It's hard to think about the start of a new football season without images of food popping into my head. Football and food just seem to go together, and like many of you, I have eaten a lot of meals at LaVell Edwards Stadium. I think I have probably tried just about everything they have to offer inside the stadium. Some offerings I liked a lot, some not as much.
It seems to me that stadium food should reach the same level of quality and excellence that we expect from all other aspects of the game experience. Wouldn't it be amazing if we walked into the stadium this fall and found ourselves as excited about the food choices as we were about seeing the new video boards a couple of years ago?
I remember the old days when we could bring our coolers into the stadium with whatever concoction of food we saw fit. Those days, however, are long gone, and now we must rely on what is commercially available. There was a time that meant hot dogs and nachos, and while both are still readily available, the menus have increased over the years to include some very tasty selections such as pulled pork sandwiches from Legends Grille and ice cream from the BYU Creamery. Additionally, there are an increasing number of local eateries who offer their fare throughout the stadium.
Still, many fans look to satisfy their food cravings outside the stadium before the game starts. In that regard, there are probably as many pre-game food traditions as there are fans. Some of you stop at your favorite drive in or restaurant before arriving at the stadium, while others tailgate in the parking lot before the game-sharing the smell of your BBQ with the rest of us as we make our final approach to the field. You may be one of those who give in to the "Hot Now" sign at the donut shop, and some of you (you know who you are) simply hoard the free samples available in the west lot tailgate party, stuffing your pockets like there is no tomorrow!
During our many years as season ticket holders my family and I have tried just about every routine of eating you can think of, before, during and after the game, both inside and outside the stadium.
I've also been to a lot of college football games in other places, and the food at LES is, in my opinion, better than average. But here's the thing-I don't just want better than average, I want great! I want incredible. I want people to say about BYU what Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples says about Tulane-that "It is a foodie paradise that happens to have a Division I football team." Okay, don't call me names me yet. I know even the thought of comparing food in most places, let alone Provo, with that of New Orleans would make me a crazy person. So let me take it down a notch or two, to something more in the realms of reality.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend a game at Falcon Stadium on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy. It was a remarkable experience to visit the Academy, and among the many things that impressed me that day (and there were many!) was the food. I remember turkey legs that looked like they belonged on top of Fred Flintstone's car and brats that overhung both ends of the foot long bun. I won't even mention the onions that topped the brat. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The entire stadium was filled with the smells of deliciousness. There were so many incredible foods to try that I didn't know where to start. This kind of food experience, I believe, is entirely possible to accomplish in Provo.
BYU does a lot of things right when it comes to food, like the Cougartail- a 16 inch maple bar that made thedailymeal's list of 10 Best College Football Stadium Eats in 2011. Not interested in a foot and a half of maple frosting? Not to worry, there are healthy options available too. Many of the concession stands at the stadium are operated by volunteers from non-profit organizations who receive up to 15% of their net sales.
Yes, I think the folks at LES do a pretty good job. I can't help but look back to my day at the Academy though, and I dream of those turkey legs and brats. So my question today is what would make it great? What would make it incredible?
Here is my suggestion, then I will leave the rest to you as readers to say what you think. I would love to see food trucks at the stadium. Either inside the stadium, if that's possible, or out in the parking lot. Either would make me really happy. Provo has a number of really great food trucks. I say we get them together and bring them to the game. Eating a Fiore wood fired pizza from my seat during the game would be amazing-and it would be even better if followed by a trip to the Waffle Love truck. Imagine it-Burritos, BBQ, pizza, corn dogs, Hawaiian ice, kebabs, crepes and tacos, all circled up in the parking lot. It makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Now I want to hear what you think, and I would love for you to get specific. When it comes to watching football, what foods have no substitutes? What is your game day tradition when it comes to eating? What do you wish you were able to eat it while sitting in your seat in the stadium?
I would especially love to hear from fans in East Hartford, Austin, Orlando, Boise, Murfreesboro, and Berkley. What is your favorite game day food? What can we as Cougar fans expect when we come to visit your campus this year?
Leave your comments below-share your traditions, ideas, suggestions, hints, tips, GPS coordinates, recipes, etc.-and then let's get ready to start another great season of college football!