The Super Bowl of football foods

By on January 21, 2015

Part I: Spiedies and wings

Every region has their delicacies, and delicate or not, most often, delicious. Every corner of the country and points in-between offers unique foods and flavors for every palate. Philadelphia is famous for cheese steaks. Baltimore pleases with crustaceous crab cakes and at Camden Yards, batter up, crab balls. Chicago stays warm holding deep dish pizza and Georgia grows smiles in their juicy yellow and pink peaches.

New England delivers indulgence with the world’s best cold water bottom dweller, lobster. BTW: I would have loved to have met the first guy that looked at a lobster and thought, “now that looks tasty.” That, my friends, is courage. The Rocky Mountains have oysters, wait, scratch that… the Pacific Northwest digs and shucks and serves oysters (that’s better), and Lancaster? We have &tstr; drum roll &tstr; whoopie pies!

What about Binghamton, the mid-sized sleepy town nestled in the hills of mid-state New York? What are they famous for besides perhaps the country’s least amount of sunshine? Glad you asked. Binghamton gives us Spiedies (pronounced speedys). Spiedies are marinated meats on a stick grilled over an open fire. They honor their namesake in that they are in fact quick and easy to prepare and cook in just minutes, yet the joy they give our mouths is far from fleeting.

 

Spiedies are simple and quick to make, and tasty to boot. (Photos by Wayne Bagrowski)

Spiedies are simple and quick to make, and tasty to boot. (Photos by Wayne Bagrowski)

 

The story goes that an Italian immigrant, Camillo Iacovelli, sailed the seas with the recipe, somehow wound up in beautiful Binghamton around 1920, and decided to bless the region’s soggy sods with a tasty treat. The term “spiedie” comes from the Italian spiedo meaning “spit” or spiedini, referring to cubes or balls of meat cooked on a skewer. Preferred meats are lamb, venison, beef and chicken.

1983 saw the first Spiedie Fest. Partnered with a balloon rally, it was a huge hit and quickly grew to an annual festival attracting more than 100,000 lip-smacking high-flying souls (it is now one of the top balloon rallies in the country).

GrateGrilling

Wayne Bagrowski has been grilling for 30 years, often 150 days annually. An Upstate N.Y. guy who isn’t afraid of rain, cold and snow, he can be found in foul-weather gear on his deck and patio, often shovel and hat in-hand, sending smoke signals to fellow enthusiasts. Long-term wine and spirits and restaurant careers round-out his food and drink passions.

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