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A scrumptious spread that’s easy to prep before kickoff

  • Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

    Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sweet and hot strike the perfect balance in these pickles, great on a sandwich or on the side. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

    Sweet and hot strike the perfect balance in these pickles, great on a sandwich or on the side. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Bacon, eggs and potatoes come together in a side salad that's satisfying on its own. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

    Bacon, eggs and potatoes come together in a side salad that's satisfying on its own. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Chewy, dark chocolate cookies and ice cream put those school cafeteria ice cream sandwiches to shame. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

    Chewy, dark chocolate cookies and ice cream put those school cafeteria ice cream sandwiches to shame. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

    Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)
  • Sweet and hot strike the perfect balance in these pickles, great on a sandwich or on the side. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)
  • Bacon, eggs and potatoes come together in a side salad that's satisfying on its own. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)
  • Chewy, dark chocolate cookies and ice cream put those school cafeteria ice cream sandwiches to shame. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)
  • Easy and inexpensive, these pork sliders are perfect to feed a hungry crowd. (Courtesy Ellise Pierce/MCT)

The thermostat may still read summer, but when it’s September, it’s football season.

Which means putting out a game-day spread that’s easy to make ahead of time so you get to the more serious business of the day — face painting, coordinating matching outfits in team colors with your mate and, in Texas, placing bets on how many times Jerry Jones will say “Super Bowl” in his pre— and post-game interviews.

Admittedly, I never watched much football in America or paid much attention to the football games when I lived in France, either — and by football, of course, I mean soccer, a game that has always seemed more interesting to me simply because of the outfits — so I’m a little in the dark on the game particulars no matter where I am.

In France, as far as I know, le foot never included any sort of pregame tailgate party, or even a gathering of friends for an all-afternoon soiree. In fact, when I went to the movies in Paris, I hardly ever witnessed anyone eating while watching the film. Which is typical. In France, food — and dining together — is an occasion in itself. The only thing I saw people eating on the street was the end of a baguette.

I don’t claim to know much about football, but I love the idea of a party, no matter what the occasion. Melty cheese dip and tortilla chips are fine - and I’ve certainly eaten plenty — but to celebrate this year’s football season, I wanted to come up with a menu that was a bit more meaty, yet as simple to prepare as a microwavable dip. Or just about.

So I thought: pulled-pork sliders, little barbecue-ish sandwiches with sweet jalapeño-spiked pickles, and a bacon-potato salad that’s a lot like one my mom used to make. Food that’s as filling as you want it to be, because those games can go on (and on). Plus a dessert that’s fun and not fussy: ice cream sandwiches - easy to make and even easier to eat.

With a spread like this, I could surely become a football fan. Anywhere in the world.

Is it time for kickoff yet?

Related

Pulled-Pork Sliders

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Makes 15 to 20 sliders A super-easy and inexpensive recipe that you put together the day before the big game. For the sliders: 1 heaping teaspoon ground mustard 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons brown sugar 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder 15 to 20 small buns or rolls Sweet jalapeño-spiked pickles …

Sweet Jalapeño-Spiked Pickles

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Makes about 18 ounces 1 (16-ounce) jar dill pickle slices, drained 2 heaping tablespoons pickled and chopped jalapeños, with about 1 cup of the juice from the jar 1 cup sugar Mix together pickles, jalapeños and sugar. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with pulled-pork sliders. …

Bacon-Potato Salad

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Makes 4 to 6 servings 1 ½ pounds potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into 3-inch chunks 2 eggs 3 pieces bacon, cooked till crispy and crumbled 2 green onions, chopped 1/3 cup Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons good mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard Sea salt and pepper 1. Heat potatoes in a large pot with salted water. …

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