The 70th Iroquois Steeplechase

Another May weekend upon us, which means another day of horse racing! Tomorrow Nashvillians will flock to Percy Warner Park to celebrate the running of the 70th Iroquois Steeplechase, and I’ll be right smack in the middle of them for all the festivities.  Our spots on Millionaire’s Row at the Kentucky Derby were quite different than our spots at Steeplechase. This time instead of watching the action from the 6th floor next to the governor of the state, we’ll be under a tent, on the grass, in the center of the track. The Infield, my favorite place to be.

My husband and I have hosted the tailgating party for our group of about 40 friends for the past eight years. (Well, I really shouldn’t give myself much credit, because this is one party where hubs does almost all of the work.) After so many years, we’ve learned a thing or two about what food is best for our spread. So when an editor at The Tennessean approached me about writing an article regarding food at Steeplechase, I didn’t hesitate. I’ve got eight years worth of notes about what worked and what didn’t work, what we need mass amounts of, and what we never need to bring again.

No: chips & dip, cold sandwiches, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese platters, salads, any food that requires utensils

Yes: chicken tenders (in large qty), brownies, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, quesadillas, pigs in a blanket, pineapple, grapes

Of course that is the Cliff’s Notes version and doesn’t even come close to covering everything, but the point is clear- it needs to be easy to eat.  Our friends graze the buffet all day long, and many times don’t even bother with a plate.  Getting all fancy and gourmet just goes to waste because we all know that this particular day is about more than the food.

Our tailgate is catered by Daily Dish of Franklin

We’ve got the booze to consider too ya’ll. In addition to beer and various bottles of spirits, our bar will contain three signature drinks: The Pimm’s Cup, my Steeplechase Sangria, and my husband’s Summer Brew. Do you really think after consuming all that, people are going to be worried about what the food looks like? No, the reality is, they just want great tasting food to chow down on!

So what about all of you? Are any of you experiencing Steeplechase tomorrow? If so, what will your day include?