Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Vegan Tailgate

Nothing is better than warming up before a professional sporting event with buddies, burgers and beer.

Although I had an excellent time last year at The Cabbage Patch pub near Twickenham Stadium before the England vs. South Africa rugby match, nothing beats American football tailgating. Nothing.

In yet another temptation which was dangerously close in severity to the three in the desert found in the Synoptic Gospels, I tailgated today as a vegan. I tailgated as a vegan at a New York Jets football game where most fans can aptly be described as Neanderthals with slobbering steak-blood stained green jackets.

Saturday night 11 inches of snow draped the Tri-State area, including the Meadowlands Sports Complex, and by Sunday morning a fleet of snow plows cleared the facility so the parking lot was ringed with massive snow mountains which resembled the Aleutian Islands. Throw in temperatures in the mid-20's, with biting winds that brought the windchill factor down to 15 degrees, and you have serious football tailgate weather.

My buddy fired-up the grill and slapped some hamburgers on there while I rolled up with my VBites soy burger, and Sage & Majorum sausages. My friends raved about their cheeseburgers, and scoffed at me enjoying my vegan tailgate. I admit it, is was weird to have my first football tailgate without real meat, but it was tasty enough - especially the sausages! My meal looked like a regular plate of burgers and sausages found at thousands of other tailgates on the frozen asphalt tundra, but it was soy based - an anathema to football tailgating, but a helping hand to arteries. The more my friends busted my chops over my counterfeit tailgate, the more my slimming face smiled.

However, the other vital piece of the tailgate is the beer, and I was dying to join in with the guys and their suds. And when there is snow on the ground, and your eyes tear up with frost in the arctic air, nothing, but nothing is more effective at warming your cockles than the liquid sweater. My pal filled up his hip flask with Irish whisky, and as each Eskimo passed the flask of uisce beatha, it took every ounce of willpower to pass. Tailgating and drinking are synonymous...and I'll be taking both to the dance again soon - but not yet.

A vegan tailgate is like football without pads -- it's a different game, but once you're used to it, you can enjoy long as your team wins.

The Jet's lost, but I didn't.

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