I find the close of football season bittersweet- bitter because I will miss the all of the weekend games and sweet because March madness is around the corner! Those of you who know me are well aware of my love for sports- especially football. It never ceases to amaze people that I love it and am much more interested in football than my husband or my brother- they'd much rather be in the woods chasing after that "trophy buck." In fact this year, Ansley would watch a game with us on Saturday and yell "Go boy, go...get ball...yay!"
My family would tell you that I get my love for sports honestly- from my precious grandmother, MaMaw. Our beloved MaMaw would sleep late in the morning so that she could watch every game covered by the satellite...she would watch them from the East to West Coast never missing a beat. Her enthusiasm for the game was contagious. Not only was she a loyal fan of the team(MSU always- no matter the success of their season), she knew the story of every coach, player, and their families. She could also tell you whether the new recruits were any good! She was amazing in so many respects- a true gentle spirit and lady in every aspect of the word- which makes her love for sports all the more ironic and fascinating! The older I got, the more it amazed me that a woman of such grace could quietly point to the TV and say "Yeah, I think they'd better blitz here. . ." and the TV commentator would almost immediately chime in to say "And they're showing blitz now...center snaps the ball..."- she knew what she was talking about! It was my MaMaw who brought my attention to a player wearing #22 of the Florida Gators- turned out to be one of the greats of the game, Emmitt Smith. She would be so proud to know that I have continued to be a Gator fan since that day- except when they play Ole Miss! Memories sitting at her feet watching the games with her and eating popcorn candy are cherished ones. . .every Saturday with her was the BCS Championship or Superbowl to me.
The traditions were also in full-swing at our home. My dad and I watched game after game together on Saturdays and some Sundays. I loved this time with him as he taught me about the I-formation, option routes, and the blitz. We had so many exciting 4th quarters, overtimes, and uncontrollable laughs at the commercials. My mother encouraged this time together by cooking all day- even when it was just my father and I watching games all day and night, Mom would make at least 4 appetizers or meals and still wonder if it was enough for the two of us! What a precious lady. . .always loving us through her cooking. . . I pray my family one day feels loved through my cooking!!! I don't pretend to know a lot about the game- I just love it and the traditions that go along with it: tailgating (or "Groving" for the Ole Miss fans in the crowd), air horns (or cowbells for the MSU fans in the crowd), and even the crazy fan (you know the one) in the stand who always knows the perfect play that would have worked had the offensive coordinator just listened to him.
I do hope and pray that as our girls reflect on their childhoods, they too carry such fun and simple traditions into their homes- after all, it is the time spent with one another that is truly priceless. So, thanks MaMaw, Dad and Mom for sharing this great tradition with me- little did you know that those days would be many of my favorites from my childhood.
In honor of the close of the season and those who instilled in me the love for the game, here is a recipe from MaMaw's kitchen, my mom's kitchen, and my kitchen for the big game!!
MaMaw's Popcorn Candy (a recipe to be passed on to my girls with love):
2 bags popcorn
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix popcorn and nuts on cookie sheet. Combine sugar, butter, and syrup in pan and boil 15 minutes (should be light caramel color). Add vanilla. Pour immediately over corn and nut mixture.
Mom's Cheese Soup (I could eat my weight in this soup!):
4 stalks celery
1/2 bunch green onions
1/2 yellow onion
3 cans Cream Chicken soup
3 cans chicken broth
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
Blend celery, onions and carrots well in blender or food processor. Mix with other ingredients in large microwavable dish. Cook 45 minutes on high in microwave-stir every 10 minutes.
K-Mart's Layered Dip (Katharine shared this recipe this year and it is one of our new game-day favorites!):
Frito's Bean Dip
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
chopped tomatoes (or chunky salsa)
4 green onions, chopped
shredded cheddar/mozzarella cheese
Spread bean dip all over dish. Mix mayo, sour cream, and taco seasoning. Spread mixture over bean dip. Spread guacamole over mixture. Spread tomatoes and green onions. Top with shredded cheese. Refrigerate. Serve cold with tortilla chips or veggies.
Hope you enjoy! Go Arizona!!!!!