The third day of draftmas is upon us, and I am not sure about you but I’m hungry. Not that I have been fasting, but I’m not a small man, and based on your twitter pics, neither are a lot of you. Time to feed the draftmas temple today with some snack food ideas for an epic party. Last year I went a little overboard in this section, and gave people things that might take a few days, or asked them to eat raw meat. I’ll try to reign myself in a bit this year and give you legitimately usable ideas. Gluten free options exist, but they usually need to be spread on crackers, so that’s your call. Vegans can just skip the food section.
Three Great Draftmas Snack Foods
Pate is effectively meat that you spread on bread or crackers. If you are not up for that, I have nothing further to say to you. Please un-follow my twitter, and get out of my life. There are several types of pate, feel free to head out to a store and put a jar of something on your coffee table by some crackers, but here is an easy one I enjoy. If you can cook meat well done and have a food processor, you can do this. It takes about half an hour from start to finish. Do it the night before Draftmas concludes:
- You need a food processor for this.
- 5/8 cup of butter, or lard.
- a large onion
- 14 oz of liver (pick your animal. Beef is my personal favorite)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp of Mrs. Dash or the like is fine too
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp whipping cream
Put the butter in a pan, heat it on low. Chop the onion roughly and cook it until it caramelizes. That means it softens a bit and starts to turn brown as the sugars in the onions liquefy. Chop the garlic, and add it to the onion. When both are cooked, remove the onion and garlic from the pan and puree it. Cook the liver on medium heat in the butter until it’s not bloody. Let the liver and pan contents cool for five minutes, then add it to the food processor. Add the cream, salt, Mrs. dash to the processor and blend it until it’s a smooth paste.
Line a container with plastic wrap, wax paper, or tinfoil in that order of preference. Dump the pate into the container, and cover it tightly with the excess dish cover. When it hardens it will be in the shape of the dish you chose. Chill it until it hardens.
Another classy option for party food that requires a knife and crackers is cheese. Not some Velveeta spread bullshit, and not a block of cheddar you sliced up. Let’s go a little deeper into the cheese world. There are two basic utility kinds of cheese I like to use at gatherings: Soft cheeses with a bloomy rind, and blue-veined cheeses. These two types are easy to spread, making it less likely that your drunk friends will drop them in your couch before they get their mouths around them.
The soft cheeses you are likely to be able to find in a decent North American grocery store are Brie and Camembert. The major difference between the two is that Brie has fat added to it when it’s being made. It is, therefore, creamier, more mild flavored, and easier to spread. Either works fine though if you’re in a pinch or your grocery store only has one. Each has several different sub-cheeses. If you’re lucky and hit a store with a bunch of different types, google it or grab a random selection, they don’t really taste incredibly different in most cases.
Blue Cheese tends to scare people because it is a very strong flavor. Chances are that if you even want to consider these you know what you like, but I will just say that Gorgonzola and Roquefort are commonly available, relatively mild blue cheeses and can be a palatable introduction for the uninitiated. I like to pair them with a good Bourbon.
Salami is my go to. I am referring to good salami, not the stuff you put on sandwiches that come in a six-inch pre-sliced package. If there is a European style deli near you, go there, but many butcher shops will also carry a couple different kinds. Grocery stores do carry some as well. They are fine in a pinch, and cheaper. The two mainstays of my Salami world are Saucisson and Chorizo.
Saucisson is a french sausage that is extremely fatty, and because of that delicious. It’s 2/3 lean meat of various types, and 1/3 fat with a few different spices. It is a dry sausage, meaning that the pieces you cut off are solid, not floppy. It is usually encased in the intestine of some fuzzy little creature. If that grosses you out make sure to cut that casing off. There is a version referred to as “Kiev,” that mixes closer to 3/4 meat and 1/4 fat that I prefer personally, but if you’re a red wine person, go with the french. this will stick between your teeth, get some floss ready.
Chorizo is a spicier option that you’ve probably heard of, but may only have tried the Mexican style commonly found in Tex-Mex places. Try something better for your sausage party. A Spanish Chorizo is essentially a combination of pork fat and meat, with salt and paprika mixed in. For something a little different than you’re used to, look for a Portuguese Chorizo. The difference is that wine and garlic are added to the mix, for a less heated, more flavorful sausage. If you’re in Rhode Island or Massachusetts finding a Portuguese Chorizo shouldn’t be difficult.
Two First Round Draftmas Busts
Jonathan Allen has arthritic shoulders and frankly isn’t what most teams want him to be. He has been billed at times as a monster three technique, but anyone saying that hasn’t really watched what he does. Allen is a base defensive end and moves inside on sub packages. He really only went to the interior when Tim Williams would come off the bench. He is a player that a team like the Lions could use, but if he moves to a permanent interior defensive line spot, those shoulders are going to be the end of him. A team taking Allen in the top ten is going to be extremely disappointed with his 4-6 sacks a year, and time on the injury report.
Malik McDowell scares me to death. He could be Mario Williams or Julius Peppers, he has that same terrifying athleticism for his size. McDowell has made his issues well known, particularly in Michigan. His erratic effort in 2016, and calling out his coaches at the combine did not help his draft stock. His recent proclamation that Aliens were real and the earth was flat are also not helping anything. It is hard to find anything to like about McDowell off the field, but not so much on it. Unfortunately, it’s what happens off the field that determines a player’s long-term viability in the league.
And One Inconvenient Draftmas Truth
An Offensive Lineman is a more important early round addition than any defensive player. There is a hole in the Lions’ offense long term. It is unlikely that the Lions are going to pay Travis Swanson the going rate for a high level starting center when his contract ends. They just blew up their future salary cap by paying huge money to the right side of their line. Graham Glasgow snaps a ball in a manner that pretty much removes him from contention as a long term replacement. The Lions need a center that can be ready next season to start. Even if you believe that Glasgow is the answer there, that leaves a hole at left guard. Laken Tomlinson is physically unable to man that spot in this scheme, it isn’t a mental issue.
The Lions need to figure out whether Glasgow can fix that snapping problem, and also determine whether Joe Dahl is the one in fifty day three pick that eventually becomes a starter in the NFL. Frankly, I am not banking on either of those two things, and neither should they. The Lions can kick the problem ahead a season by tendering Swanson, but would likely need to do so at higher than an original round level. There isn’t a team in the league in need of one that wouldn’t trade a third round pick for a legit, established center straight up. The offensive line is the determinant of how far the Lions go. A first round guard would be surprising, but stranger things have happened on Draftmas. Forrest Lamp is a very good player.