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Monday Potluck: Less Football, More Hotdish?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s casserole.]

Sunburn’s coming, donchaknow?
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In my less-than-humble opinion, there’s been something missing from our potlucks here at OTE. It just wasn’t very...potlucky. I didn't even realize what it was missing until, through some stroke of fate, I saw something out of the corner of my eye on a bookshelf while reading The Economist and shaking my head at it’s questionable views: The Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church Cookbook. I don’t even remember it was snuck into my house, but the list of contributors includes 5 generations from my mom’s side. It’s so central Minnesota it’s not even funny (there are TWO turtle recipes in the Main Dishes section!!!), and it’s perfect for this week. I’ll be going through the finest of cuisines from this small block of German Lutherans. Background aside, let’s get to it.

Every family has questionable contributions to a kid’s diet growing up. Some are more horrific than others, but they all have their problems. One of my Grandmas loved to make pot roast every Sunday, but she was so good at making a dry pot roast that I was always waiting for Smokey The Bear to come in and warn us about eating it in dry conditions. This isn’t the worst, though, and the proof is right there in the cookbook. I’m not sure if there’s anything worse than a recipe for liver that’s passed down from generation to generation. Liver, water, flour, brown sugar, and brown vinegar fried in lard? SIGN ME UP! So what does your family have that was continually served that you couldn’t wait to never eat (or feed to a family dog under the tablecloth) again?

Parboil liver

Dredge in ingredients

Pan fry in lard

Find an old farm dog, preferably of Northern European descent (German Sheppard, for example)

Feed to dog

And as an aside, we should probably accidentally talk about football a bit: Last year was...adventurous for Minnesota fans. There was a whole lot of crap that happened on and off the field, and following that all was wholesale changes. New coaching staff, new systems, new QB. When your team goes through a complete turnover, how do you approach the season? Are you nervous? Excited? Cautiously optimistic?

*writers note: Notice the lack of salt or pepper? That’s some high-quality Minnesota bland right there.

JWS: I am the basketball editor over at Hustle Belt, the SB nation MAC blog. I have had plenty of experience with Mr. Fleck, including one of our guys going toe to toe with him about MAC bowl prospects on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”.

Papa Fitz should be considered a Fleck expert, having followed him from day one, and he is a believer. Sure he was disappointed with his departure, but it’s still difficult to get him to say bad things about coach Fleck. That’s Fleck in a nut shell.

Some Gophers will buy in right away. Some will be on the fence, and others will think he is a tool. I was in the last category when I first learned of the phenomenon that is coach Fleck. Almost everyone will be drinking the kool-aid at some point.

Believe me, I want to make fun of the guy that used “Row The Boat” to take the Broncos from Kalamazoo to the Cotton Bowl, and then took it with him to Minnesota. I can’t. Even though I thought he was a complete DB when I first started blogging about the MAC, I can’t lie and say I am not a fan.

This Buckeye will be secretly rooting for the Gophers (like I did when Glen Mason was the coach) and I doubt I will be disappointed. He might not win a bunch his first year, or even his second, but at some point, he will take the Gophers to heights not seen since Bernie Bierman.

Speth: Oh good, it’s finally getting interesting in B1G 2017. To get things started this week I have an important PSA for my western neighbors that don’t understand that things that come out of the oven are hot...


Hot dish is what you serve a casserole in. I get that if you call it hot dish you’ll remember it’s hot better, but if you can’t grasp that concept already you should stop letting four year olds cook dinner. Now, I’m rather Norwegian, and while I’ve never been forced to eat it necessarily, my almost full blooded Norwegian grandmother every now and then will make lutefisk. Lutefisk is terrible. You need to eat copious amounts of lefse (highly recommend doing that anyway) to ever hope to get the taste of lye out of your mouth.

As far as PJ Fleck goes, well he’s already shown an inability to beat Wisconsin so obviously he’s the right man for the job. His recruiting is just tremendous and I’m sure that if a Minnesota coach coins a catchphrase he’ll have tremendous success beating Wisconsin. Also Paul Chryst was the offensive coordinator when the card said go for two, now I’m not saying that Chryst is responsible for running the score up on Brewster (it would be tremendous if he was though), but to think that the head coach who was never an offensive coach was the only one with say on that is hilarious.

Realistically, Fleck isn’t Brewster, but Jerry Kill had some nice seasons that didn’t involve winning the Axe. I I think Fleck can get Minnesota to where Kill had them, but I can’t see Fleck staying at Minnesota. He’s a Midwest guy, and I don’t see him bolting to just anywhere, but let’s say Notre Dame needs a coach in two years. He’s not staying at Minnesota if that happens. Stranger things have happened when a coach has a truckload of money backed up to them. Bret Bielema and his in ability to finish in the top half of the SEC West say hi. Some coaches don’t like the spotlight, and will take strange jobs to get out of it. Gary Andersen and his 6-18 record in 2 years at Oregon State say hi. Good luck with the complete program overhaul though, probably won’t go as well as Wisconsin’s, although I guess you’d have to at least get a whiff of winning 10 games in the first place to keep winning 10 games after changing head coaches.

Candystripes: What you call “complete turnover”, I call “Indiana football doing Indiana football things.”

GF: Michigan Wolverines, 2007. Folks were pretty realistic that it was going to be a struggle, due to all the talented players transferring/graduating/leaving early for the NFL. I remember the big talking point being: “Thank God Michigan will be exciting on offense! No more running right up the middle all the time.” Yeah, okay. I think after that experience, a systems overhaul should typically temper expectations, for any program.

Stew: I don’t really know this feeling. There has been a single coaching change in my lifetime, and I’m an old. That being said, I think it’d be a bit exciting with no expectations, whatsoever. Not sure if Minnesota fans can muster that up, though. You’d think they’d be used to this by now.

As for regrettable family food, when I was younger my paternal grandmother, who was the stereotypical farmer’s wife and all-around amazing cook/baker, made the worst chocolate chip cookies. They were hard as rocks. One time my oldest cousin even nailed one to a tree. Turns out she was doing it on purpose, cooking them longer at lower heat, because one of my uncles liked them like that.

Aaron: When this happened in 2012, many Penn State fans were excited to see what former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien could do with a boring Penn State offense led by Matt McGloin. That turned into a fun campaign thanks to O’Brien’s aggressiveness and McGloin’s growth as a full-time player. It really depends on what kind of upheaval we’re talking about, though. In 2012, Penn State was exciting because it had been a while since we had seen some creativity on offense from that program. Minnesota will be exciting because the middling program will be bringing in one of the most exciting coaching prospect in the country. There’s no reason not to get hyped.