If you ask Notre Dame football fans what smell they most associate with a game day walk around campus, brats would probably take the cake, so to speak.
I don’t eat brats. Or hot dogs. Or sausages. Or those steak sandwiches sold by the Knights of Columbus that people wait in an endless line for on South Quad. I do eat burgers, but rarely. And chowing down on pizza at a football game strikes me as wrong; about as wrong as my brats-cake mixed message.
For several years, my dislike of traditional football fare left me with fairly limited options for a pre-kickoff meal at ND stadium. Generally I’d settle for a box of popcorn. Until, that is, the 2013 season. Suddenly, the stadium was alive with options — along with the usual burgers and brats and sweet treats like Dippin’ Dots or candied nuts, you could get hand-carved prime rib or turkey breast or corned beef sandwiches; churros; pot roast and pork tenderloin sandwiches; jalapeno poppers; and Bavarian handmade pretzels. Supposedly there’s even a stand that offers noodles with fresh vegetables, although I never saw it.
Finally, I found my football food nirvana. As my husband and I strolled around, checking out the new menus, we spotted a stand offering hand-carved turkey sandwiches on a fresh and not overly heavy roll. With, if you wish, cheese, lettuce and tomato. And a heaping side of kettle chips. Yes! A semi-healthy choice that still tastes good even when the temps dip below 20 degrees and that ginormous, flavorful hamburger offered at a nearby stand has turned into a beef popsicle.
I think I’m ready for some football.
Carol Schaal is managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine. Email her at email@example.com.