Having friends over for a night of root-root-rooting for the home team? You can make traditional baseball foods that will trigger on the nostalgia of heading to the ballpark. Each item will remind your guests of all the great traditions that go along with America’s Pastime.
There is something about the leisurely pace of a ballgame that makes people feel like snacking. I mean, it is right there in the song: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!” Your guests will love it if you have some of both on hand for your party. You can buy red and white striped popcorn bags or plastic containers from the dollar store.
In the shell peanuts are usually sold in the bulk foods section of your grocery store. Remember to have an empty container placed near the peanuts so guests can easily dispose of the shells.
After all that salty snack food, your guests are probably thirsty. Most baseball fans are accustomed to putting back a cold one (or more) while watching a game. Instead of beer from the bottle, serve your guests a beer cocktail. A mixture of beer, fresh lime juice, and ginger ale makes for a refreshing beverage to get you through all nine innings (or more).
Hot dogs are the quintessential stadium food. They are tasty, portable, and can be eaten with one hand while wearing a foul ball-catching glove on your other hand. Every MLB team has their own version of the classic hot dog. In Detroit, we cover the dog with Coney Sauce and onions. Pro Tip: Don’t EVER look up the ingredients in traditional Coney Sauce. Some things are better left unknown.
The d@mn Yankees are hot dog purists. The dog MUST be a Nathan’s hot dog topped with yellow mustard and onions. At Wrigley you can get a Chicago-style hot dog topped with tomatoes, mustard, pickles, relish, onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. If you don’t wear some of it home, you are eating it wrong.
At your party, you can choose to serve the type of dog specific to your home team, or you can let your guests experiment by offering a Build Your Own Hot Dog bar. We did that for my son’s 2nd birthday party, which had a baseball theme. Put out a few signs with the “recipes” for different stadiums’ specialties along with small bowls filled with a wide variety of hot dog toppings. Interactive party food is always a homerun.
An alternative to serving the classic dog is the Brewers bratwurst. Brats are a Wisconsin staple, and Miller Park serves Klement’s sausage exclusively. Klement’s is also the sponsor of the Famous Racing Sausages™ that entertain visitors at each home Brewers game. You have not lived until you have 1) seen five grown adults wearing sausage costumes racing down the foul line of a baseball field and 2) been emotionally invested in the results of the race.
To get the most authentic brat experience, choose all beef bratwurst – Klement’s and Johnsonville are both Wisconsin-based companies. Before grilling, place the brats in a medium-sized pot and pour in a beer. Add enough water to the pot to cover the brats, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the brats for at least 15 minutes and for up to an hour. Remove the brats from the cooking liquid, and grill till done. Serve the brat on a split bun with kraut and brown mustard. Wash it all down with a cold one.
For a sweet finish to the meal, these Cracker Jack cupcakes are the real deal, and they are a cinch to make. It’s all the flavor you remember from your childhood, just kicked up a notch.
Send leftovers home with your guests in some easy baseball takeout boxes. Tuck a package of baseball cards in each container as an extra surprise!
This post was originally created for ForRent.com
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