I have been married to Mark for almost 20 years and if I have learned one thing, it’s that you must serve your gameday snacks before halftime. You never know which way it’s going to go with the Vols. They just break your heart sometimes.
I got hooked on Vol Ball when we first married in Reno, Nevada. Back then, the Vols were always in the Top Ten so they were on TV almost every week. The only thing was the games started like at nine in the morning because of the time zone difference and that led to some major adjustments. One of the first rules of Vol Ball is that you have to start drinking before the second half. It just seems to help the boys along. The other thing is that you are required to make fattening snacks. That also seems to give them a boost. So in Reno instead of beer and wine, we’d make us a pitcher of Bloody Mary’s and instead of ham dip and Frito Scoops, we’d have corned beef hash and English muffins slathered in butter. Needless to say the 330-pound linebackers didn’t have anything on us after a few seasons in Reno.
But here’s the deal. Even if you think the Vols are going to stomp all over their opponents and they’re 49-point favorites, the game can always go south. Let’s not even think about the time we played the University of Memphis. Lordy, that was bad. Mark just loses his appetite when we’re playing like, well you know what. Last season was so bad that we actually lost weight.
So today I made Ham and Cheese Appetizers. These are just legendary in the South. They’re loaded with butter and poppy seeds. Nobody else in the country understands what to do with poppy seeds like a Southern woman.
Here’s the recipe:
1 pan 1-inch by 2-inch dinner rolls (or the smallest ones you can find)
Swiss cheese slices
1 stick butter (no substitutions!) at room temperature
2 teaspoons Durkee’s sauce or ballpark mustard (Durkee’s preferred, naturally)
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Cut the rolls in half horizontally while they’re all in one piece. Mix up the butter, Durkee’s, onion, poppy seeds and Worcestershire sauce. Spread liberally on the bottom layer of rolls, reserving a little bit. Add a think layer of ham and a thin layer of cheese. Put the roll top on and then spread the reserved butter mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into individual sandwiches after baking.
I don’t know how today’s game is going to turn out. Right now, it’s not looking too good (which brings up another gameday regulation – if the boys are losing at halftime, I must switch TV sets or do something else like what I’m doing right now, writing about ham and cheese appetizers, to disrupt the bad mojo). I’m also into my second glass of wine so I’m definitely doing my part. There’s only so much one woman can do.