Saturday Traditions

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Game day is an early day for this Old House.  This season Pookie’s Ole Miss Rebels have finally broken through to the next level of college football rankings. The Old Man’s Wisconsin Badgers are giving him the dreaded “Badger Pain”, something that he loudly proclaims as the worst football fandom pain.  Although this season even he concedes that my Florida Gators have given me the most painful season in a very long time.

Our Saturday morning chores are done around ESPN’s College Game Day. Then we text our Florida State son to tease him about his unbeaten team sitting at #2, behind Mississippi State;  eat a light lunch while watching the early afternoon Badger games; hope to be pleasantly surprised by the Gators; and always take the time to cheer against Auburn and Michigan.

Then it’s time to get ready for the Rebel’s game that night.  Although Ole Miss has never won the Southeastern Conference in football, their tailgating traditions translate beautifully even hundreds of miles away.  As the Ole Miss adage goes: we might lose a game but we ain’t never lost a party.

In keeping with that Rebel charm, we break out the good china and silver for some take-out ribs from Tony’s, heat up okra and tomatoes from an old Mississippi recipe, and follow it all with a little Blanton’s bourbon and my grandmother’s easy and delicious blackberry cobbler.

Don’t think that Southern football is all about men watching games while the ladies cook. Early one Fall Friday morning a few years ago, I sat in a Tallahassee hotel restaurant across an aisle from ESPN football analyst Kirk Herbstreit who was in town with College Game Day at Florida State University.

As I sat drinking coffee and waiting for The Old Man to return to the hotel after his business meeting, I watched the parade of people walk over to Herbstreit’s table to shake his hand. The men were pleasant and polite, but the women wanted to talk. Not about being on television or tailgating rituals and recipes. No, they wanted to talk football!

They discussed specifics about college quarterbacks and their NFL potential from schools across the nation.  Even our waitress, a tiny, middle-aged woman, asked Herbstreit a slew of questions like why the New England Patriots were so enamored with drafting Florida Gator players, if running quarterbacks could really make it in the NFL and did he agree that Florida State was just a few years away from a national title? (She was right on the money with that.)

As she poured another round of coffee, Herbstreit told her “Women in the South know more about college football than anyone male or female anywhere else in the country. We should have a feature on that.”

Yes, you should. And we’ll be watching!

My Grandmother’s Blackberry Cobbler

1 unbaked pie crust
1 quart blackberries
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place pie crust in either round pie plate or preferably a cast iron skillet and top with blackberries. Then mix the flour, sugar and milk in a bowl and pour it over the blackberries. Bake for about 50 minutes, checking at the end to make sure custard of the cobbler is set but not browned.

Enjoy with some good vanilla ice cream and a winning team! It is also exceptionally good the following day cold.

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