The Southern Tailgating Cookbook

Taylor Mathis has put together a terrific book on tailgating in the South. I had the pleasure of meeting upbeat Taylor at last year’s Food Blog South, and I’m very happy to see that his new book’s been published.

Yes, it’s focused on tailgating at games across the South, but I’ve found Mathis’ recipes perfect for entertaining at home or The-Southern-Tailgating-Cookbookpicnicking. Many are ideal for the big square basket I keep in my pantry ready to fill with fun linens and dinner makings for friends who need a little break or boost.

Mathis is a food and lifestyle photographer and author of the blog, Taylor Takes a Taste. Taylor spent quite a bit of time going to games throughout the South, studying traditions: favorite tailgate-ready recipes, traditional outfits, foods colored to reflect a favorite team, or eaten in effigy (Fried Frog Legs [pgs 141-142] eaten by Texas Christian University Horned Frog opponents) . His mother, who has a background in catering, helped test all the recipes in the book while Taylor took all the photos for the book, including the cover.

If you’re like me and like a lot of detailed color photos showing how a recipe should look when done right, there are plenty in this cookbook.

If you’d like to get your copy (Available at UNC Press/$30) signed, Taylor will be holding a book signing Saturday, November 30, 2013 at University of South Carolina Bookstore, Russell House, 1400 Greene St, Columbia, SC.

Here’s a fun, fresh take on Salsa:

Granny Smith Apple Salsa

When you think of salsa, is pico de gallo the first kind that comes to mind? This combination of tomatoes, onions, and peppers works as an appetizer with chips or as a condiment for tacos and burgers. If you’re looking for a salsa that’s a little different from what you’re used to, try this one. It’s more tart than what you’ll find at most tailgates because of the Granny Smith apples in it.

Makes about 7 cups

Granny Smith Apple Salsa• 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
• 1 1⁄2 cups diced Granny Smith apples
• 5 cups seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes, drained on paper towels
• 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
• 1 cup chopped yellow onions
• 3⁄4 cup seeded and diced poblano peppers
• 1⁄4 cup seeded and finely diced jalapeño peppers
• 1⁄2 cup chopped shallots
• 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1⁄4 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper

As soon as you’ve diced the apples, place them with the lime juice in a medium-sized bowl and stir.

In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the apples and lime juice until all ingredients are evenly mixed together. Store in a sealable container and refrigerate overnight. On game day, keep in a cooler until ready to serve. Stir again before serving.

From THE SOUTHERN TAILGATING COOKBOOK: A GAME-DAY GUIDE FOR LOVERS OF FOOD, FOOTBALL, AND THE SOUTH by Taylor Mathis. Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

More from the release:

Taylor MathisAccording to tailgating enthusiast Taylor Mathis, “You’ll understand why a game day in the South is unlike any other” when you read his cookbook, The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South.

Mathis is a food and lifestyle photographer who pursued his love of college athletics by visiting various colleges and universities in the South to learn about their favorite tailgate specialties and game-day traditions.

He spent two and a half seasons traveling to 35 different college games and stadiums across the country throughout 12 different Southern states.

“From these tours, I was able to see what tailgaters were eating, what kinds of foods worked best for tailgating, and experience the traditions and atmospheres that make tailgating a fall pastime unlike any other,” Mathis said.

Featuring 110 vibrant recipes inspired by his travels, The Southern Tailgating Cookbook is chock-full of Southern football culture, colorful photographs of delectable dishes, and essential preparation instructions.

Mathis worked with his mother, Sally James, to develop and test recipes such as Chicken-Sweet Potato Kabobs, Zesty Arugula and Kale Salad, and Deep Fried Cookie Dough—something to satisfy every fan’s taste buds.

“All of the recipes that are cooked outside were tested in her backyard and the images were shot in a studio that I set up in her garage,” Mathis said. “Working with my mom on the recipes in The Southern Tailgating Cookbook was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

Mathis also includes day-before checklists, advice on packing for a tailgate, food safety information, and much more in his cookbook to help readers prepare for a game.

“Tailgating is a form of on-location catering.” he said. “With this comes the challenge of adapting to weather conditions and cooking on-site. You have no control over what the weather will be like, but you can plan your menu around the expected weather conditions.”

He recommends that fans make tailgating dishes that are portable, accessible, and easy for people to eat. The dishes should be able to sit out for a few hours or be quickly made to order depending on the circumstances.

“The most important aspect of any dish is that it is fun,” he said. “Tailgating is a time when you join with friends and family to celebrate your team.”

Fans can also use Mathis’s cookbook to learn about various schools’ traditions and tailgating cultures.

“Every team has its own colors, chants, songs, and traditions that are unique to them,” he said.

“At every campus I visited I was able to witness and partake in the clothing and greetings that are a part of their game day tradition. Fans wearing bowties or sundresses with high heels are something you won’t see in areas outside of the South, for example.”

His entertaining rundowns on unique southern football traditions—from fans’ game-day attire and hand signals to the music of the marching bands—are sure to lift both seasoned and novice tailgaters to greater heights of tailgate pleasure.

According to Mathis anyone can tailgate. “Tailgating is an activity for all ages, from nine months to ninety-nine years, and it appeals to anyone who loves great food, being around loved ones, and supporting his or her team.”

Mathis will be signing books and speaking at various bookstores, festivals, and college campuses across the South. Keep up with Mathis’s tour and adventures by following his blog, Taylor Takes a Taste.

“I hope this book leaves you inspired for your next tailgate, backyard barbecue, family reunion, or any other event you’re hosting.” Mathis said. “Remember, you can’t control how your team performs on the field. All you can do is throw the best pregame celebration possible.”