A Fall Football Menu: Tailgating, Abood-style

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When you grow up in a college town like I did, you end up spending all of your fall Saturdays in the stadium watching football games. That was fun…but let’s face it, the tailgate party before the game has always been the bigger attraction for me. I loved going to Spartan stadium with the whole family, bringing our tailgate lunch and walking around the parking lots sampling other tailgaters and chatting it up before the game. I have a particularly fond memory of my dad listening to the band playing out in the A-Lot at MSU before a game, standing there clapping to the music with his wool cap, red scarf, and coat on. That made me want to clap too.

Then there were the years when all of my siblings and I were in school in South Bend. The tailgaters we had there were outta sight. These weren’t the hepped-up-style tailgaters dotting the parking lot with tables and tablecloths and flowers. This was belly-up-to-the-trunk-style. My mom would load up the station wagon with every kind of delicious food you could imagine and she and my dad would pull her up to Green Field at Notre Dame. Five hungry college kids would come a-running, along with our friends, and we ate my mother’s food as though we had been starved since we left home. Which, in a way, we were.

Here’s our ever so fine tailgating menu, always with the Lebanese foods that require nothing but a hand to get it to your mouth. Yes, it is true that there was no way my mother would make from scratch every facet of the picnic. But one or two aspects she would.

Did I ask permission of my siblings to post this circa early-90s tailgate photo? Of course not.

Our Tailgate Menu
(Go Spartans! Go Irish! And when they play each other: eat another kibbeh football!)

Spinach Fatayar

Fried Chicken (Mom’s oven-fried, if you’re lucky)

Kibbeh Footballs

Carrot and Celery Sticks

Lays Potato Chips

Little Bunches of Grapes

Bag of Apples (Dad wants everyone to tuck an apple in the coat pocket, for later)

Seven-layer Cookie Bars

Bag of miniature Snickers (not the miniature bites—too small—miniature bars)

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  1. Karen (Abood) Clarke says:

    My maiden name is Abood. I went to the University of Notre Dame. While I was there I know there was one other Abood there at the same time. I think Chris maybe? I graduated in 1987. After looking at this photo I think I recognize the man on the left as the other Abood.
    My whole young life I worried that when my sister and I got married our dad’s name would be gone. When I saw there was another Abood on campus I was relieved.
    Thanks for the picture.
    I am going to try the fatayar recipe. I already tried your lentils and onions. They were very good.
    My grandmother was a great Lebanese cook but I did not pick up anything.

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Thanks for your great note, Karen–that is my brother Chris! Sounds like paths have crossed! Enjoy the fatayar–glad to hear you liked the lentils, too. Long live Abood!

  2. Pam Ogle says:

    You brought back tailgating memories for me too. Thanks!

  3. Frieda says:

    Your black and white photo is so fun! I love your comment about asking permission of your siblings to post the photo. You’re an inspiration.

  4. Jim says:

    Great pic and memories Maureen!

  5. Bill B. says:

    Definitely beats hot dogs and beer.

  6. Gregory Jarous Lawrenceville GA says:

    Maureen what a great family picture and wonderful memories.

  7. Sarah Abood says:

    Look at all that hair…what great memories you’ve invoked for your family and friends!

  8. Sofia Perez says:

    Love it. Love you. Love the hair! (I am now off to bury my old photos in a deep, dark pit….haa..)

  9. Jodi says:

    Love it! I, too, have wonderful memories of tailgating at Spartan stadium, but our family’s tailgate always included Chicken McNuggets. 🙂

  10. Geralyn Lasher says:

    That picture is the best! I love it and I had completely forgotten about your dad and apples. Love it!