, squares, or even fruit combined in small ready to serve cups.
7. BABY GOT GAME!
Games are an important part of any good tailgating party. Keep everyone entertained with activities like cornhole. The best part about games is that often they bring together people that don’t know each other very well and help them socialize more easily and takes the pressure of the host for trying to keep the level of fun up.