THE GAME: Cowboys vs Packers
Last weekend, I read about a new concession item being served at Lambeau Field for the Packers-Lions game. From the press release:
"Created exclusively for the playoffs at Lambeau Field, the bowl is filled with three pounds of Green Bay fan favorites: Johnsonville Sausage, Sargento Cheese Curds, Patrick Cudahy Bacon and Tater Tots. It is topped with Leinenkugel's Bavarian Dunkel Beer Cheese and Red Cherry Peppers, and sold in a souvenir Lam-Bowl for $10. The bowl fits conveniently on top of all fountain Coca-Cola beverages."
Three pounds? This would be great to share with a bunch of people during a football game, I thought.
Only I couldn't find anyone to share it with me. Partly because it doesn't sound all that tasty. Mostly because I don't have any friends. Whatever.
So I made a smaller version just for myself, although I made a couple of slight changes to the recipe.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I don't like Johnsonville's sausages. Like Farmer John, every single one I've ever tried has contained at least a nickel-size chunk of fat that made it through the grinding process intact. There is almost no culinary moment I hate more than biting into a giant chunk of fat.
- The owner of my local butcher shop agrees; he once said to me "if we had a large enough facility, we could put Farmer John out of business. It just kills me what they're allowed to get away with." He takes a lot of pride in his porcine products, and I have never once received a piece of pig as poorly ground as every piece I have ever purchased from Johnsonville or Farmer John. So I bought bratwurst and bacon from the butcher.
- I thought about making my own beer cheese. If I hadn't been so interested in this game, I would have. But beer cheese takes a fair amount of effort to make, and I didn't want to be distracted during the game, so I bought a jar of cheese sauce.
- I prefer red cherry peppers, and they certainly look more attractive, but this jar of green peppers was on sale for $1.99, so I bought it.
- This bag of "tater bites" was also on sale for $1.99. I had not realized that "Tater Tots" is an actual trademark. (It was filed by Ore-Ida on October 21, 1957 - I looked it up on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office... I have a lot of free time on my hands this month.)
- I grilled the brats in a cast iron pan, fried up the tater
totsbites, and slowly roasted the bacon in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Everything got diced up, thrown into a bowl, and drizzled with a warm helping of the cheese sauce.
- It was actually much better than I expected it to be. But not something I ever see myself making again.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself: I'm really looking forward to watching the Cowboys-Packers game, but do you know what would make it even better? If Keanu Reeves introduced the pregame show sounding like a constipated stoner. Talk about my lucky day.
- Dan Bailey is 28 years old and this is only his 6th NFL season. Is anyone else surprised by this? Am I the only one who feels like we've been watching him for at least a decade?
- They showed Jordy Nelson standing on the sidelines in street clothes and I had no idea who he was; I realized I'd never seen him without his helmet before.
- Joe Buck: "It's just next-level thinking by Aaron Rodgers." All of you who had the under on "five-and-a-half minutes before Buck makes an obsequious comment about Rodgers making a routine play," congratulations.
- I've been watching football for more than 30 years, and I have no idea what that penalty just was. Something about a player entering the huddle and participating when he shouldn't have been. I think it's like when you miss a day of classes because you're sick and then you're not allowed to participate in basketball practice after school. Or maybe it's not like that at all. I don't really know. There's a 65% chance the refs just made up that rule on the spot.
- I don't mean to keep ripping on Joe Buck - actually, I'm lying; that's exactly what I mean to do here - but does anyone else get annoyed by the way he squeals when Rodgers completes 7-yard passes to wide open receivers? This is the same announcer who didn't even raise his voice during one of the most famous catches in NFL history.
- Although I do not like Rodgers personally, there is no denying that he is a great quarterback. If Dallas can't put more pressure on him - if he keeps getting 8 seconds in the pocket to find an open receiver - I don't see how the Cowboys can come back from this 11-point deficit.
- Make that 18-point deficit. The local AMC theater is showing Singin' in the Rain this afternoon. Any more Green Bay points soon and I might just go see it. (Dallas scored as soon as I wrote that... and then they scored again to cut the lead to 8 at the half.)
- I'm not entirely sure what Dallas is doing here. Green Bay is going with the Nickel defense, allowing Zeke Elliott to keep gaining yards, and Dallas is insistent on throwing - including a red-zone interception just now that Green Bay read the entire way.
- Fast forward ten back-and-forth (game) minutes: Dallas definitely has the momentum now, down 8, with the ball.... and they've figured out that they should keep handing it off to Zeke. Better late than never, I suppose.
- Touchdown Dallas, Prescott with the QB draw on the two-point conversion. Tie game. This is way better than Singin' in the Rain.
- Dallas just spiked the ball on first down with a LOT of time still to play. I don't like that move.
- Field goals traded and we're tied with less than one minute left. Thanks to that spike on first down, Green Bay is getting the ball back with 35 seconds remaining.
- Rodgers completed a long, improbable pass on 3rd-and-20. I wonder if the media will make a big deal out of this.
- Both announcers just used the word "unbelievable" 4 times in 30 seconds. I really wish that word would be retired from sports broadcasts. It means "unable to be believed." Bigfoot is unbelievable. Time Travel is unbelievable. P.F. Chang's serving me a decent entree is unbelievable. An NFL wide receiver catching a pass from an NFL quarterback is never, ever unbelievable.
- Green Bay kicks a field goal as time expires. Wow that was an exciting game.