My Beloved Osito,
After a month long hiatus from Miami football, The U is back in action for bowl season. This time of year is bittersweet for all college football fans. While you get a month of nonstop action with some intriguing match ups across conferences and the College Football Playoffs, it signals the end. The U’s final game will take place at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando against an old foe from their Big East days, the West Virginia Mountaineers. Just like the The U, we also spent the end of our “season” in Florida. We traveled to Miami to be with your grandmother (Wella) and Aunt (Titi) and the rest of Mami’s family for the holidays.
The game meal for this match up, honestly, had nothing to do with the game. Partly because their mascot, a Mountaineer, and the state aka the Mountain State, did not intrigue me to explore food possibilities. However, the main reason was because your Titi made a request. With that request, Chicken and Waffles were on the menu and a brunch style game meal felt right being in Miami.
The U came into the game on a 4 game win streak and it felt like they were intent on earning their first bowl win in 10 years. Sadly, I was a freshman the last time The U won a bowl game. For us, game day began with a Miami style “Weekend Adventure” to South Beach for your Wella’s birthday. The game was on a Wednesday, but it falls under the theme.
To start the game, there were some good and bad moments. The bad revolved around the offense’s inability to do anything and they were out of sync in every aspect going “3 and out” on most of their drives. However, the good part was an impressive defensive effort, despite no help from the offense. They were able to hold a high powered offense, ~490 yards and 31 points a game, to 7 in the half. The adventure started with brunch at the “Local House”, picked by Mami. It was a really nice and intimate spot, but sitting intimately with an 18 month child that wants to touch everything makes for an adventure in itself (looking at you). Despite having to remove utensils, cups and the flower center piece out of your reach and you trying to throw your toys into Titi’s coffee, you embraced the Miami brunch life effortlessly.
Things finally turned around for the offense when they exploded for 21 straight points with 6:30 left in the 2nd quarter. The U went into the half leading 21 to 7. Following brunch, we made our way to the beach through the breathtaking South Pointe Park. Watching you on the beach for the first time was, well, hilariously memorable. Initially, you refused to put your feet in the sand, but by the end you didn’t want leave. Add in cruising around in your ‘Smartrike’ bike and running through the splash pad to remove the sand and you have the making of an epic weekend adventure.
The second half of the game was pure bliss. The U was able to dominate in all three phases of the game and cruised to a 31 to 14 win. While the victory was very nice and The U finally ended the season on a high note, the victory meant a great deal more to the future of the program. For the first time in a long time, it feels like “The U is Back!” (::inhales::) Let me not get ahead of myself, this game showed that there is a real possibility that The U is on the right track to being relevant in the ACC and on the national stage for years to come. Much like the game, the weekend adventure ended on a high note with a game meal that rates a 7 out 10 and this time there were more judges. It wasn’t higher because I couldn’t get YOU to eat the waffle, instead you would put it in your mouth and then throw it on the floor. My guess was because it didn’t have syrup on it.
This marks the end of the 2017 season of “Food & Football”. This year’s season we saw the good, the bad and the ugly both on and off the field and it showed. From teeth getting knocked out and win streaks (on the field) to weekend adventures, quality family time and good and not so good food (off the field). Next year we’ll be praying and working towards better things on but most importantly off the field. The countdown begins to September 2018.
1. While holding a shifter over a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, 3 tablespoon (TBS) sugar and another cup of flour on top.
2. In another bowl melt 2 oz (= 4 TBS = 1/2 stick) of butter and mix together 15 oz of milk or buttermilk, 3 eggs and splash of vanilla.
3. Pour the liquid mix into the dry ingredients and mix slightly. (I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I pour the liquid in so I don’t make a bigger mess with the flour lest your Mami chop my head off).
4. Let the batter set for ~5 min and then spoon/pour into a hot waffle iron. Cover with nonstick spray if needed, and cook for specified time.
1. Take washed chicken wings and/or breast and cut the breast in half and (if desired) the drumette from the flat. I’m not sure if those are official terms, but that’s what I’ve always heard
2. Marinate in Italian salad dressing, Cajun seasoning, Adobo and a little pepper. The longer the better.
3. Preheat oil to 400 degrees in a skillet. I use an electric skillet and take it outside. (The first time Mami made me, but now I do it because I prefer to not have the house wreak of fried food smell for days.
4. Take two bowls and add flour, Cajun seasoning and dried parsley to one and in the other bowl add an egg, a splash of milk, and hot sauce.
5. Take the chicken and dredge it in the flour and then in the egg mixture, then back in the flour.
6. When you have a few place them in the oil until cooked thoroughly and golden.
Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”