#FRIDAYFOOD Tailgating in the Grove


Randy, Mimi and Vaiden Taylor tailgating in the Grove with Lydia Chassaniol. (Photo submitted)


Family, friends and football – the true Southern Fall experience.

We are early in the college football season but despite the hot temperatures, you will still find the same crowds of people lining the campus to enjoy the day.

Ashleigh Tindall Flora and her husband Jeremy, love tailgating in the Grove! Ashleigh said they love anything unique!  Jeremy recently took fried alligator and caramel cake to the Alabama game. Ashleigh said the Grove is an event, not just a meal!

Mississippi District 14 Senator Lydia Chassaniol and the family, are also among those tailgating in the Grove at The University of Mississippi campus in Oxford for every home game.

“The best part of tailgating is the different generations coming together to enjoy a great sporting afternoon,” Chassaniol said. “Seeing old friends and teaching new fans our traditions-it gives a great sense of continuity and family.”


Don Evans, daughter Christie Ogden, and grandson, James, at a recent Ole Miss tailgate. The Evans are originally from Vaiden. (Photo submitted)

While on any given Saturday, there will be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill,  one of the most requested items at the Chassaniol tailgate is “Crack Dip,” so-called because it is as addictive as “crack,” according to Lydia.


8 ounce package of Cream Cheese

4 ounces of Swiss Cheese (sliced or shredded)

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

1/2 jar of Hormel Soft Bacon Bits

Crushed Ritz crackers on top (optional)

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 1 minute, then mix in other ingredients. Of course you will have to quadruple your recipe for a large crowd. Lydia said this dip was also used at the wedding receptions of both of her daughters and is a family favorite.

“It is easy and a huge success and easy for tailgates too,” Lydia said.


Tammy and Michael Chapman, with Emily Handwerker tailgating in the Grove. (Photo submitted)

While the Chassaniols enjoy great food during tailgating in the Grove at Ole Miss, they also love to visit with all of the new people they meet each home game, as well as old friends that have been tailgating for years. For the Chassaniols, it is a fun way for the family to get together and enjoy their favorite football team.


Ashley Ogden and Michael Chapman working at the Ole Miss tailgate. (Photo submitted)

Another Chassaniol tailgating favorite for those early games.



1/2 pound smoked sausage, thinly sliced

1 cup diced cooked ham

1/2 pound sliced bacon, diced

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped ( we used red and yellow today )

3 cups chopped fresh tomato

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 cups water

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

1 cup yellow stone-ground grits

1 cup (or more) shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add sausage, ham and bacon.  Cook and stir until browned.  Remove the meat from the pan and set aside until later.

Use the grease in the pan to saute the onion and bell pepper.  Add the tomatoes and garlic powder, mixing well at a slow saute until the onions seem tender.  Pour in the water, and add the salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if desired.  Bring to a boil.

Gradually stir in the grits.  Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Stir frequently, until the mixture thickens,  5 to 10 minutes.

Return the meat to the pot, and stir in the cheese.  Heat through and stir well until the cheese is melted throughout.

This is a great dish for a hearty breakfast meal or a morning tailgate when the Rebels play at 11 a.m.



Tammy Chapman, Mimi Taylor and Christie Ogden tailgating in the Grove. (Photo submitted)







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