Let’s be honest: the best part of any college football game is the tailgate. And, for Harvard students, the best football game of the year is Harvard vs Yale. The oldest rivalry in the nation. THE GAME.
So, when you combine The Game and tailgating, you get the most epic pre-game antics of all time (maybe not, but you get the idea).
Regardless of your love of football, friends, and food (and draaaank), it is still entirely possible for your tailgate to end up something like this:
Yeah, you don’t want that. But never fear, Spoon Harvard is here to make sure your tailgate scores a touchdown (yes, we just made a football pun #sorrynotsorry). Let’s kickoff this fool-proof guide with the basics:
Wings, hot dogs, and burgers…oh my! The classic tailgate foods are a smorgasbord of American staples, and just about anything else that you can think to toss on a grill.
No, not that kind of grill.
There we go. To guarantee success, make sure you know the rules of the grill:
1. Don’t grill too close to (or in, or on) your vehicle. Reference gif #1 for reasons why. Also, make sure you know how to use your grill, and how much fuel it really needs. Safety first, people.
3. Burgers: Get fresh meat from a local grocer (or cheat and get food from one of these restaurants). Season to your liking. Grill over high heat until done (about 3 minutes on each side for medium rare). Voila. Top with desired extras and you got yourself a burger. Check out this article for the nitty-gritty details.
4. Wings: We’re in college, so nobody will judge if you order wings from somewhere like Dominos, BonChon, or Wings Over. BUT, if you feel inclined to grill your own, be warned: it can take about 30 minutes for the perfectly grilled chicken wing. If you want to know more, check out a basic recipe here.
5. Hot dogs: For all you grilling newbies, this one’s for you. Hot dogs are probably the easiest food to grill at a tailgate. Buy yourself some weenies at any local vendor (Broadway Market, Trader Joe’s, etc.), toss them on the grill, and rotate them occasionally for about 7-9 minutes. Add your favorite toppings and you’ve got yourself a meal.
While the classic tailgate go-tos don’t leave much hope for vegetarians…
Herbivores fear not! Chips and guac, corn-on-the-cob, cheese or veggie pizza, and even grilled cheese sandwiches are all viable options. Because, let’s be real, it is totally unrealistic to ask any party-happy college student to think of providing veggie burgers or meatless products.
Can you really call it a tailgate if there isn’t any beer? Here in America, beer and football go together like mac and cheese, chips and guac, tequila and regret….you get the idea.
While you’re much more likely to see Lite/Light beverages at a college tailgate than craft beers (or even Guinness), that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Brands like Coors Light, Bud Light, and Pabst Blue Ribbon are all decent options that won’t break the bank. Just make sure you bring a cooler. Nothing is worse than warm beer.
Possibly because this is the oldest college rivalry in history, the tailgates seem to end up slightly classier than your stereotypical American kick back. As such, there is always some sort of wine or champagne floating around.
If that’s more your thing, opt for brands like Charles Shaw (the White Zinfandel is surprisingly delicious), André, or… wait for it… Franzia.
Yes, I know that you’re probably laughing to yourself about the idea of boxed wine being a good option, but hear me out. We’re college students, and boxed wine is a staple. It’s cheap, easy to transport, and sharable – three qualities that are perfect for a tailgate beverage.
Last, but far from least, is hard alcohol. Whether you opt for vodka (pray that it’s flavored), Fireball whiskey, or some kind of rum, make sure to pace yourself and hydrate #DAPA.
Oh, and if you want to learn the best ways to conceal your beverages, scroll to the very bottom and check out the article on sneaky day drinking (because the Founding Fathers forgot to put “freedom to day drink in public” in the Constitution).
According to weather.com, New Haven is going to range from a decent 50°F to a chilly 34℉ on game day, so you better plan on bundling up for the tailgate. Here are the basic staples that any Harvard tailgater should have (plus some fun spirited accessory ideas to spice up that already overly crimson outfit).
The H sweater is a collegiate classic, and perfect for The Game. Both guys and girls can sport this warm, fashionable, and spirited sweater to show off their Crimson pride. Layer a few long sleeved shirts underneath, and you’ve got yourself the perfect option for this year’s game. Find at the Harvard Shop or online here.
A.K.A. the best part of the outfit. Before heading off to New Haven, make sure to stop by The COOP and pick up everything from scarves and gloves, to headwear like beanies, baseball hats, headbands, or even bucket hats.
TL;DR: The more Crimson you can deck yourself out in, the better.
Your food can be top notch. Your drink selection endless. Your outfit on fleek. But if your tailgate doesn’t have the right party atmosphere, all the rest can go to waste.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to get a college tailgate going. All you have to do is get some kind of speaker system (the louder, the better), assign a trusted friend as DJ, and blast the most current party hits (the more Fetty Wap, the better).
Finally, while this isn’t absolutely game-changing, providing some kind of table where drinking games can be played is always a plus. Said table can also double as a dancing surface, as long as it’s stable. Safety first, everyone.
So, friends, go forth and:
The Game 2k15 is already going to be absolutely legendary, but if you follow these tailgating tips you can do your part to help make this game one for the books. GO CRIMSON.