Welcome to the September edition of Chop Talk. It’s hard to believe it but Summer is gone and soon we’ll be getting ready for Goblins, Turkey and Pumpkins! With football season here and Fall right around the corner, in Food Tips & Kitchen Tips we’re talking tailgating!! We’re also sitting down with the 1st US Masterchef winner, Whitney Miller, for some advice for this season’s contestants in this month’s Chef’s Spotlight. Whitney also provides us with a delicious Red Snapper Cevich Recipe. We’ll need something to wash it down with so we’ll be talking wine with The Wine Stash’s, Michael Stubelt, who gives us tips for what wines to have when we’re tailgating and his pick for this Autumn’s ‘must try’ wine. Last but not least it’s all about Kitchen Kapers, who’ve been “inspiring a little homemade fun in the kitchen since 1975….”
It’s that time of year sports fans….tailgating season and we’re giving you the lowdown on this annual fall tradition from it’s humble beginning right up to the modern day extravaganza’s fans now create before, during and after their favorite teams game. There are a few theories with regard to the origins of tailgating.
The first theory is that the tailgate party occurred during the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton. Apparently, spectators spent their pre-game ritual grilling sausages at the “tail end” of the horse. This theory seems a bit weak to me, but it has persisted for a long, long time. The second theory seems a little bit more plausible, as it seems logical to the human mind. The story goes that a train transported a large number of fans to a Yale football game in 1904. By the time the fans had arrived to the game, most were quite famished and, according to Peter Chakerian’s excerpt, the fans made sure to bring food and beverages to the stadium prior to the start of the game. The third is that Green Bay Packers fans coined the actual term “tailgating” during the teams first year in business in 1919. Back then, the fans would back their pickup trucks around the field and fold down their tailgates for seating. Naturally, food and beverages were brought along to keep the appetite in check. Unfortunately, says Packers team historian Cliff Christl, there isn’t evidence to support this theory, however romantic. “I don’t believe the story about Packers fans tailgating around the field is true, and we have no pictures that even prove there was tailgating at old City Stadium (the Packers home from 1925-56),” he states, adding that, like the Yale fans, he believes people would bring food and drink in their trunks, a practice that “continued at the new City Stadium.”
Today tailgating is almost a full time occupation and it’s so popular that a full 35% of the people that attend tailgate parties don’t actually attend the game. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the so-called Vols Navy dock their boats outside of Neyland Stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River and partake in a floating tailgate they call “Sailgating.” In Oxford, Mississippi, students and alumni gather at The Grove, an atmosphere likened to the pomp at the Kentucky Derby. The Sporting News called The Grove the “Holy Grail of Tailgating Sites.”
The most famous tailgating party takes place on neutral turf. Since 1933, the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs have met in Jacksonville, Florida to, ostensibly, play football. What ensues from Wednesday to Saturday, this year’s game taking place in early November, is what’s called “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party,” a term coined by a Florida Times-Union sports editor in the 1950s. The city of Jacksonville even embraced the nickname, using it as the game’s slogan until 1988, but has since ceased doing so after a series of alcohol-fueled college antics.
A tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be ‘tailgating’. Tailgate parties have spread to the pre-game festivities at sporting events besides football, such as basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball, and also occur at non-sporting events such as weddings and barbecues.
In schools and communities throughout the United States, there are athletic departments, coaches and parents of student athletes who rely on post-game tailgating parties to build community and support for their program and team. Smaller, underfunded programs are assisted by the voluntary participation of parents and friends to feed the team and coaching staff post-competition, which establishes a strong core of support year after year.
