TAILGATING is one of my favorite past times; be it at a GT football game, Atlanta Braves baseball game or even a random horse race the friends, foods, sun and general atmosphere can’t be beat. Here are some tips to make your tailgating experience less stressful and more fun:

• Find a cheap basket (like at IKEA) and declare it your tailgating basket. Keep your supplies there so instead of running around last minute gathering things you have a go to supply center. In mine I always keep a roll of paper towels, cups, paper plates, plastic utensils and a bottle opener.  Put the basket in  your laundry room or some other out of the way place when not in use.
• As mentioned above always take a roll of paper towels. They are a better choice than napkins because they don’t blow away and it is easier to carry more.
• Keep it simple, don’t try and please everyone; choose one or two dishes that you know are great. I had a hard time getting used to this, but you have to remember you are outside, not in your kitchen, and it is a sporting event. It will be impossible to cater to everyone’s tastes or dietary restrictions.
• Always take a cocktail…a tailgate is nothing without a signature drink!
• Depend on other people – delegate responsibilities of food, drink, and supplies. Tailgates are more fun when everyone brings something; it gives you topics of conversations (recipe sharing) and makes it less stressful!

TRAVELING AND COOKING can be a little stressful at first, but plan ahead and it becomes smooth sailing.
• Start thinking what you want to make ahead of time. This way you can make a list of groceries that you need to buy or supplies that you need to take. A little research can go a long way so call ahead to the hotel/cabin/wherever to find out if you should take your sharp knife or kitchen towels or if they are supplied there.
• Don’t throw away your packing check list once you are packed and ready to go, keep it with you and use it as your return packing list when you are getting ready to go home to ensure you don’t leave anything.
• Lay all of your supplies out on the floor of your house, don’t just start packing stuff in a cooler or bag as it may be the inappropriate size. Setting it all out together will make it easier to visualize what you need to pack in. There are 2 pictures below, the first is all my supplies laid out next to their possible packages and the second is everything packed up, when I took the trip and created Breakfast Burritos for a crowd.
• Also in the pictures below, notice the koozies, kitchen towels, chips, ketchup, cayenne pepper, plastic silver wear…when preparing for a trip run through a normal day in your mind and think about the small things that you use, but make a big difference. I can’t stand not having a koozie around my can, not being able to wipe my hands when cooking or running out of spices or silver wear so for me it was important to throw these things in. Think about what is important to you and remember to pack those things.
• Depend on other people – delegate responsibilities of food, drink, and supplies. Just like tailgating it makes it more fun and gives you topics of conversation with less stress!