Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Recipes and Photography courtesy of “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook.” Copyright © 2016 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Whether you’re tailgating at the stadium or cheering from home, this fan-friendly guide makes game day eats as exciting as the game itself. There’s no one better to deliver that experience than Daina Falk. A nationally recognized game day expert, cook, and lifelong fan who grew up in the world of sports, Daina combines her passions for sports, food, and sports fan culture to create more than 150 simply delicious fangating recipes along with advice on how to fangate like a pro. You’ll find classics like slow-cooked ribs and sky-high stadium chili alongside fresh twists on much-loved dishes and flavors inspired by local traditions.
Professional athletes including LeBron James, Andre Agassi, Boomer Esiason, Michael Jordan and more contribute their own favorite recipes as well. With insider anecdotes about life as the daughter of a famous sports agent, heaps of athlete stats, and info about stadiums, this cookbook is the perfect gift for sports fans of all stripes who love to eat—and those who love to cook for them.
Daina Falk grew up surrounded by professional athletes who were clients of her sports agent father, David Falk. Daina created Hungry Fan, Fangating, and other brands that marry sports and food for the ultimate fan experience. On her website HungryFan.com, she covers a wide range of topics, including tailgating recipes, athlete spotlights, and more.
A few days ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Daina. Excerpts of our interview follow.
VIP: There are quite a few tailgate cookbooks. What sets your book apart from the rest?
Daina Falk (DF): The easiest way to answer that question is that part of it is my personal story growing up around athletes, and my mother says when I was in the womb I traveled with her on an exhibition tour with some NBA players. I have done this quite literally since I was born. I have forged fantastic lasting relationships with athletes that have lasted until now. I have been really big on sports since I was a small kid. The main thing that sets my book apart from all the other tailgate books is that many of these athletes were gracious and generous enough to share recipes with me. You will find 165 recipes. Forty of the recipes were collected from professional athletes whom I know personally.
VIP: Are there any new tailgate trends this season?
DF: I’ve been reading about some interesting new stackable coolers that I found on Kickstarter that stack on top of each other. They are called stckbls.
I have created a Hungry Fangating Bag for slow cooking. In essence it is a thermal bag that will keep foods cold or hot. You may also use it as a slow cooker, but the product does not come with a pot. The cost is $57.00. You may order this bag on hungryfan.com.
VIP: Give our readers an overview of your book, which was released in August of 2016.
DF: In the book you’ll find delicious game day recipes, but some recipes are great for week nights or school nights.
Some recipes have asterisks where I have made notes to make the foods healthier, but it won’t drastically change the recipe. Also, when I reached out to well-known athlete friends, I asked them what they would serve at their own football party to friends and family. The recipes they shared with me are in this book. The recipes are an interesting mix—cheesy, meaty and a few, like the recipe of LeBron James, are very healthy. He shared his recipe for Pregame Honey-Lime Sriracha Salmon.
In the headnotes of every recipe readers will learn the origin of the recipe. On game days I like to serve a recipe, usually a healthy recipe, for each team. These recipes are great, but if you serve them four days a week or more, you’ll have a weight problem!
Note: The book contains planning menus, packing snacks and finding top stadium eats.
VIP: Was your dream team of athletes including LeBron James, Boomer Esiason, Andre Agassi and Dikembe Mutombo eager to contribute their signature recipes and stories or were any of their recipes secret recipes not to be shared with the public?
DF: Yes, they were very willing to share their story and recipe. I got Dikembe to cook with me on camera. You may see the video on YouTube on The Hungry Fan.
VIP: Give me an example of a short, uncomplicated, yummy tailgate recipe.
DF: I came up with a recipe called Blind Dates, which are delicious. The recipe has salty cheese, crunchy but crispy bacon, and the dates are moist and dumped in spiced dark chocolate. These dates may be served as an appetizer or a dessert.
VIP: Share a tip for stadium eats.
DF: Know the concessionaire and go to that site.
What to Know
The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook: 165 Recipes for Eating, Drinking & Watching Sports by Daina Falk
Order online at Amazon, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.
For more information, visit hungryfan.com. This site covers a wide range of topics including tailgating recipes, athlete spotlights and more.