|The season of the weekend college football tailgate has arrived in|
full force in Columbus, home of The Ohio State Buckeyes
The modern concept of the football tailgate is said to date back roughly a century to the then dominant Ivy League schools, but historians and researchers have traced the tailgate’s origins to the U.S. Civil War and even to old Roman Empire rituals.
Considering my interest in things sports-, food-, and history-related, it’s really no surprise that “The Official Tailgating Cookbook” would catch my eye during a random thrift store visit. What I found inside made it worth far more than the $1 (an 80% discount over its original cover price) I forked over at the cash register.
Big Bear Stores, the publisher of "The Official Tailgating Cookbook", is generally remembered fondly by local residents. Founded by Wayne E. Brown in November 1933, this regional grocery store chain numbered around 70 stores at its peak, and was among, if not the first, to utilize innovations like conveyor belt checkout areas, computers, and even a trolley line. Its 1954 prototype store established at Columbus’s Graceland Shopping Center proved to be the blueprint for the modern grocery store.
|A neon Big Bear Store sign located at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH|
Unsurprisingly, numerous recipes from supporters to this cause can be found distributed in "The Official Tailgating Cookbook", with appropriately football-themed sections (for example, Appetizers reside in the "1st Quarter" section, while Entrees and Desserts can be found in the "Touchdown" and "Extra Point" chapters, respectively.) A fair number of these recipes come from one Smokey L. Bare, almost certainly (by my guess) a nom de plume for staff members at Big Bear.
|Smokey L. Bare's cheese spread recipe seems fairly straightforward, but the|
Orange Julius take promises more raucous times ahead
|Bi-partisanship was easier back around 1990, especially when it|
came to a worthy cause and delicious food recipes
|Pete's Steakhouse and Grill's recipe for Tomatoes Vinaigrette|
While "The Official Tailgating Cookbook" has no printed publication date that I could find, the publication year is most likely 1989-1990. Here, celebrity recipe contributors provide the major clues, mostly with Cooper himself (who started as head coach of Ohio State in 1988) and the previously mentioned Upper Arlington Mayor Mead, who served in that role from 1986-1990.
Perhaps the biggest challenge, like any new cookbook one acquires, is which recipe to start with. The nostalgic restaurant recipes, especially the extravagant-sounding "Frango Raspberry Chocolate Pecan Torte" from Marshall Field's Gourmet Torte, offer the most intrigue for me, but then again, then State Attorney General Anthony Celebrezze's Cheesecake seems just as tasty and far more simple.
Or maybe since this was a random find, perhaps closing the book and opening to a random page is the best way to go. I don't think Smokey L. Bare will mind that approach one bit.