The Iowa Hawkeye Football schedule this year is going to require dedication from the fans to cheer on our home team to three November victories. Before the kids came along, I was a dedicated tailgater, and amassed a few tips to help me enjoy (and my wife endure) those cold November football Saturdays. Here’s what I learned:
Put Away Your Grill Your reliable mini-grill that served you so well during September and October has earned a well-deserved rest when the weather gets cold. A portable burner is far more versatile in cold weather conditions.
No winter tailgating is complete without coffee and hot chocolate. Bring a gallon of water and a simple tea kettle from any home store to keep you and your tailgating guests warm and alert. Coffee is quick, easy and delicious when prepared in a french press, and adding a splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream is a personal tailgating tradition. Hot chocolate, with or without peppermint schnapps, is always a hit. If you want to save the hassle, you can always pick up totes of hot chocolate and coffee at Panera on your way to the stadium.
Chili is always a big hit at my winter tailgate parties, especially if I serve it with chopped onions and Frito’s. Here’s my favorite white chicken chili recipe. I always make the chili the night before (it always tastes better that way anyway) and warm it up on the burner before game time.
Real Men Use Toe Warmers, Too For too long, I resisted the amazing technology of the instant warm toe warmers. I was finally convinced to use them during Outdoor Winter Kickball a few years ago, and now I am converted. Available at big box stores, they are an investment in comfort that will keep you in the stands past halftime. My parallel love of hand warmers is self-evident.
Polar Fleece Makes the Best Blankets EVER If you are crafty, my wife tells me that decoratively tying together two lengths of fleece is a quick and easy job. However, if you’re not, you can simply purchase lengths of polar fleece and use them as a blanket. You can cut away the unprinted edges, and the fabric won’t fray. The polyester is water repellent and washes easily.
What are your favorite cold weather tailgating traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments. If we can get a babysitter, I’ll see you at Kinnick in November!
Jim Zachar, Realtor | Licensed in the State of Iowa | Coldwell Banker Hedges Realty | 5408 Blairs Forest Way NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 | Jim@SoldByJZ.com | 319.389.0008