It's a widely held misapprehension that fin de annum days filled noon to nightcap with respectable bowl game matchups are taken advantage of by the masses as an excuse for listless consumption of alcohol. There are lies, dirty lies, and statistics. There may be numbers that, when read from a particularly prudish viewpoint, show that a slate of football games between non conference teams played at a time of year when less Americans are toiling away at their place of employment more beer, wine, and liquor than normal are consumed. Those figures should be considered in the context of civilizational development. We do not drink alcohol because of football. We play football because of alcohol.
And that's just the beginning. There's a very good case for blaming the whole of civilization on booze. At some point one of our ancestors, or more likely many of our ancestors at various times, rested. They sat at one place for a bit longer than was their custom. The hunting and gathering was foregone for a bit of luxuriating amidst a found plenty and a pile of fruit was left to rot. A particularly fun night was had.
Someone put one and one together, realized that if left alone sugary things turn stinky and then a bit bitter but if you mix it with another sugary thing your date will like it. Much brain power was employed in the furtherance of dating and it was generally agreed upon that less nomading and more experimenting was in order. So we hunkered down.
Thus was fermentation properly appreciated for the first time in history and, as the impetus for agriculture, civilization was born.
I image that things were rough for beer makers in the beginning. For more time than anyone could remember there were only hunter gatherers. "I'm quitting my job and starting a brewery." is wishful thinking these days. But the modern mid-life crisisee has the advantage of a 401K, a home equity loan, and the welfare state to borrow against or fall back on. "Try this liquefied smelly food," was likely a hard sell in the stone age.
Prehistoric alcohol advocates no doubt faced the same problems that today's pro marijuana lobby face. "Hemp can be used to make [insert noun] at a much better price than [insert disreputable noun] and it's [sutainable/biodegradable]." But we all know they just want to get high.
"Grain isn't just for beer." says the entrepreneurial former hunter gatherer with a comb over, " It can be used to make..." and then someone made bread. What a brutal rebut to all those claiming the ur-argricuturists just wanted to sit around and get high.
Yada yada yada, we get to watch football from our couch and enjoy bread based snacks that absorb the alcohol that allowed for the development of civilization and thus the emergence of our most beloved of violent sports.
New Year's Eve boasts Ole Miss vs. TCU, Arizona vs. Boise State, and Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi State. Many opportunities for civilizing forces to hold undo sway. Sit back and relax. As Homer notes, alcohol is "The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems." It makes high proof liquids that result in questionable decisions as much as it makes stomach filling loaves that absorb liquid delusion.
So let's put stuff on bread.
Jalapeno Lime Chicken on Pita
- 4 6" Pita Bread
- 2 cooked, shredded precooked Chicken Breast
- 1 Jalapeno, diced with seeds
- 1 ear Corn, shaved
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- juice of 6 Limes
- 1 pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Olive Oil
Mix the lime juice, jalapenos, and garlic with olive oil and salt to taste.
Sautee the corn and scallions in olive oil for a minute or two and toss with chicken, grape tomatoes and lime juice jalapeno dressing. Brush the pita with olive oil, top with chicken and vegetable mixture and mozzarella and cook in a preheated 400 oven until mozzarella melts.
Serve this to friends and be king of your particular hill.
- Baguette, sliced
- Olive Oil
Bake the baguette for two minutes at 400, pull out, brush with olive oil, and salt. Back in the oven for two more minutes and then...
You can top it with just about anything. Hopefully you won't. Just about anything is likely to suck. Tried and true helps. Traditional toppings include:
- Diced Roma tomatoes with minced garlic, olive oil, basil, and mozzarella
- Tapenade (pureed black olives with garlic, capers, basil., lemon juice [optional anchovy and a splash of brandy])
- Mashed Anchovies and Garlic with Olive Oil and Parsley
- Minced Mushrooms sautéed in Butter with Shallots and Herbs
- Smoked Salmon on Cream Cheese with minced Red Onion and Dill
- Bacon and Peanut Butter. Not Kidding. Not Elvis. Just Good.
- Pesto, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto
It's healthy that society should celebrate something important. But let's not lose track of the natural order of things. We don't drink beer because of amazing days full of bowl games. We have amazing days of bowl games because of the civilizing effects of beer.