Click the link for a comprehesive guide to tailgaiting: Play by play guide to tailgating
Inspired by the hospitality of her 97 year-old great-grandmother and creativity of her mother, Whitney Miller’s passion for the art of cooking began at an early age. At twenty two, she won the show “Masterchef,” gaining the title of Fox’s 1st U. S. Masterchef. Soon afterward, Whitney obtained her degree, with an emphasis in nutrition, from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Whitney has conducted cooking demonstrations at many Home and Housewares & Food shows with celebrity chefs such as Guy Fieri and Curtis Stone, Buddy Valastro, UK’s “The Spice Prince” Reza Mahammad, and Italian Michelin Star chef Giorgio Locatelli. Her cooking demos have also been featured in the Masterchef app. As the youngest contestant and winner of Fox’s first America’s Masterchef, Whitney continues to inspire children, youth, and young adults, through cooking demos and speaking events at public and private schools, culinary classes and colleges, and children’s museum events across the United States. She has a new cookbook coming out and there’s even talk of a new cooking show. We caught up with her during a vacation break to get her take on this season’s Masterchef contestants and what’s happening for her now.
Chop Talk: So tell us about great-grandma and mom and their influence on your career….
WM: My mom I learned creativity of cooking…she had us in the kitchen from when we were little. Everything from scratch. From my great-grandmother I learned authentic Southern basics, from biscuits to how to make a roux to good gumbo. She taught me hospitality and how to feed a crowd. We had huge Sunday dinners at her house every Sunday after church. 30 people. I learned the skills of hospitality watching those great women cook and I decided I wanted to cook for a living. I saw how my grandma’s cooking made people feel happy, and I wanted to emulate that.
Chop Talk: So how did Masterchef happen?
WM: I was in college and I saw online that Masterchef was having auditions in New Orleans. When I got chosen, I had no idea who Gordon Ramsay was, so I went back and watched his shows and thought, ‘Oh no, what have I got myself in for?’
Chop Talk: Do you have any advice that you can pass along to this year’s or future year’s contestants?
WM: For me what really helped was my background in pastry and desserts. I see the same thing happen now, that happened in my season. When it comes to desserts those that are comfortable seem to have a better chance than those that are intimidated by pastry. Come knowing what you want to make as well. Have recipe’s down cold.
Chop Talk: How did winning Masterchef change things for you?
WM: First let’s talk the cookbook…they gave me four months. I grew up watching my grandma and a pinch of this pinch of that, we didn’t measure anything. so that was an experience. I got to travel to four different countries after I won. Experiencing different cultures. Being in those kitchens was an education for me as well. and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to cook for so may people and introduce them to real Southern cooking.
Chop Talk: So what’s coming up for Whitney Miller?
WM: I continue to do recipe developing for a number of publications. Guest blogging, writing for a few magazines my second cookbook is being released October 27th, 2015 called Whitney Miller’s Southern Table. I have a cooking show in the works, so that is a bit exciting as well.
Chop Talk : You use Ergo Knives…
WM: I do. They are my everyday knives. I love them. They are so easy to use. I have my roll kit and they go everywhere with me. Just the ease and the use of them, knowing that it’s gonna help prevent damage to my wrists in the long run is why I’m using them for the rest of my life.
You can find out more about Whitney on her website here: whitneymiller.net Whitney develops recipes, gives lectures, cooking demonstrations and cooking classes, and also can be booked to judge or MC awards events and benefits. She can tailor an appearance to suit your needs. To book Whitney Miller, contact Mary Miller by phone 601-795-3883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Snapper Ceviche by
1/2 pound skinless red snapper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup julienned jicama
7 grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
fine sea salt
Homemade or store bought Corn Tortilla chips
Slice the red snapper into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the cubed snapper in a shallow container or bowl. Pour the lime juice over the top to almost cover the snapper. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Add the jicama, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño to the snapper. Lightly toss to combine.Season the ceviche with salt to taste. Serve immediately with the chips.
Wine Tips with Michael Stubelt of The Wine Stash
He arrived in Northern California (by way of the east coast) in 1995 and he’s been appreciating Napa Valley wine and terroir ever since. Growing up enjoying wines from across the pond, he was deeply influenced by French styles with subtle notes. If there is one thing that most French wines have in common, it is that most styles are meant to accompany food. The pairing of the two is a love that Michael and his wife Coleen (a talented culinarian) both share. Michael’s philosophy remains in this tone; to let the grapes and the land dictate the direction of the varietal.
