Football Fare

February 2019 View more

Stumped on what to bring to this year’s Super Bowl party? Football mom and Naperville resident Beth Peterson can help. Her book
The Tailgate Cookbook was released in August by Cedar Fort, and features recipes that bring a new twist to traditional football food.

Peterson draws from her days as a brand ambassador for Sam’s Club and Coke Zero, when she traveled around the country every weekend for two years on the ESPN Collegiate Game Day Tour.

“Part of my job was to evaluate some of the top tailgates to find the best in the country,” says Peterson, 50. “It was incredibly interesting how regionality played a huge part in the food served at tailgates around the country—from jambalaya in Louisiana, to freshly caught salmon in the Northeast, to low country seafood boil in the Southeast.”

Through her tailgating travels, Peterson noticed appetizers, side dishes, and desserts were by and large prepared by women, yet most available tailgate cookbooks focused almost exclusively on grilling recipes, traditionally the men’s domain.

“The book highlights all of the dishes that women bring,” says Peterson. “It’s beautifully styled and photographed. Although men will enjoy it, the book has a feminine feel to it.”

The Tailgate Cookbook features appetizers like crab, shrimp, and andouille gumbo dip; sushi donuts; and pomegranate guacamole; alongside such main dishes as adobo lamb pops with char-roasted poblano dipping sauce and a brown bag salmon; and winds up with dessert recipes, including hot chocolate grill cupcakes; Honeycrisp apple panna cotta; and coconut, lime, and avocado Popsicles. But don’t worry—there are still plenty of traditional tailgate food recipes as well. Nachos and deviled eggs are well represented, along with several chili variations.

Peterson started cooking as a young girl with her mother and owned a restaurant and a small catering company before appearing on several cooking competition shows, including Master Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen.

The ESPN tour wasn’t the only football time Peterson has logged. Her oldest son, Alex, played at Butler, while her son, Luke, plays at Naperville Central. Her daughter Francesca also goes to Central.

So, what will Peterson be serving on Super Bowl Sunday?

“Super Bowl parties are the ultimate tailgate,” she says. “I’ll be hosting a big tailgate party this year and will be serving all sorts of favorites from the book: deviled bacon, a charcuterie table, chicken and waffle cupcakes, an epic chili bar, and bloody mary Jell-O shots.”

Photo courtesy Beth Peterson