- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2003

Looking for an early holiday present? A tasty suggestion is “Tailgates to Touchdowns” ($18.95, Willing Vessel Books, 80 pages, illus.), a new football-oriented cookbook with recipes that should make the season bearable for the fans of even losing teams. Only don’t wait for December. Consider it a belated Labor Day gift and wrap it up while the season — football, that is — remains in its early stages.

Author Nina Swan-Kohler, a nutritionist and culinary professional from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says most of the recipes can be prepared in less than 30 minutes for tailgate or TV room gobblers. Trouble is, the color pictures that accompany most of the dishes look so good that on-scene fans might never make it from the parking lot to their seats.

Swan-Kohler says her love of football started when her two brothers taught her how to play when she was 5. “Since I was the only girl, my mother insisted we play with a new rule,” she adds. “The boys had to hug me rather than tackle me.”

Because I’m more into eating than cooking, I can’t vouch for how easy her dishes are to make, but they certainly look easy. And I love some of the names she has attached. For instance:

cCheesy Pigs in a Blanket. For fans of the Redskins, this might be the closest thing to the old Hogs they’ll see all season.

cEasy Creamy Italian Herb Spread. This might remind longtime Redskins watchers of what frequently happened to kick returner Herb Mul-Key when he played here in the early ‘70s, even if he wasn’t Italian.

cBowl Game Chili. The spelling is a little different, but this is what fans will be if the NFL ever ordains a Super Bowl in Washington or New York.

• Touchdown Turnovers. Problem is, they don’t go together,

There’s much more, ranging from appetizers to desserts, and all of it seems to beat hot dogs and burgers by a mile or two. Each recipe includes an “Extra Point,” or cooking tip.

The book is available on the Web at www.tailgatestotouchdowns.com or by writing Tailgates to Touchdowns, P.O. Box 11151, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52410 (include $3 for shipping and handling and make check payable to Tailgates to Touchdowns).

A sample recipe:

Cheesy Pigs In Blankets (top)

⅔ cup shortening

2 cups low-protein self-rising flour

1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix.

1 cups buttermilk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.)

1 lb. mini smoked sausages (about 48)

In large bowl, using pastry blender or two knives, cut shortening into flour and cornmeal mix until shortening pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in buttermilk and cheese until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto surface dusted with additional flour. Fold dough in half 5 to 7 times to knead (do not overwork dough), adding just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Divide dough into 6 balls. Gently roll out each ball to -inch thickness (about a 6-inch circle). Using a pizza cutter, cut each circle into 8 wedges. Place smoked sausage on rounded side of each wedge. Roll dough around sausage toward center. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 500 for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 48 appetizers.

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