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Gameday feast: Tailgating is an art form for Mississippi football fans

Food, friends and fun are tailgating words in Mississippi, and no matter what school they support, Vicksburg residents know how to have a winning spread.

For locals it might be interesting to note that it is believed the tailgating tradition began at the onset of the Civil War.

In 1861, people made their way to Washington D.C. to witness the first Battle of Bull Run. These onlookers came out to support their side of the conflict and brought with them baskets of food.

Thankfully, today’s clashes are battled out in four quarters, but the fodder remains.

Donna Halford has been tailgating with her group of family and friends at the University of Mississippi for more than 20 years.

“At Ole Miss we refer to it as ‘groving’ instead of tailgating, because most people set up in and around the Grove which is in the middle of campus,” Halford said.

Tailgating at Ole Miss can range from simple tents and food to catered meals and chandeliers.

At Mississippi State University, it can get rowdy when the cowbells start ringing. Denise Franco and Jennifer Jackson have been part of the tailgate excitement since 2007, and now three generations of their families are represented on game days. During these gatherings, Franco said tailgating festivities have also included a gender reveal party, and one year they had a seated Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.

At Alcorn State University, Daryl Collins described tailgating at the Reservation like a family reunion.

“All your old friends who have moved off to other states come back for games and bring their families,” Collins said.

Collins said he has been tailgating for 25 years, and for the past five has been cooking for the Alcorn A-Club, which includes more than 500 members.

The Heggins family has taken tailgating to the next level donning a golf cart decked out in black and gold. It even has the school’s mascot, the Golden Eagle, showcased on both sides of the vehicle.   

“Our family was one of the first to start bringing golf carts to campus for game days,” John Heggins said, “and when it is time for the game, we pull straight up to the stadium and go in to watch the game.”

No matter your team affiliation, tailgating is all about the food. Whether on campus or watching the big game at home enjoy these favorites submitted from locals.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Cheesy Football

42 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

42 jars dried beef, finely chopped

41 teaspoon minced onion

4Capful of Worcestershire Sauce

4Dash of Accent

4Pecans, chopped

4Club Crackers, Sociables, or Wheat Thins

Mix cream cheese, beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce and Accent in a large mixing bowl. Shape into a football and cover with chopped pecans. For fun, use cream cheese to make the football laces. Put in covered container and chill for at least an hour. Best if chilled overnight. Serve with crackers.

Shrimp Party Sandwiches

41 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

4½ cup mayonnaise

42 4-ounce cans shrimp, drained and chopped

41 tablespoon onion, grated

41 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

4Dash of Tabasco Sauce

42 loafs of white bread

Mix well cream cheese and mayonnaise. Add shrimp and mix. Add onion, lemon juice, and Tabasco. Mix well and refrigerate. Best if refrigerated overnight. Allow mix to soften before spreading on bread and then use a football shaped cutter to make sandwiches. If not serving immediately, layer with damp paper towels between sandwiches, cover and refrigerate.

Fall Ball Apple Cider Punch

41 gallon apple cider

41 46-ounce can pineapple juice

41 46-ounce can orange juice

4½ gallon cranberry juice

4½ liter ginger ale

41 orange, sliced

Mix apple cider, pineapple juice, orange juice and cranberry juice. Chill. Just before serving, add ginger ale. May be frozen and served slushy. Makes 36 (8oz.) servings.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Decorated Sugar Cookies

4 1 cup salted butter softened

4 1 cup sugar

4 2 eggs

4 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 3¼ cups all-purpose flour

4 2 teaspoons baking powder

4 ½ teaspoon salt

In electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time.

Beat in vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture one cup at a time to butter mixture. Batter will be thick. Cover and chill several hours until firm. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Work with a small amount of dough at a time to keep dough from becoming too soft. Bake at 350 degrees on parchment line cookie sheets 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Dough will keep in refrigerator for a week.

Icing

4 1 cup powdered sugar

4 3 teaspoons milk

4 2 teaspoons light Karo syrup

4 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients until smooth and decorate cookies.

Feta Pimento Cheese Spread

4 1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

4 ½ crumbled feta cheese

4 ¼ chopped pecans

4 ¼ diced pimiento

4 ¾ cup mayonnaise

4 3 green onions, finely chopped

4 ½ teaspoon garlic powder

4 1/8-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill.

Chicken Dip

4 2 cups shredded chicken breast (can use canned)

4 8 ounce cream cheese, softened

4 ½ cup mayonnaise (or to taste)

4 1 package dry ranch mix

4 1 cup shredded cheese

Mix all ingredients and serve with crackers.

