Photo Credit: Daina Falk/The Hungry Fan
Yesterday, we debuted our Fans, Food and Baseball series with our interview with Daina Falk (The Hungry Fan). Today, we return with part two of our Q&A session, where we discussed advice for planning your game day event.
CC: When planning a game day event, what are the keys to making it successful?
DF: First and foremost, know your head count so you have enough food for everyone. There’s nothing worse than running out, especially when folks haven’t even had firsts, let alone seconds. Also, try to be sensitive to planning for guests with food allergies or special diets (i.e. vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). And always have alcoholic and non-alcoholic options for folks. Also important: ample seating, providing sunscreen for outdoor tailgating or cookouts (especially earlier on in the season when we still have the summer sun), and making sure if you’re having a watch party, your restroom is clean and supplied with TP! Lastly and most important for the host: get as much done as you can ahead of time so you can also enjoy game day as much as your guests do!
CC: What are some common mistakes people make in game day event planning?
“People who have watch parties at home sometimes try to crowd too many people around a tiny TV. I haaaaaate that. If you’re hosting a homegating party–especially one with many guests–you need a serious TV. I’m talking HD, big, able to be seen from various angles and distances. I’m not saying you need a movie theater screen (though that would be awesome) but your dorm room TV is probably too small.
I’ve also been to events where the only alcoholic beverage offered was beer. While beer is extremely popular on game day and in general, think about offering 1-2 other options for those who want to partake but aren’t beer drinkers. (Think wine, for instance. It’s been growing in popularity on game day over the last few years).”
CC: What are some stadium food trends that people can bring into their own game day experience?
“The best thing I’ve seen trends-wise in stadium food is that it’s becoming more and more gourmet. Meaning: it’s not your granddaddy’s hot dog and hamburger (only) anymore. (And not that there was anything wrong with his hot dog or hamburger, but sometimes you’ve got to mix it up a little).
I am also super enthused by having seen a lot of condiments available now at stadiums that include more than just your standard relish, ketchup and mustard. I am seeing a variety of cool, local hot sauces and sauces that no longer contain chemical garbage like high fructose corn syrup. In my book, I devoted the entire last chapter to learning how to make your own condiments from scratch because condiments can totally make or break a sandwich, hot dog or even taco. So I am a huge fan of variety and “clean” sauces. And I am a huge supporter of fans taking that into their own game day events.”
“I often get asked that question. And my answer is always the same: that question is like asking someone which of their kids is their favorite. They’re all great for different reasons! Equal opportunity recipe maker over here!”
CC: Many people are becoming health conscious. What are some healthy options that are sure to please?
“I think the word healthy is inherently vague. When it comes to making game day healthy, I am a proponent of variety, moderation, portion control and quality of ingredients. You want to eat that cheeseburger? DO IT. But maybe only eat one, not 12. And maybe try using baby spinach in lieu of iceberg lettuce since iceberg is basically 99% water with minimal nutritional content whereas baby spinach is loaded with nutrients. Use grass-fed beef instead of corn-fed beef. Use organic cheese, or in the least, cheese that comes from cows that haven’t been fed a diet of antibiotics. And use whole wheat buns instead of empty calorie white bread buns. Just like that, you’ve got a healthy game day dish. It’s really all relative because let’s face it: game day for many is cheat day. So don’t force feed yourself a salad you don’t want. Eat what you want on your designated cheat day but control how much you eat and what you put into it and you’ll be aok.”
Bonus Recipe Video