Life's Little Moments - the Big Game!
Oct. 10, 2013 2:17 pm
Updated: Oct. 11, 2013 10:02 am
“Football’s religion in the South and Saturday is the high holy day.” My mother said this jokingly on numerous Saturdays growing up and while she said it flippantly, many Southern football fans are pretty stringent on their following
of this particular observance.
I grew up in a family full of Tennessee Volunteer fans. Each Saturday, we’d rush to get our “outside” work done so we could work inside while the game played on our tiny kitchen television. Most weeks found my mother peeling and cutting apples into a bowl
for an awaiting apple pie. We would pull these pies out, still steaming, and parcel them into waiting bowls and top them with melted, gooey cheddar cheese. Most weeks also found me at the side of the bowl grabbing apple slices when my mom turned her back
to check the score of the game (this activity was easier and much less dangerous when Tennessee was in the lead.) Regardless, my family has several stories revolving around our football obsession that will no doubt make an appearance at our annual Thanksgiving
feast, around the Christmas tree, or any table around which we all are gathered…and here are just a couple.
I grew up on a farm and one of my childhood “activities” was raising cattle each year. I’d get three calves to bottle-feed and raise them until they were ready to sell. My inaugural heifer, Beauty, was a great cow but also extremely ninja-like when it came
to getting out of the fence (usually at the most inappropriate times or in middle of massive thunderstorms.) One day, while happily watching the Alabama Crimson Tide play at Neyland Stadium I thought my eyes were betraying me because I saw a large, four-footed
creature pass right in front of the window. Jumping up and running into the front yard only confirmed my fears that Beauty had, once again, gotten out of the fence. And, in usual fashion, it was at the most inopportune time as Tennessee finally gained control
of the football and a possible, game-tying score was laying in wait. I, of course, screamed at the top of my lungs, “Y’all! The cows are out again!” and ran to don my cow-chasing garments (overshoes and a large stick.) My mother was none-too-happy with
Beauty’s shenanigans that day and her chagrin only worsened when we found out that we had missed a Tennessee victory while we were running through brambles and mud chasing a cow that had no intentions of going back into her rightful field easily.
Long story short? We had some very tasty pot roasts that winter.
Our other “gotta tell it every year because it makes us laugh and my mother blush” story begins with yet another Tennessee game. The dish in question was blueberry muffins and the game in question featured the Georgia Bulldogs. A gorgeous fall day had fallen
upon Tennessee – we had the windows open, the cats were lazily strolling around our ankles, and the aroma of muffins filled our kitchen as John Ward, famed Vols announcer, lead us through Tennessee’s drive downfield. As a timer dinged to let us know that
the aroma-emitting muffins were finally ready, my mother turned to take the glorious goodies out of the oven. Unfortunately, it was at this exact moment that a Tennessee running back broke out in a mad rush towards the Georgia end zone. As John Ward proudly
proclaimed, “Give ‘em six!” my mother starting jumping up and down out of sheer elation at an absolute glorious display of Volunteer athleticism. The problem? She still held the muffin pan in her hands, which lead to a glorious display of muffins flying
through the air and on to the floor (much to my mother’s disappointment and our cats’ enjoyment.) We still like to yell “Give ‘em six!” as my mother pulls something out of the oven and my mother still likes to flash a sheepish grin as we do.
I only say this to convey why football and food will forever be intrinsically linked in my mind. While I make sure we don’t serve any muffins while we’re playing the part of the 12th player, I always make sure we have plenty of tasty munchies to
snack on while we win (or lose) and yes, hamburgers ARE often a part of those celebrations. Go Vols!