Tender, Strong & True

October 17, 2018
2 mins read

Can’t believe we’re already almost halfway through the college football season and I haven’t mentioned football once in this esteemed column. In fact, it’s quite incredible that I’ve been able to resist the temptation to go on and on about the big games, the merits of one conference at the expense of another and how laughably mediocre the big three Florida schools have shown themselves to be this year. But have no fear—the time has come for me to break my silence, so read on and don’t be offended just because I might tell you that your team stinks (sorry, FSU).

A couple weekends ago, I finally attended my first 2018 game, and what a banner game it was. It was a prime-time match-up of the No. 7 and No. 8 ranked teams in the nation at the time. Yep! The annual and always electrifying Notre Dame vs Stanford skirmish. It’s hard to ask for anything more in life (or football) than witnessing two venerable rivals compete under the lights in one of the nation’s most iconic venues. And needless to say the Irish took care of business and manhandled the loathsome Cardinal.

Of course, the game itself is only part of the fun of attending college football games. At Notre Dame, football Game Day begins bright and early on a Friday morning when fans, parents and alumni begin invading the campus. Friday events center around the bookstore where there are several meet-and-greet opportunities with celebs (I met an astronaut at one of these), games, face-painting, cheerleader photo ops and, naturally, an unfathomably diverse amount of ND-inspired souvenirs.

More events are campus tours, stadium tours and, finally, a huge pep rally where thousands cheer on the team on Game Day Eve. On game day itself, it gets even more intense. Besides all the parking lot tailgating, ND holds many time-honored events such as the traditional trumpets under the dome, the raucous drumline and, of course, following the marching band into the stadium. Oh, I forgot to mention one really important aspect of the game day celebration: THE FOOD! The aroma of grilling meats fills the air with such an intensity your mouth cries out—it can only be satiated by the immediate scarfing of as many brats and burgers as your ever-expanding waistline can hold! I’m sure other big football schools have similar hooplas. So, with the memory of smoky, perfectly caramelized, grilled meat in mind, I’ll share a Cheffed-Up yogurt-and-sumac marinade for chicken kabobs. It’s not really game-day brats, but damn tasty anyway.


Chef Bill’s Yogurt & Sumac Marinade


•3 garlic cloves, minced

•1 lemon, zest and juice

•1 ginger, grated

•2 tsp. smoked paprika

•1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

•2 tsp. sumac

•1 tbsp. chopped parsley

•1 tsp. sugar

•2 tbsp. preserved lemon, diced

•1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

•5 oz. plain yogurt (not Greek)

•3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch cubes

•Salt & pepper to taste


1. Place all ingredients except yogurt and chicken in a Cuisinart. Pulse a few times, then add yogurt and process until smooth. Salt & pepper to taste.

2. Mix all with the chicken, then marinate overnight.


Email Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Fernandina’s Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at cheffedup@folioweekly.com, for inspiration and to get Cheffed-Up!

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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