Lydia's Tailgate Kitchen

A favorite Edwards family tradition is tailgating at Mississippi State University. Nothing gives me more joy than riding on the trolley to Giles Hall and walking ever so slowly to our tailgate.  You get to smell the grills firing up, see who has the best decorations (maroon mums in a pumpkin are just my favorite), wave to local friends, catch up with those who visit during a game, and lastly just swoon over all things maroon and white. I mean it really just doesn’t get any better than that. It is what I consider a true picture of good ole Southern tradition. I clearly remember my very first tailgate at MSU. Our family was living in Meridian at the time and a long time church member, Lamar McDonald, called my father and said, “Let’s go to Starkville on Saturday!”  My dad, brother, and I loaded up in his navy blue Crown Victoria and headed to Starkville. We got to Starkville and Mr. Lamar popped the trunk and, have mercy; you should have seen the spread! We had fried chicken and all the fixings. I, to this day, don’t know how it looked so immaculate after a 1.5 hour drive. We enjoyed our tailgate, closed the trunk, and headed to the game. I remember where our seats were and even wearing a maroon ribbon in my hair along with my ever so popular American Eagle maroon and white shirt. I am so thankful for Mr. Lamar and my father for introducing me to tailgating. It is a tradition that I hope that our boys will enjoy, too. 

For me, tailgating is about community. Our little tailgate consists of several FBC families, and it is a true picture of how we get to live life together. Not only is it a time to catch up, but a time to be intentional in cultivating meaningful relationships in my life, a time for our children to grow together, a time for momma to take a break, a time to put on those little maroon stickers on sweaty faces, a time to celebrate a birthday, a time to just stop and enjoy fellowship. It certainly can be messy on days when it is 97 degrees with ZERO breeze, surrounded by agaggle of non-napped little kiddos, watching icing slide down your ever-so-well-thought out Kroger birthday cake, but I choose to embrace the mess and enjoy the day.

Just a couple of weeks ago we pulled out the tablecloths and had the most fabulous tailgate! It was the weekend of the youth fundraiser and our chefs for the game, Kerri Wardlaw and Erin Hammett, helped support our youth and served their pulled pork with all the trimmings. The ladies got everything set up, complete with maroon mums, and we were ready to tailgate. Kerri and Erin served pulled pork on sliders, baked beans, slaw, corn dip, and Amy Fountain contributed a scrumptious chicken ball.  I texted all of the ladies for their coveted recipes and have listed them below. On a couple of these I don’t have exact measurements. As my grandmother says, “You just kind of eyeball it!” I have decided that the measure of a talented cook is one that can truly just start splashing and dashing things and present a delicious masterpiece in the end. 


Baked Beans:

  • 4 to 5 cans of baked beans
  • About a ½ cup or so of brown sugar
  • Yellow mustard
  • Syrup
  • Ketchup
  • BBQ sauce
  • 4 to 5 slices of your favorite cut of bacon

    Combine all ingredients (except bacon) and pour into a sprayed 9x13 casserole dish and top with bacon. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. This is truly a trial and error kind of recipe. I like for my baked beans to have a smoky flavor. Therefore, I add more BBQ sauce. If you want more of a mustard base then add a few more splashes of mustard. If you like for them to be sweet, add more brown sugar. 

Cole Slaw:

  • One head of cabbage
  • About ¾ cup of mayo
  • ½ to ¾ cup of sweet pickles, chopped
  • Couple of squeezes of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Chop your cabbage in a food processor. Add other ingredients to your liking. You will want the texture of the slaw to be creamy. Serve cold. Helpful hint: Kerri and Erin filled a disposable pan with ice and placed the corn dip and slaw in that for serving. 

Corn Dip:

  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn
  • 1 can of original Rotel
  • 1-2 Tbs. of Tony’s
  • 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • Corn Chips

    Drain corn and Rotel. Combine all ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve with Fritos. 

Chicken Ball:

  • 2 blocks of cream cheese
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing
  • 1 large can of chicken, drained
  • Tony’s seasoning
  • Chopped pecans

    Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing, chicken, and Tony’s (to your liking) together. Form in the shape of a ball and roll in pecans. Serve cold and with your favorite snack cracker.