Ah, the tailgate — a preparation of the mind, body and soul for receiving the gift of football. Prior to every game this fall, WRNL will bring you a "Tailgate Preview." We promise to focus very little on the opponent or football in general and instead turn our efforts to how to get the most out of your tailgating experience. After all, it's common knowledge that Iowa State is more known for tailgating as opposed to its football prowess.
Any Cyclone fan worth their well-worn Seneca Wallace jersey knows that game day is incomplete without the feasting, drinking and camaraderie of the tailgate event. In this recurring article we'll highlight the weather, a drink, a dish and something to keep you busy between sips. So sit back, pop a top or crack a bottle, and let your preparations for the weekend's tailgate begin.
Weather: Cool and Cloudy
While I feel like the Cyclones have been blessed with good football weather thus far (aside from last week's monsoon in Waco), that trend may not continue going forward. It's almost November, you see, and cold weather goes with November the way Thanksgiving Dinner goes with wearing pants with an elastic waistband. Never fear, however, as the weather for Saturday won't be too bad, with a high of 58 degrees and a slight chance of rain in the morning. Friday night (which is the Homecoming pep rally that you all should go to) is shaping up to be a beautiful October night as well.
Drink: Apple Pie
No matter how over fall you may be, one can't deny that the whole pumpkin patch-apple orchard-corn maze thing is really pretty fun. Okay, maybe not fun per say, but it comes with the territory. It's fall, so you're supposed to do these things. Of the many foods fall brings, which is basically just everything pumpkin-flavored, apple cider is one of the best. Why not use it for your tailgate?
Apple Pie, besides being one of the most delicious and American foods on the planet, can also be a pretty powerful drink. And no, I'm not talking about liquefying apple pie by tossing it in the blender. This kind of apple pie requires no peeling, no baking, and unfortunately isn't made with grandma's love mixed in. I guess you could always invite her over to help make it.. Normal people do things like that, right?
Moving on. All you need to make a delicious yet powerful drink to lug around a frosty tailgate lot is sugar, apple juice/cider, cinnamon sticks, and plenty of grain alcohol. That last ingredient is really going to determine how your Saturday goes. Go with some low-key/low-proof alcohol if you want to have a nice, casual afternoon. If you're like most Iowa State fans, and remember that we're 2-5 with no offensive coordinator, a new quarterback and a walk-on kicker, you're probably gonna want to go with some 190 proof Everclear. Or you could use paint thinner, I suppose..
If you decide to use Everclear, here's a word of advice: before wandering off with a mason jar of that napalm-like drink, be sure to notify all friends/relatives/neighbors/significant others/random strangers that you're going for a stroll. Or give them your phone number and tell them to check in on you as the afternoon drags on. Chances are, you're going to have a very short and blurry afternoon.
Here's a quick and easy recipe to guide you through the process of whipping up some apple pie. If this seems like too much work (first world problems), you can find some variation of apple pie at your nearest liquor store.
If you'd like a real drink recommendation, check out our Texas game preview, where KnowDan gets to do what he does best: be a beer snob (love you, KnowDan).
What better to warm you up on a chilly October afternoon than a big 'ol bowl of chili. Chili has been a tailgating staple for years, and for good reason: not only does it warm you up and "stick to your bones", but it's the perfect fuel for a rowdy afternoon of tailgate debauchery. And here at Iowa State, we know our debauchery.
There's a thousand different ways to make chili: sweet, mild, spicy, chunky, cheesy, beany (is that a word?), etc. Essentially, you're only limited by your own creativity! No matter how you decide to prepare it, making chili requires some time. Fortunately, with the game not starting until 6:00 p.m., time is exactly what you've got.
Here's a few classic recipes to get you started: Boilermaker Chili (I know they're in the Big 10, but it looks tasty alright?), Best Damn Chili, and Jamie's Award Winning Chili. Or, if those first world problems really got you down, you could skip the work and pick up some from the store.
College students, don't worry about cooking it. You'd probably just end up asking every neighbor on your street for ingredients because the only cooking spices you have are Lawry's, salt (pepper isn't needed for tequila), and Tabasco. Instead, save your precious time and money and go the college student route:
Its time I give some love to one of the absolute mainstays of tailgates across the country: bags. Though it goes by many other names (like corn hole, tailgate toss, dadhole, dummy boards, and Baggo), everyone knows and understands this game. Unless you've never been to a tailgate. In that case, go away you troll.
The concept of bags is simple: you throw bags filled with (what are they actually filled with?) stuff into a board with a hole in it. If it stays on the board, you get a point. If it goes in, you get three points. There are some other rules of course, but you get the general idea: it's a simple game. That simplicity makes it perfect for a tailgate, as most people who play it can't muster much brain power due to the copious amounts of alcohol coursing through their blood.
Here are the actual rules according to the American Cornhole Association (yes that's a real thing). The entire game set can either be homemade, which is probably the best way, or can be purchased from your local sporting goods store/Walmart. Either way, the game is an all-time tailgating classic, and is one that you should probably be playing Saturday afternoon.
Also, how cool are these babies:
To sum it all up, you had better make the drive to Ames for this Saturday's Homecoming match-up. There'll be Homecoming festivities, nice fall weather, and a football team with a little momentum and plenty of personnel changes.
And booze. Heavens, will there ever be booze.
We obviously aren't fans of Cyclone football for a winning tradition. The reason we all make the trek to Ames season after season is for the friends, family and fun that comes with football each fall. The best way to celebrate this gathering of friends, family and complete strangers (who just happen to be fellow Cyclone fans) is to tailgate.
Let the party begin!
PSA: WRNL has a tailgate in lot G7, and you're welcome to stop by! We'll have a breathalyzer, plenty of booze and of course your favorite writers from this fine website!