What’s in your bowl?

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I’m not going to lie. I don’t really care how the Razorbacks finished the 2012 college football season, except in the most abstract, humanitarian, I-feel-your-pain-but-not-really kind of way. If anything, I kind of enjoyed the serenity of resignation. Things get a little jittery around our house when my Hogs-crazed husband gets his hopes up. Despair is much calmer.

I am, however, mildly disappointed that we didn’t get a bowl game. I may not love football, but I love a good bowl party menu. So I sent a few local friends and colleagues the following poll to learn whether they would be celebrating bowl season.

  1. Where do your household’s college bowl allegiances lie? If your answer is “Razorbacks,” go directly to C.
  2. Will you be watching a bowl game with friends or family? Where? What food and drinks do you like to serve (and consume) on game day?
  3. Hogs fans only: Are you planning an emotional eating party for yourself or friends? What will you serve?
  4. Mind sharing a favorite game day recipe?

I was actually fishing for party invitations, but none of them took the bait. Instead they sent these answers:

Sarabeth Jones, blogger, TheDramatic.com:

Our house is a house divided; by that I mean that my husband cares intensely about all things football, while I wouldn’t even know it was bowl season except for the parties. So he’ll be rooting for our alma mater, Baylor, in whatever bowl they happen to be playing in. I’ll be over here enjoying the party snacks!

I would have to say that all eating parties at the Jones house are emotional in one way or another; let’s not limit it to the Razorbacks. While we love food and beverages of all types, a consistent favorite is fresh mexican food and margaritas.  I just made a mexican shrimp cocktail for the first time and now I am desperately in love. It goes fabulously well with a fizzy margarita punch – both recipes are right here.

Stephanie McCratic, blogger, EvolvedMommy.com:

When Arkansas is in a bowl game we watch and cheer with the passion of lifelong, avid football fans. When Arkansas is not in a bowl we don’t watch any of them. At all. Because we don’t really watch football in real life unless everyone else is and we just want to join the party. Really, we just love a good party.

No matter the season or the occasion my contribution to a get-together is always my semi-homemade guacamole. How’s it made: buy the refrigerated pre-assembled pico de gallo in the produce case at your grocery store and four avocados. Mix well. Voila. If it’s just us at home I eat it with a spoon and save the calories from the chips. When I need to pretend to be civilized I use chips.

Jeff Reed of Sporting Life Arkansas:

(Jeff had no comment on the games, but sent this minimalist, manly  recipe for “Simple Chili,” along with an exciting variation)

2 lbs ground beef.
2 cans tomato sauce
1 pkg French’s chili mix

I have gotten really exotic and put bacon in it.

Lona Peterson, Runner and Amateur Foodie:

We are a house divided. I’m a life long Oregon Ducks fan and the hubs is a life-long Longhorn fan. Hogs who? We usually have friends over to our home. We throw a few racks of ribs on the grill, a pot of beans on the stove, and consume a moderate amount of Shiner beer.

Doc Harper, of Arkansas ExpatsCollege Football News and Sporting Life Arkansas:

We’ll be watching most of the SEC games at home or perhaps go to a bar for some. In past years we’ve gone to someone’s house to watch the championship game. We usually don’t do anything too fancy for food and drinks. Beer, bourbon, and cokes on the drink menu. Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, wings, all sorts of appetizers. General rule of thumb is that the food must be hot (exceptions made for those little sliced deli rolls that are always a hit) and the drinks must be cold, so having a lot of ice on hand is important. But if there is barbecue, it absolutely must be competition level quality.  Life’s too short for mediocre smoked meat.

College football in general is an emotional eating party for me and my friends. We won’t have some sort of wake to remember the 2012 Razorbacks. That’s in the past. We’re content with enjoying the bowl games we have and looking forward to 2013.

Over to you, Sporting Life Arkansans: Are you watching bowl games? Got a great recipe for the rest of us to try next year?

Kyran Pittman is the author of Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life. She is a frequent contributor to Good Housekeeping magazine, and continues to chronicle her semi-domesticated life at Planting Dandelions.com.

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