I’m not school spirited; I don’t bleed anything but red. I’ve never considered myself a sports fan, and I can’t justify congratulating myself and fellow spectators on a touchdown somebody else did. But when I’m invited to a watch a Penn State football game, I get pumped. To me, it’s an opportunity for creative finger food. I don’t know what it is about football games and indulgence. Maybe it’s that watching all those players sprinting and tackling is exhausting. The outcome of the game only justifies further indulgence, whether a pity pizza or a victory beer.
So, in college, when we invited friends over to watch the game, I embraced it as my time to shine and show school spirit through my cooking. Penn State’s colors are blue and white, so that made it tough to color coordinate the food. There are only a handful of naturally blue foods and most of them are questionable. (Some argue that blueberries and blue corn chips are technically purple).
My first attempt at a blue and white meal was an epic fail. I was in the mood for leek and potato soup. At the grocery store, the blue potatoes caught my eye. Now that would be lovely, I thought, cubes of blue potato poking out of a chunky white stew. So I made the soup, substituted the potatoes and, because I was on a hot pepper kick, added a few slices of habanero.
The result was a blue-grey gruel with steam that made your eyes water. It belonged in a cauldron. We weren’t about to waste food, so we ate every drop. I might make it again for a backyard Halloween party -it kept us warm during the game – but since then, I’ve come up with some other more appetizing school-spirited snacks. Check out some ideas for the Big Ten schools below.
**The Best School Spirit Food**
University of Illinois: blue and orange. Blue Corn Chips with Buffalo Chicken Dip
Indiana University: cream and crimson. White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
University of Iowa: black and gold.t Chocolate-bottomed Blondies
University of Michigan: maize and blue. Roasted Blue and Golden fingerlings with Garlic Aioli
Michigan State : green and white. Minted Sweet Pea Dip with Toasted Bread
University of Minnesota: maroon and gold. Mango and Strawberry Salad
University of Nebraska: scarlet and cream. Yogurt Pancakes with Pomegranite (for the early games)
Northwestern University: purple and white. - Red Beet Hummus with Pita
Ohio State: scarlet and gray. Red, White and Blue Flannel Hash
Penn State: blue and white. Blue Corn Chips with Cheesy White Bean Dip
Purdue University: old gold and black. Dark Black Beans and Yellow Rice
University of Wisconsin: cardinal and white. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad on a Stick
So there you have it. Eat up, and cheer. Go team!
Alexia Detweiler is a graduate of Penn State and an advocate for eating and shopping locally.