• Invitation Oxford

Game On!

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Whether you’re tailgating in the Grove or hosting a watch party, these dips and spreads turn into tantalizing game-day fare.

Written by Sarah McCullen | Photographed by Joe Worthem

“We may not win every game … but we ain’t never lost a party.”

Week after week in the fall, the Grove turns into a buzzing hive of rowdy fans, scrumptious snacks and extravagant set-ups, all to celebrate the Rebels. Even if Ole Miss is away playing at Death Valley or Bryant-Denny Stadium, the spirit of the season is sustained with watch parties complete with the same amenities.

Successful parties, however, take some strategizing — especially when they happen several Saturdays in a row. Here are some tips and recipes to ensure that you ace the party with ease every weekend.

A repertoire of versatile recipes makes entertaining easy. Delectable dips and spreads, like these provided by Bottletree Bakery’s Cynthia Gerlach, store well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks. Impress your guests and avoid flavor fatigue with their endless uses and unique pairings. Breads for all recipes are available at Bottletree Bakery.

Feta Spread

Whip up this feta spread and serve with crudites and assorted crackers, or slather it on white bread with sliced cucumbers. Cut the sandwiches into squares or use a cookie cutter for surprising shapes, and serve garnished with a red pepper and a toothpick.

  • 8 ounces feta

  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese

  • ¾ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix with a fork until creamy.

Black Olive Tapenade

Spread on a thinly sliced baguette, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toast for 5 minutes at 350°F to make a crostini. Or, add to a roll with ham, salami and provolone cheese for a scrumptious slider.

  • 8.5-ounce jar of Kalamata olives

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Drain the olives, gently pressing with a fork to ensure all pits are removed. Place olives in a food processor, then add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and black pepper. Gently pulse until coarsely pureed. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture while pulsing to form a paste.

Hell Yeah Sauce

Spread on a sandwich with lettuce and your choice of meat and bread, or serve as a dip with chips. This sauce is also great for dipping chicken fingers or pigs-in-a-blanket.

  • ½ medium yellow onion

  • 5-6 cloves of garlic

  • 3 tablespoons turmeric

  • 3 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

  • ½ cup yellow mustard

  • ½ cup dill relish

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Pulse the onion and garlic in food processor until finely minced. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.

Bacon-wrapped Rosemary Garlic Sourdough

These savory morsels are flavorful enough to enjoy on their own, or they can accompany any of the sauces included here. Serve them as a side at a brunch-time tailgate or as an evening appetizer.

  • Cream cheese, softened

  • Rosemary garlic bread, sliced

  • Black pepper

  • Bacon, sliced in half

Spread softened cream cheese on rosemary garlic bread and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Top with another slice of bread, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Wrap the bite using a half piece of bacon, securing it in place with a toothpick. Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes, or until bacon is slightly crispy.

Consider venturing away from the classic red and blue. For a clean look, opt for white and creamy hues, but create interest by featuring metal, wood and other textiles in your serving pieces and floral arrangements.

Turn your tailgate into a relaxing picnic. Spread out a quilt, turn the game on the radio or outdoor television and snack and chat as you cheer on the Rebs.

To create height, stack different-sized cake plates. The different materials also create eclectic drama.

Give beverages their own spotlight by separating them from the food. Set up an ice bucket, fill pitchers with your favorite libations and always have water on hand. Early games get hot.

Go buffet-style. Place platters of food on a large table and let guests graze as they please. Provide plates for those who like a more traditional-style meal.

Copper-colored utensils offer a unique and elegant look.

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Oxford, Mississippi | United States

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