The NCAA tournament comes but once a year, and instead of feasting on culinary treasures to celebrate the long-awaited four day weekend of basketball that kicks it off, we eat the same foods commonly associated with sports watching all year long. We settle for pizza and wings, get by on nachos and watered-down beer. It's supposed to be March Madness, yet we treat it like it's another Sunday in football season. There has to be an edible way to honor the brackets, something more than average bar food and delivery 'za.
I'm talking new traditions for your taste buds. And the answer is to re-purpose some of the items that we enjoy only once a year and tie them to the big dance. Think of the passion it takes to chase the McRib across the country or the springtime joy of Cadbury Creme Eggs and Peeps. Let's put that epicurean enthusiasm into what we eat while watching the tournament. Like the pot of black eyed peas eaten for good luck on New Year's Day, here are four other once a year foods that we can make part of new March Madness traditions:
4. The Scotch Egg
This U.K. delicacy gets very little love from the average American, except after the one time a year you toss back seven pints of Guinness at the pub and get dared to eat it. But the Scotch Egg should be the official breakfast of March Madness. It's a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried. It's the perfect on-the-go meal for west coasters rolling out of bed for the 9 a.m. tip-offs.
3. State Fair Fare
Enough with the wings. If you want deep-fried food to go with the games, look no further than the carnival for inspiration. Like some sort of culinary dare, vendors try to one-up their hot oil-loving competitors every year. That's brought us everything from deep-fried butter to deep-fried beer. Let's take the annual trip to the state fair and move it to the living room. Whip up some batter and dunk everything you can find in your pantry in between buzzer beaters.
2. The Bacon Explosion
Remember this Internet marvel of 2008? If you haven't tried the pile of pork wrapped in a web of bacon, you know you want to. But since cardiologists don't need a second boat, this monstrosity should probably be limited to once a year. And since one man shouldn't eat five pounds of pig in one sitting, why not make this your new tourney tradition with all your friends?
1. Thanksgiving Dinner
I give thanks for March Madness every year. Also on Turkey Day, I lament the fact that I never roast one of the giant birds more than once a year. And the NCAA tournament starts on a Thursday. (Really starts. I don't want to hear about the play-in games.) It only makes sense that we should have a full-on Thanksgiving dinner in honor of the first game. Imagine the look on your friends' faces as they walk in and see a table set up in front of the TV, complete with white table cloth, cornucopia, roasted turkey and all trimmings. Extra points if you make everyone hold hands and say what they're thankful for before tip-off.
-- Adam Watson is the food czar at ThePostGame. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamKWatson.
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