The phrases “NASCAR” and “gourmet cooking” don’t seem to be a natural fit. But, as someone who
has traveled to a few auto races, I can tell you that people going to these events generally prefer camping out near the track to staying at a hotel. I know, it’s nuts. But when you’re camping out, you have to be responsible for your own food. For those not content to scarf a hot dog or munch on a bag of chips, celebrated chef Mario Batali has provided a guide to fine trackside dining, Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style.
The book contains recipes on everything from the expected (steaks, burgers, chicken wings) to the more highbrow (lobsters in limoncello vinaigrette). As with any food book, the best things here are the photos, which, though apparently taken trackside, are quite sumptuous. Also, many recipes appear easy enough so that even the most rushed trackside gourmet can handle them. Although, in his recipe for Brats, Batali apparently prefers not to simmer his bratwursts in beer before grilling. Personally, I feel this is a mistake, but to each his own.
Mario Tailgates is fun and will provide you with plenty of ideas for all of your tailgating needs. Because just because you’re sleeping on an old air mattress in a sweaty tent within spitting distance of a gang drunken racing fans, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat in style.