Eating the Opponent: Minnesota

For newcomers: We have a fun culinary tradition in our family. During the NFL season, we look at the Packers schedule, see who they are playing, and then plan to “eat the opponent” by serving local fare – the other team’s local fare. It’s a little tougher for our North Division opponents because our Packers face them twice every year – three times if it happens again in the playoffs.

The Minnesota Vikings are probably settling in for a nice long nap downtown in my fair city right now as I’m blogging. Consider the following: It’s about a 45 minute drive from our downtown to Lambeau Field, Green Bay hotels often fill up as soon as the schedule is released in the spring, and what opponent wants to stay in Packerland City surrounded by cheeseheads, anyway? The jokes on them, really. We have as high a percentage of Cheeseheads as Green Bay itself. But I was talking about food.

My go-to default for Minnesota games is wild rice. I can cook it as a side dish, stir it into a hotdish, or just about anything. Wild rice is delicious. When former Packer Brett Favre donned the dreaded purple and played for the Vikings, we served turnovers for breakfast. Long time fans will understand. This time around, I was searching. Simply making wild rice on the side didn’t feel like enough.

I did a quick Internet search for Minnesota game – hunting game, that is. I printed a list of game animals that are hunted in Minnesota, tucked the list in my purse, and headed to a nearby corner meat market. Everyone should have a corner meat market. It’s just an awesome little place. But I was talking about Minnesota.

I bought a pound of ground elk meat. It was pricey, but can you put a price on a Packer victory? Never mind. Don’t answer that. I pondered the possibilities, and by the time I pulled in the driveway (5 minutes later) I’d decided: Elk chili.

At this moment, while the Vikings are staying in a hotel with a restaurant called Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse, I’ve browned the elk meat and I’m cooking a pan of home grown tomatoes for sauce. It’ll simmer in the crock pot all day long while I’m in school. If I do this Wisconsin style, Amigo will add noodles to it late in the afternoon. And there you have it: Eating the Opponent — Minnesota, with a Wisconsin twist.

Go! Pack! Go!

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