He does not limit himself to one region or style but truly appreciates the diversity that each bring. This opens the door for a wide-ranging culinary adventure. It’s a rough life…but someone needs to do it. By sharing his deep passion and first-hand knowledge Michael creates lasting memories and friendships – one glass at a time. With its first vintage in 2007 “The Wine Stash” was formed by a group of friends with one common interest, to make and share great hand crafted wines with friends and family. Today the list of friends and family have certainly grown but the partner’s philosophy is still the same. They locate small farmers and producers bringing hand crafted wines to the growing list of “Stash” followers.
Chop Talk: So Michael, what wine should we be bringing when we’re tailgating?
MS: Start with light and crisp before the food. Something that wakes up your palette. Then, with meats and the types of spicy foods like chili, you want to keep it crisp, not too much alcohol content. Some of the more hearty rose’s for example pair well with whatever’s coming off the grill and still has a lighter touch. .
Chop Talk: With Fall coming , so also comes the list of the traditional ‘Fall’ wines. Can you give us something outside the mainstream thinking that makes a nice fall wine?
MS: Find a single varietal of a grape that is normally used in blending. It’s worth it to try different wines like this to see the subtle differences. Cab Franc for instance. This season through the Holidays. It’s a soft and subtle wine, but has a lot of character. It’s very inviting to a wide variety of people because it has less astringency, it goes great with the cuisine this time of year. It’s usually used as a blend to soften say, a Cabernet’s, but on it’s own it’s great, hint of cranberries, subtle little fruit notes.
Chop Talk: Tell us about The Wine Stash
MS: Everything we do is from Napa. so we have relationships with growers and producers in each district and the Valley really determines what wines we’ll be making. We’re located in Yountville and we seem to like varieties that are mountain/hillside grown, the complexities, a bit stressed. Something about the thicker skin, smaller more compact fruit.
The Wine Stash
“The Wine Stash® is dedicated to crafting wines in small batches for friends and family. After 5 years we have produced some exciting and exceptional wines and as one can imagine we have a bunch of new friends.
All of our grapes are grown on family vineyards that in many cases are just a few select acres. We are very selective about the vineyards and how the fruit is harvested. In some cases the Wine Stash® team even goes out into the vineyard and will pick the grapes ourselves. We implement a gentle gravity flow system that allows us to reduce “bottle shock” so the wine goes directly from barrel to bottle. We produce some very small, select lots which will occasionally be hand crafted and labeled as well as now with production increasing we utilize a boutique bottling line to bring you the very best wines with the teams personal touch. Thanks for your support, sharing and allowing us to bring some of our wines to your dinner table.”
In addition to the retail establishments listed on their site, The Wine Stash can ship wine to all states that allow direct to consumer commerce. Click here for details: Where to Buy
Gourmet Store Spotlight
A National Retailer with Local Roots, Kitchen Kapers has been Inspiring A Little Homemade Fun Since 1975. The seed was planted in 1975 when they opened their first store in Voorhees, New Jersey. Over the years they’ve carefully expanded their business and have been serving neighborhoods and communities all across the Greater Philadelphia Region with 10 retail stores from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey. The secret for Kitchen Kapers continued success is rooted in offering customers value, selection and quality, combined with fast, friendly and knowledgeable service. The web, along with our mail order business, gave us the opportunity to serve neighborhoods and communities well beyond the Mid-Atlantic. Casual cooks and serious chefs throughout the United States have come to depend on them for the latest cooking and baking innovations along with a great selection of gourmet cookware, bakeware, kitchen knives and the hottest kitchen gadgets. And, of course their passion for good food and cooking with family and friends.
The Moorestown, New Jersey store located in East Gate Square features the Cooking School. Classes range from Cooking for Kids, Couples 5-star Cooking, to Girl’s Night Out Classes and Private Birthday Parties. ”
Visit thier website here: http://www.kitchenkapers.com/