For many years now, it's been a tradition in my family to ring in the New Year by cooking up a huge pot of jambalaya and watching a full slate of college football bowl games. This tradition started when I was still in high school (or maybe middle school), and I've brought it with me to my homes in Chicago, New York, and now Charlottesville. Now, it's gotten to the point where I really can't imagine watching the Rose Bowl without chowing down on a big bowl of Cajun deliciousness.
In my mind, there's something of a natural match between the spicy awesomeness of Creole cooking and the all-American game of football (on a related note, I'd absolutely support the NFL if it decided that every Super Bowl ever must be played at the Superdome), and this year the pairing happens to be particularly apt. Why's that? Let ESPN's long-winded "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" Gregg Easterbrook explain:
This week's QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"The Saints played at the Superdome on Sunday, with the Sugar Bowl there on Tuesday, a Saints playoff game on Saturday and then the BCS title game next Monday night."
- ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook
Okay, seriously, the pot of leftover jambalaya in the fridge is nice and all, but I need to book myself a flight down to New Orleans, stat. The people of Bourbon Street (and its visitors) know how to throw a party, and this coming week might just set a new standard for a weeklong football and food/drink orgy--especially when you consider that Bayou favorite LSU happens to be playing in the BCS title game as the top team in the nation, squaring off against its former coach (and noted hypocrite) Nick Saban. I've seen the LSU folks party before, and they pretty much put the rest of the country to shame when it comes to throwing down.
New Orleans seriously might not be standing when this week is all said and done, but then... it's dealt with worse, hasn't it? I may hate the BCS, but I do love football, and I do love New Orleans. This week, for one week, they're one and the same.