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Welcome to WFAEats - a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Super Bowl 50: Bring The 'Rings'

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Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.
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No one predicted the Carolina Panthers would go to the Super Bowl – certainly not when Charlottean Taylor Mathis wrote The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South back in 2013.

But now that the “Cardiac Cats” have proven they can go the distance, we’re breaking out the book and showing it some local love.

Mathis visited 12 states to compile 110 recipes accompanied by photos of teams, fans, and food in all their glory. Then he added helpful tips to assure proper Southern protocol regarding game-day greetings, preferred attire, and how to address rivalries.

“I have always been a football fan, so without that, the book never would have happened,” he replied when we reached out to him recently. “I knew we had a very good team and was very excited about this season's possibility. I would be lying if I said I predicted a 15-1 regular season, but with the way we have played every game this season it definitely has been one I will always remember.”

The book boasts plenty of traditional mainstays such as burgers, ribs, and chicken. It also offers up lots of options to get creative with appetizers, cocktails, and desserts. (Since the Panthers are playing the Denver Broncos, we won’t discuss the section of the book titled “Eating Your Competition,” but Mathis gives a clever work-around to avoid literal interpretation.)

Mathis is still finalizing his own game day menu, but agreed to share a taste of his book with us. Will eating onion rings help assure the team brings home a Super Bowl ring? We’re pretty sure it can’t hurt.

Go Panthers! Keep pounding!

  Onion Rings and Fried Pickles

Some people like onion rings. Some people like fried pickles. Rather than choose, I suggest making both. The dredge can be used on both pickles and onions. The pickles are washed in a mixture containing pickle juice, and the onion rings are dipped in a wash containing apple cider vinegar.

·         4 large yellow onions

·         1 (24-ounce) jar of pickle spears

Dredge

·         2 cups self-rising flour

·         2 cups self-rising white cornmeal

·         2 teaspoons black pepper

·         2 teaspoons salt

·         2 teaspoons paprika

·         1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Onion Wash

·         2 cups 2 percent milk

·         2 eggs, lightly beaten

·         1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Pickle Wash

·         2 cups 2 percent milk

·         2 eggs, lightly beaten

·         1 tablespoon pickle juice

The night before the tailgate, measure out the flour, cornmeal, black pepper, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Pack in a sealable container.

For the onion ring wash, add the milk, eggs, and vinegar to a sealable container. For the pickle wash, add the milk, eggs, and pickle juice to a sealable container. Store the sealable containers of wash in the refrigerator overnight and transport in a cooler to your tailgate.

At the tailgate, prepare the onions and pickles. Slice the onions into rings and add the rings to a container of ice water. Let the rings soak in the ice water for 10 minutes. Remove and pat dry. Remove the pickles from the jar and pat dry.

Place the onions and pickles into the dredge mixture and stir to cover completely. Remove from the dredge and place in the appropriate wash. Transfer from the wash back to the dredge, coating completely. Fry in 365–370° oil for 1–2 minutes, until golden brown. Fry in small batches to prevent the oil temperature from changing too drastically. Once done, remove from the oil and drain on a tray lined with paper bags.

Makes 8 servings

From The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South by Taylor Mathis.  Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis.  Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.  www.uncpress.unc.edu