Shrimp Appetizer

Make a day ahead-Serves 12

4 6 pounds raw shrimp in shell

4 2 bay leaves

4 1 tablespoon celery seed

4 ½ cup salt

4 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Marinade

4 2 cups oil

4 ½ cup catsup

4 3 tablespoons lemon juice

4 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

4 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

4 1 5-ounce jar fresh horseradish

4 1 5-ounce jar hot creole mustard

4 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions

4 Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, place shrimp, cover with water. Add bay leaves, celery seed, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Drain and peel. Combine remaining ingredients. Add shrimp. Cover and refrigerate. Serve on lettuce line bowl with party picks or crackers. Drain most of marinade off before serving.

Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders

Ingredients

4 16 Hawaiian rolls, cut in half

4 24 slices Honey Ham

4 16 slices Swiss cheese

4 ¼ cup Mayonnaise

4 1 ½ tablespoon Dijon Mustard

4 8 tablespoons butter, melted

4 1 teaspoon onion powder

4 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

4 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

4 ¼ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet place bottom half of dinner rolls and top with 1½ slices of ham and 1 slice of Swiss cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise on each top-half of roll and place on top of ham and cheese. You want the rolls to be snug together, kissing just a bit so the sauce can soak up into all of the nooks and crannies. In a small bowl combine the mustard, melted butter, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and brown sugar. Mix until combined and evenly pour over the assembled rolls. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake covered with foil for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the tops are browned and cheese is good and melted.

Ole Miss

Pasta Deli Salad

4 1 16-ounce package tri-color pasta

4 1 8-ounce bottle Italian-style salad dressing

4 ½ pound hard salami, cubed

4 ½ pound provolone cheese, cubed

4 2 small red onion, diced (optional)

4 1 cup diced green bell pepper

4 1 cup diced red bell pepper

4 ¼  cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 1 stick pepperoni, chopped

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in boiling water, until the pasta had cooked through but is still firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain. Combine the pasta and the Italian dressing in a large bowl Add the salami, provolone, red onions, bell peppers, Parmesan and pepperoni. Stir until well combined. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Creamy Potato Salad

4 2 ½ pounds red potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks

4 6-7 slices center cut bacon, cooked, then chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons of the grease)

4 ¾ cup mayonnaise

4 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

4 2 dill pickles, finely chopped (about ½ cup)

4 1 clove garlic, crushed with a press

4 ½ teaspoon sugar

4 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

4 2 cups fresh corn kernels (3 ears)

4 2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large pot, combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover. Cook partially covered, 10-12 minutes, or until very tender. Meanwhile in a 12-inch skillet, cook bacon on medium for 10 minutes or until crisp or bake in oven until crisp. Transfer to plate until cool. Using 2 Tablespoons of the back grease mix along with mayonnaise, mustard, garlic and pickles. Add 1 teaspoon more salt. Whisk to combine. Drain potatoes well and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut into 1-inch chunks, then pour mayonnaise mixture over. Cool completely before folding in bacon, celery, corn green onions and pickles. Can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

Cilantro Dipping Sauce

4 2 cups cilantro, including stem

4 4 garlic cloves

4 4 Serrano chili peppers, seeded

4 1 cup fresh parsley

4 1 cup almonds

4 ½ teaspoon salt

4 ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

4 ½ cup olive oil

4 ½ cup water

Combine cilantro, garlic, chili peppers, parsley, almonds and salt in a food processor. Process until chopped. With the processor running, add lime juice and olive oil through the feed tube until the sauce is smooth, stopping the processor as needed to scrape down the sides. Pour dipping sauce into a bowl, stir in water, cover, and chill until ready to serve.

Pecan Pie Muffins

4 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 1 cup chopped pecans

4 ½ cup all-purpose flour

4 ½ teaspoon baking powder

4 ¼ teaspoon salt

4 ½ cup butter, melted

4 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 1 teaspoon. vanilla extract

4 Vegetable cooking spray

4 ½ cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in center of mixture. Stir together butter and next 2 ingredients. Add to brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened. Coat 2 (12 cup) miniature muffin pans well with cooking spray. Place 1teaspoon finely chopped pecans in each muffin cup. Spoon the batter over pecans, filling almost to top. Place muffin pans on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 2 minutes. Run a knife around edge of each cup to loosen muffins, and remove.

Makes: 2 dozen.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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