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Post Avoiding impermissible snacks

Thursday July 9, 2009

“Impermissible snacks” have been in the news this week thanks to the University of South Carolina’s report of secondary NCAA violations. Snack food is serious business, and even the NCAA realizes that there are some things you wouldn’t serve a starving dog, let alone a prime student-athlete.

We’re all about NCAA compliance here, so we realize that just what is and isn’t a permissible snack might be unclear. The NCAA rulebooks actually spend a good six pages on the subject, and the Pac-10’s controversial proposal to remove sushi from the list caused no small amount of debate at last year’s rules committee meeting. So that we’re in the clear, here is just a sampling of the impermissible snacks to avoid at your tailgates this fall:

Fritos. I know they’re popular, easy to find, and can even team up with chili. But there’s still this fact: no one smells good after eating Fritos. They smell like pets’ feet.

Shrimp cocktail. Shrimp is great in a low country boil or a gumbo, but few things are less appetizing than shrimp cocktail that’s sat out on the tailgating table in the hot sun for more than a minute or two.

Salami. See Fritos. Cold cuts are great and convinient to have at a tailgate – just not the ones that you’ll smell like for the rest of the day.

Cauliflower. Many fruits and veggies are fine – celery and carrots can be easily dipped and go well with wings and other finger food. But there’s just no place for cauliflower. It’s not visually appealing, it’s awkward to hold, and most of us have deep and unpleasant memories from being forcefed cauliflower as a child. Why risk bringing up your guests’ repressed traumatic childhoods over a vegetable?

Beef jerky. Jerky is fine if you’re finding your inner Bear Grylls in the woods for a week, but at a tailgate you really should have fresher and tastier sources of meat. That’s what the grill is for, after all. Besides – with the current Slim Jim shortage gripping the country, it would be irresponsible to waste our nation’s scarce jerky reserves in a setting where there are better ways to eat animals.

Smartfood popcorn. A tough call here – I love the stuff. But there’s no way of avoiding the finger-licking-good residue that builds up after you realize you’ve been eating the stuff constantly for the past half hour and have gone through a good 3/4 of a bag. Ordinarily this is no problem, but most tailgates don’t lend themselves to easily removing the powdery cheesy slurry that forms on the fingers after a good handful or 47 of the stuff. If you tailgate at an RV or right near a public washroom, consider yourself lucky.

Bad salsa. Salsa is too easy to make yourself to serve the bad stuff. You might as well break out the Fritos rather than serve chips with the bottled sludge that’s basically warm chunks of tomato + hot sauce.

Rice cakes. Even if you’re going to pile 3 pounds of pulled pork on top of them, this is no time to be serving rice cakes.

Most flavored chips. Salt-vinegar-jalepeno-mango chips might be the greatest thing you’ve ever tasted, but tailgating is as much about community as anything else. Have stuff that most everyone might like.

Add yours in the comments. We’ll get Damon Evans to sponsor legislation to put ’em on the list next year.

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