The ESPN Road Warrior named it number two on the list of the top ten best places to tailgate and called it “so sublime even William Faulkner would be at a loss to describe it”. The Grove at Ole Miss…officially it’s a tailgate party, a picnic. But experience it firsthand just once and you will know it is so much more than that. The New York Times called it a cocktail party, a family or class reunion, fraternity and sorority rush, and a political handgrab all rolled into one. This past weekend the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, hosted number one ranked Alabama. Over 62,000 people attended in a damp cold mist. Most of them, I think, started in the Grove where outdoor tablescaping has reached an art form. Beginning at midnight on Friday, people start arriving with tents to stake out their real estate. They bring flowers, chandeliers, tablecloths, chairs, sterling silver, televisions and, of course, food. The centerpieces alone are worthy of magazine layouts.
Pumpkins are a familiar theme this time of year.
Some people branch out from the traditional red and blue theme. I’ve seen this zebra tent (yes, the whole tent is zebra) for a couple of years now.
Custom designed tablecloths adorn many tables.
And although most are red and blue, some tailgaters branch out… .
At game time most head to the stadium…to watch the Rebels and hear the Pride of the South marching band. We watch…. ever hopeful and return to the Grove to continue the party and finish off the food —win, lose, or draw.
Pimiento cheese is a staple….at home at a cocktail party or a picnic. People think I have a secret family recipe. There are two secrets. First, grate your own cheese—sharp, medium, whatever you like best. The shredded cheese in a packet never produces the same texture. Mix it up with the amount of mayo you like. But here is the secret—dry Italian dressing. Just add it to taste for the best pimiento cheese ever!
So… we lost to Alabama. We’ll ride off into the sunset. I remind the men in my family that it’s a game. We came, saw old friends, feasted on good food and had a good time. No matter what…We may not win every game, but we never lose a party!
Click on the TT button to join our gracious hostess Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. On Friday join Michael for food and recipes at Designs by Gollum. Click the button on the side for immediate transportation!