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August 11, 2022

A Love-Hate Affair With Football

Let’s be honest here. Many women hate NFL Football—plain and simple. I fall into the group of women who have suffered through season after season of this violent contact sport. There are, however, women who love this sport as much as men, some even more so. These women will sit alongside the men, whooping and hollering, pounding each other on their backs, while the women who hate the game, watch and wait, praying the game does not go into overtime. Why does the NFL pay these players to run around, hurting each other over a stupid ball, looking like idiots?

For 43 years I have forced myself to sit with my hubby and our guests while doing my best to ‘tune out’ the maddening noise coming from the television and the fans when a touchdown was made. I would pretend to display some sort of knowledge of the game, although, after years of having plays and rules explained, I have no idea how a ‘tight end’ figures into a game of football.  And a ‘Hail Mary,’ how does religion enter into this violence?

There was one part of ‘game day’ I did enjoy, and that was preparing food for the hungry crowd that always descended upon our house at least two hours prior to Kickoff. Those two hours were spent with guys placing their bets for the ‘pool,’ the gals finding a place on the table for their casseroles of lasagna, chili and beans, potato salads, deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms, quesadillas and salsas, and, always, always cold shrimp and a chili sauce dip. Beer was the drink for the guys, and the ladies opted for wine.

The first half of the game was usually chip and dip time, along with nuts and popcorn and a platter of veggies and Lipton soup dip. We waited for halftime when hotdogs and sloppy joes were served from the kitchen. No one left their seats—they didn’t want to miss the half-time entertainment.  

At the game’s end, money from each quarter was passed to the winners, the best commercials were discussed and the buffet table was open. That day’s game was rehashed over and over, until our door closed on the last lingering fan.

Football season was over and my life, once again, would become somewhat normal.

With Dungeness crab in season, below are three of my favorite recipes that can be made the day before and none will break the budget. 

Sloppy Joes (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients 

  • 8-10 Hamburger buns
  • 2 lbs. 85% ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter 
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic minced.
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch

Directions

In a skillet, break up beef well with a spoon and mix with baking soda and water and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain and set aside in a bowl.

Then sauté the vegetable oil, butter, onion and garlic until onion is translucent and soft.

Now, add the spices and sauces and cook together for 5 minutes and then add ground round. Let the mixture simmer until hot. Serve on warm hamburger buns.

Crab or Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms 

Ingredients 

  • 16 large mushroom caps stemmed, gills removed
  • 6 oz. crab or shrimp drained
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest

Directions

Steam mushrooms for 5 minutes and cool. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and fill mushroom caps.

Sprinkle ½ cup Italian dried breadcrumbs over mushrooms.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees oven 20 minutes until tops brown.

Crab Cakes (makes 12 three-inch cakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Dungeness crabmeat 
  • ½ cup diced Scallions
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 med. egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Panko
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco Sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Panko
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Mix ingredients, except for breadcrumbs, Panko and Parmesan cheese, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Divide mixture and press lightly into a muffin pan lined with Saran Wrap. Freeze for 1 hour.

Then, in a bowl mix together, the breadcrumbs, Panko and Parmesan cheese.

In a 10-inch frying pan heat 1 cup vegetable oil to 350 degrees.

Coat each side of crab cake with Panko mixture and fry each side until golden brown (1 ½ min. per side). Drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon slices.

Tartar Sauce

Mix and chill: 

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. dill relish
  • 2 tsp. dry dillweed
  • ½ tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected].

Colly Gruczelak
Colly Gruczelak, a Ben Lomond resident, loves people and loves to cook. Contact her at [email protected]

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